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Wilderness-based recovery centre opens in Central Alberta

A wilderness-based recovery centre opened its doors late last week in Central Alberta.

A wilderness-based recovery centre opened its doors late last week in Central Alberta.

On Friday, Sept. 22, a grand opening was held for the Shunda Creek Recovery Centre, which is a 12-week addiction and mental health recovery program from men between 18 and 24 years old.

The Shunda Creek Recovery Centre is operated by Enviros, under contract to Alberta Health Services. It was previously located in a smaller facility – the new location west of Rocky Mountain House increases the program’s capacity from 10 to 18 clients.

“Our government is proud to invest in a system centred around recovery, offering hope for those suffering from the deadly disease of addiction. I am pleased to see this unique and valuable recovery opportunity guiding more individuals down the path of recovery,” said Dan Williams, Alberta’s minister of mental health and addiction.

Funded by AHS and Alberta Mental Health and Addition, the program has been providing intensive adventure-based wilderness programming for young men since 2009.

“We are absolutely thrilled that we’ve been able to not only relocate but that we’ve been able to expand our capacity to continue providing this invaluable program,” said Enviros CEO Hazel Bergen.

“We are grateful for the support of AHS, the provincial government, and our alumni, staff and supporters who believe so strongly in this program.”

Individuals in the program participate in outdoor activities, such as canoeing, hiking, rock climbing and camping trips, which supplement individualized treatment plans that can include stabilization programs, as well as one-on-one and group therapies.

Upon completion of the program, participants can access the Shunda Creek Alumni aftercare program in which they have opportunities to talk online and in-person with peers who have shared experiences.

Robert Long, a Shunda Creek alumnus who takes part in the aftercare program after completing his own recovery journey, said clients are facing “what feels like the end of the road” when they enter the program.

“Everyone goes through recovery differently and we need programs that meet people where they’re at,” said Long.

“Having a program like this that’s based in the wilderness helps in ways a city program can’t. What has been built out here is helping to push the field of adventure therapy forward and we help guys work through this disease that puts them into the depths of despair and isolation.”

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Sean McIntosh

About the Author: Sean McIntosh

Sean joined the Red Deer Advocate team in the summer of 2017. Originally from Ontario, he worked in a small town of 2,000 in Saskatchewan for seven months before coming to Central Alberta.
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