Picture7In his tidy room at LifeHouse (The Ottawa Mission’s residential treatment facility), there is a lovely framed photo of Antonio and his beloved 88 year-old mom. They say a picture is worth a thousand words, and if you were to sum up what this particular one is saying it is – “With hope and perseverance, all things are possible.”

Antonio tried many programs in the past to try to come to terms with his long term addiction and mental health issues, but his demons always seemed to come back to haunt him. It wasn’t until he came to us in October 2016 that things really began to turn around. When asked what is different this time around, he is quick to respond that The Mission’s increased focus on treating trauma as well as addiction has made him focus much more on coming to terms with the root causes of his addiction.

Those roots extend all the way back to when, at age 13, Antonio lost his father. Although surrounded by a loving family, he suffered deeply – and he never really dealt with his grief. Later, as a young man of 21, Antonio decided upon a career as a firefighter and he devoted the next 25 years to this calling. As is the case with many of our first responders, his work life was filled with experiences that most of us cannot imagine, and for Antonio, this led to chronic PTSD and, in his case, serious addiction. But today, at 51, Antonio is totally focussed on turning his life around, and he’s making it happen with the help of his counsellors at The Mission. He is 4 months into the 5-month LifeHouse program and will be moving on to our Second Stage housing program after that, while continuing to receive counselling and support.

As Antonio says, “If you are serious about getting your life together, all the tools andresources are available at The Mission to build a very good life. I am so grateful to everyone here for the help I’ve received.” We’re sure his mom echoes that gratitude.