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John is 52 years old and has lived in the Ottawa area all his life. He has always worked – for many years as a tire technician, and also in food services. Behind the scenes, however, John was living with a growing addiction – one that had him in its grasp for 28 long years. It eventually cost him his house, his marriage, and his family relationships.

John came to The Ottawa Mission because he knew he needed to make big changes in his life – and he needed help. He spent time in our dry wing and in our Stabilization unit, and he is proud to say today that he has been clean and sober for 9 months and is now living in transitional housing in the community.

After he had moved on from the shelter, John remembered hearing about The Mission’s Food Services Training Program. He decided to apply for the 5-month program, was accepted, and graduated this past fall. John is now working full-time in the kitchen at Carleton University and is more hopeful about his future than he has been in many years. The skills he learned, and the confidence he gained while in the program have helped him make the big changes he wanted to make. John is grateful for everyone at The Mission he has met during his journey. From the Chaplain, to the counsellors, to Chef Ric and the kitchen staff – all have played an important part in his success. As John says, “People at The Mission helped me to accept the past and move on – in my case, to a whole new life and a whole new career.”

Another reason for John’s newfound sense of optimism is that, over the last several months, he has been able to reconnect with his family and with the spiritual side of his life as well. This past November, John attended his mother’s 78th birthday party with the rest of his family. A family photo was taken to mark the event and, for the first time in a very long time, John was proudly in the picture.

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