“I came out of jail in November with nothing. I probably would have hit the street doing the same old thing. Now I have an opportunity. Catholic Social Services gave me a chance to be productive and start over again.”

Grant battled with his substance addiction for 15 years while living overseas. Six months after he became sober, he returned to Canada and relapsed into old habits.

After attending rehabilitation for two months, Grant moved into the Alpha for Men ministry, operated by Catholic Social Services as a safe space that empowers men to further pursue a sober lifestyle.

Residents in the Alpha house can live there for up to one year, during which they are expected to maintain employment or enroll in classes, establish themselves in the community, and build new relationships that are not dependent upon or connected to substance use.

“CSS helped me go from rock bottom to where I am now,” said Grant, who stayed at Alpha house for 11 months. He now has a full-time job and is in a relationship. “I wanted to have my family back, and also prove to myself that I could give something positive to the community. I found myself going from an angry person to very docile.”

He added that Alpha “gave me the opportunity to become the person I am. It gave me the strength to deal with things I’ve never dealt with in my life. I’ve not only become a cleaner person, but a better person – even better than who I was before I started drinking.”

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*Grant’s name has been changed to protect his identity, and his image is not portrayed in the above photo.