Mental Health Mind Map Podcast Series

Mental Health Mind Map Podcast Series

#Episode 3: How the Fresh Start recovery program helps men escape addiction

In partnership with Calgary Journal Health, CMHA Calgary is publishing podcasts and news stories about mental health issues across the city. Stories will be published every Monday on our Balance Blog, or you can track these stories using the hashtag #CalgaryJournalHealth.

In this Mental Health Mind Map podcast series, Bruce Holstead and Stacey Peterson from the Fresh Start Recovery Centre share their stories about mental health and addiction, as well as their journeys to recovery.

By Isabelle Bennett, Jill Meaghe, and Dan Khavkin

Addiction is a mental health issue capable of destroying careers, relationships, and physical health. But Calgary’s Fresh Start Recovery Centre is giving men and their families a way out to work through the steps to recovery.

They are the people running the program that have direct experience with addiction and recovery.

Stacey Peterson, the executive director, said he grew up in an alcoholic environment and a home filled with physical violence.

“The police were out on the lawn once a month,” Peterson said.

“I had issues far before I ever picked up [alcohol or drugs],” he said, adding “I never felt like I fit, regardless of where I was. I always felt less-than. I always felt different. And then I found alcohol – I was about nine years old.”

Bruce Holstead, the director of operations, said he started “dabbling” with marijuana and alcohol when he was around 12 or 13 years old.

“Addiction for me took an exceptionally aggressive path in a very hurried state,” he said.

“By the age of 13, I found myself to be an IV drug user.”

With help from friends and families along with rehabilitation programs, both men were able to begin the process of recovery and say they haven’t used since.

Now, they are giving back the acceptance and assistance that was given to them through Fresh Start.

“It is completely possible not to regret the past or wish to shut the door on it, and be able to use your experience, no matter how far down the scale you’ve gone, to benefit others,” says Peterson.