We Can Help
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We Can Help

If you struggle with addiction, CLAC’s substance abuse case management team can help

CLAC’s substance abuse case managers (SACM) are nonjudgmental and employ solution-focussed and strength-based approaches to help people recognize and address their substance use concerns.

The program was initially established for members working in the construction and maintenance sectors, where alcohol and drug testing take place, but we now offer these services to all CLAC members.

Questions for Case Managers

Q: Why do I need a support system?

A: People with substance use disorders often live by the “don’t talk, don’t trust, and don’t feel” rule without even being aware of it. They seem to forget that using was once a solution for them—to help with uncomfortable feelings, interpersonal problems, and challenging situations.

When these people decide to quit using, they seem baffled that their life does not automatically get better; but over time, they seem to realize that removing the substance was the easy part. Sobriety requires a willingness to break the rules by talking, trusting, and learning to sit with uncomfortable feelings.

By sharing feelings common among recovering addicts (such as shame, guilt, anger, fear, and remorse), we gain insight into ourselves and others.

Many times, when we talk with a friend, family member, or therapist, we feel stuck. We don’t know what to do. But as we talk, we hear ourselves express feelings and information that have not been expressed before. It is this experience of hearing ourselves that allows us at times to suddenly come up with a new idea or solution to our difficulties.

We also learn from listening to others as they work through similar thoughts, feelings, and challenges in their lives.

Q: What does it mean when people ask if I am in “the program?”

A: When people in recovery speak about “the program,” they are referring to 12-step programs such as Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, and Cocaine Anonymous. Being in the program means that you are attending 12-step meetings with other people who are trying to stop using substances. The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop drinking or using drugs.

Beyond meeting, the program recommends that newcomers find someone in the program with solid sobriety to become their sponsor. Sponsors help newcomers work through the program.

These 12-step programs include 12 steps for people to work through on their own or with a sponsor. The first step is admitting powerlessness over the substance and admitting that life has become unmanageable as a result. The other steps include taking a personal inventory, making amends, changing behaviours and attitudes, and learning to let go and rely on a “power greater than ourselves.”

If you work through the steps, the program promises nothing short of a transformative spiritual experience. The last step reads: “Having had a spiritual experience as a result of these steps, we try to carry the message to other alcoholics and to practice these principles in all of our affairs.”

You do not have to believe in God to belong in the program, you just need to have a desire to stop drinking/using and have a willingness to believe that there is a “power greater than yourself” that can allow you to achieve and maintain a clean and sober lifestyle. Some people find this hard to accept and bristle whenever God is mentioned; others use the meetings themselves as a higher power because attending meetings keeps them sober.

Most alcoholics and addicts will admit that they have always known the difference between good and bad and right and wrong for themselves. For these people, recovery is about doing what they determine is good and right at each choice point, regardless of how they feel in the moment. Over time, this internal resource gets stronger and stronger, and eventually it is recognized as a power greater than themselves.

The recovery goal for all 12-step programs is simply to stay clean or sober one day at a time. The AA preamble below effectively describes what AA is. It’s read out loud at the beginning of each AA meeting. All other 12-step programs use a similar preamble that is tailored to focus on substances other than alcohol.

AA Preamble

Alcoholics Anonymous is a fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strength, and hope with each other that they may solve their common problem and help others to recover from alcoholism. The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop drinking. There are no dues or fees for AA membership; we are self-supporting through our own contributions. AA is not allied with any sect, denomination, politics, organization, or institution; does not wish to engage in any controversy, neither endorses nor opposes any causes. Our primary purpose is to stay sober and help other alcoholics to achieve sobriety. 

Check out the 8 essentials of 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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