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Many of the people we see every day at The Ottawa Mission are struggling with addiction. They are also living with tremendous guilt and shame because their behaviour has hurt the people they care about most – their families.

Adam was no exception to this rule.

Adam was born and raised in northern Ontario. Over the years his mother, a single parent, tried hard to help him as he sank into addiction, but her efforts were in vain and the disease took hold. Adam left home one night with a few belongings in a knapsack. His mother spent months looking for him, but he had basically just disappeared. That was a year ago.

Adam arrived at The Ottawa Mission during the cold days of winter, hungry and sick. Shelter staff gave him a bed and a change of clothing, and encouraged him to consider the many treatment options that were available. After attending our drop-in Day Program for several mornings, Adam made the decision to seek long term treatment and entered our 5-month LifeHouse residential program.

During counselling, Adam often broke down when he thought about his mother – how badly he had hurt her and how much he missed her. He was sure that their relationship could not be mended – until the day he made the most important phone call of his life. As Adam says, “That was the day I learned the true meaning of unconditional love.”

There is a special graduation ceremony at the end of every LifeHouse program, and at Adam’s graduation, sitting proudly in the front row, was a mother watching a son who had a new lease on life. It was a beautiful thing to see.

Happy Mother’s Day!

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