The Next Chapter: Scottie's Story
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The Next Chapter: Scottie's Story

Scottie is the 2020 recipient of CLAC's Matthew Manuel Memorial Award

Scottie is the 2020 winner of CLAC's Matthew Manuel Memorial Award. CLAC awards this annual scholarship of $1,000 to a member who successfully completes a treatment program and is maintaining a clean and sober life. 


My name is Scottie. I’m originally from Newfoundland, but now I reside in Calgary at the Dream Centre—a men’s in-house treatment facility that holds around 130 men at any given time. It’s also a faith-based facility that has a church in the building—so not only does the Dream Centre promote healthy sober living, it also promotes faith-based living.

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Scottie before sobriety (left). Scottie today (right).

I’m 34 years old and I’ve been clean and sober now for 165 days. This is the longest I’ve been clean and sober since I was 16 years old. The reason I’m able to achieve this amazing milestone in my life is because of the Calgary Dream Centre and the changes I was willing to make to get to where I am today.

Upon arriving at the Dream Centre, I felt broken and like I was just a shadow of the person I once was. So, when starting the seven-week program, I really went all in. I was dedicated to keeping myself accountable to every aspect of the program—whether that was making sure I was in class on time or early every day, paying attention in class, participating in group activities, making sure my room was clean and tidy, being on time for chores, and doing what was required of me every day. Holding myself accountable really gave me a sense of pride and success and helped me regain my self respect.

During this seven-week program, I realized that recovery was so much more than just being clean and sober. I realized that there were many changes that needed to happen for me to be successful in my recovery. Some of these changes were mental and some were physical. While doing the program, I confronted past traumas that I had never even spoken out loud before.

After finally finding the courage to talk about my darkest regrets and guilt, I realized I could change anything in my life for the better. I cut friends and family members out of my life who were unhealthy for me, which was very difficult. I started attending church and regained my faith in God. I was more aware of my negative thoughts and feelings, which in turn helped me change not only the way I speak and listen to people, but also my behaviours toward myself and others.

This behavioural change made me respect myself so much more than I ever did before. Because of these changes, I physically treated myself better. I started playing sports, working out, and eating in a healthy way. Doing these things not only helped my physical state, but helped my mental state tremendously. I look, feel, and think so much better because of these changes in my life.

When I graduated the seven-week program, I had a decision to make: go back to work or stay. This decision was very stressful and hard to make, but once I talked to my employer and they told me that they were supportive of any decision I thought was best, I decided to stay at the Dream Centre. With the support of them and my family and friends, I went into the next chapter of this journey.

After the decision to stay, I made another decision to do the aftercare program called Genesis. This is a program where you have one-on-one weekly meetings with a case manager. It’s a very in-depth program that forces you to look at yourself in a very honest way. I feel that the accountability I held myself to in the seven-week program set me up for success doing this program on my own.

But beginning this program, I felt there was more that I could do—not only for myself, but for others. I’m very active at the Dream Centre. I volunteer daily in the kitchen to serve lunch and dinner to men who live here, I volunteer every Saturday morning to set up the seating plan for the Sunday church service, I make up the work binders for the guys starting the seven-week program, and I play softball with the program guys. I’ve also publicly spoken for church fundraisers to tell my story and promote the Dream Centre. I’ve told my story on the radio for the Shine FM fundraiser, I still sit in on meetings with the program guys, and I take time to sit and talk with them and just be there for them.

The reason why I think I’m a good candidate for the Matthew Manuel Memorial Award is that I’m not only a clean/sober version of myself, but I’m the person I was always meant to be. I value respect, family, friends, connection, being kind, and being in service to others. In my addiction I always tried to say, “I’m sorry” or “it won’t happen again.” But with everything I’ve learned here and the changes and work I’ve put into being the person I am today, I can proudly say that I’m making amends not only to myself but to my friends, family, coworkers, and the guys who look up to me here at the Dream Centre.

Today, I’m proudly living in recovery.


CLAC Can Help

If you are a CLAC member and need help, have questions, or want to speak with a Substance Abuse Case Manager, please call 877-863-5154 or email sacm@clac.ca All inquiries will be handled in the strictest of confidence. To learn more about SACM and access more resources, log into myCLAC.ca and select My Life and then My Wellness.


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