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This will be the second Christmas Maurice has spent without the person he called his best friend – his mom. He says the day she passed away in the summer of 2015 marked the very lowest point in an already troubled life – a life marked by mental illness, addiction and homelessness.

Maurice was born and raised in Vankleek Hill, and throughout his younger years he worked as a bricklayer and a high rise window cleaner. He also spent considerable time studying to become a minister, and was always reaching out to others who were struggling. But, as time went by, Maurice’s mental health deteriorated – he suffered from severe mood swings and depression. His illness eventually caused him to lose many jobs, his marriage fell apart, and he began self-medicating with drugs and alcohol. He was finally diagnosed as bi-polar in 2002, but was well into his addiction by then and his life continued to spiral out of control.

It wasn’t until Maurice, now 52, learned about treatment programs at The Ottawa Mission that things began to turn around for him. That was in June this year and the transformation in Maurice’s life since then is nothing short of amazing.

Maurice is now 3 months into his stay in LifeHouse, our residential treatment facility, where he is being given the tools he knows will allow him to move on to a better life – a life that he plans to devote to helping others. He will graduate from the program in December and feels blessed that he has been given the gift of the healing of his body, mind and heart – the best Christmas gift ever! Most importantly, Maurice’s eyes well up when he thinks about how proud his mom would be.