Sunday, October 16, 2011


This email is to inform you that one of our favourite films, Tears for April, has been accepted into the BRAND NEW Reel Recovery Film Festival which is being held at District 319 (319 Main Street, Vancouver) between October 21-23, 2011. For those of you who are not familiar with the venue, Lyn Vince and District 319 kindly donated this private theatre as a filming location for our latest film 'Riding With Madonna'.

About the Festival:
The REEL Recovery Film Festival is an exciting three-day weekend celebration of visual media, the arts, writing and creativity. We showcase local filmmakers and experienced pros who make honest films about addiction and recovery. It’s inspiring to gather with other individuals to share these new and classic films. The realistic portrayal of these issues in cinema is invaluable for the honest conversation that can occur.

This year represents the Canadian debut of this festival presented by The Orchard Recovery Center and Writers in Treatment. All proceeds will be split between Writers in Treatment and Intersections Media. Tears for April will be screened on Saturday October 22 @ 3:30 pm @ District 319 followed by a Q&A with our very own Retired Cst. Al Arsenault.

For more information on the various organizations affiliated with this festival, please see links for each listed below the email signature. Please note: Venue's regulations require minimum age of 19 for attendees.

Thank you Al for bringing this festival to our attention. Given that this is the festivals first year in Canada, we look forward to working with them for many years to come.

Enjoy and feel free to pass this on.
Dani Elias
Director, Web Development & New Media
Odd Squad Productions Society

Saturday, October 15, 2011


Dear Friends & Colleagues in Prevention & Treatment,

Two new posts below:

1. Wonderful thorough report from WESTMINSTER HOUSE

2. PORTAGE has a new website

Also below the reminder to attend THE ORCHARD'S REEL RECOVERY FILM FESTIVAL

Check it all out, and thanks for doing the important, loving work you all do every day.

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Reflecting on the past three months and our accomplishments, working at Westminster House never gets dull. There is always something happening whether we are undergoing renovations or in-taking in a new client. On September 1, we were proud to see six women graduate from our program. Each one of there women have taken these women haven taken their place in the community of New Westminster and are grateful alumni volunteers of our program. Yes, women can and do recover from addiction, it's rewarding to witness.

A special thank you to the generous organizations, families, and individuals, whose support of Westminster House make the delivery of our programs possible, and life in treatment more comfortable. Thank you to The Province of British Columbia, Fraser Health Authority, City of New Westminster, Lohn Foundation, Mr. and Mrs. P.A. Woodwards Foundation, The McLean Foundation, and GreenSheild Canada. Your gifts bring hope and comfort to the many women who are healing from addiction at Westminster House.

We hope you enjoy this newsletter. The newsletter team would love to hear from you.

Susan Hogarth
Development Assistant

What's News ...

Family Day

We celebrated family day on August 14 in our own cozy back yard. Family day is all about bringing families together to experience the joys of recovery. Addiction is a family disease, so it's crucial that the whole family gets involved in the process of recovery. There is no better way to for families to begin the healing process than spending quality time together. Family day is one of these times.

Financial Work Shops

The financial literacy program offers workshops to our clients.

Workshops featuring financial management education help our clients to access objective money management information and develop good financial management skills and build a sense of confidence in making financial decisions.

Banking – learn about different options and which are appropriate for them.
Budgeting – learn how to budget and get control over their money instead of their money controlling them.
Consumerism – learn to make choices based on what is good for them personally. The society we live in today teaches us that more is better, which is not necessarily true.
Credit – A positive credit history is very important in order to achieve control of finances. Our clients learn how to make GOOD CREDIT possible.

For more information about informative workshops follow this link.

Therapeutic Community

Through the generous support of donors, the women were able to attend events in our community such as the N.A. Talent Show and the BCRCNA Convention. Westminster House was very proud to be represented so enthusiastically by our clients. A special shout out to all the volunteers for making these events so inspiring. Good Job!

Clean Up in New West

Our 3rd annual Clean Up in New West event was a great success with over 500 Kg of garbage being collected in one hour. We made it 1/2 way to our goal of purchasing new bedding, dressers and linens. Fun was had by all that participated in the event including the flash mob sequence of Lady GaGa "Born this Way". It was a pleasure to meet Mayor Wayne Wright and Councilor Betty McIntosh as well as the New Westminster Fire Department who showed up to see first hand the gratitude of Westminster House.

Special thanks to our donors and sponsors of this event. For a full list of our generous donors and sponsors, please visit

(Mayor Wayne Wright, E.D. Sarah Franklen, Councilor Betty McIntosh and Susan Hogarth)


The clients and alumni hosted a beautiful Thanksgiving Dinner on October 9, 2011. Here is what one of our clients wrote:

Grateful for Thanksgiving

I am so very grateful for the love, warmth and togetherness that I felt this Thanksgiving at Westminster House.
I am grateful for the brunch on Thanksgiving as it was full of excited chit chat about cooking turkey and all the fixings that go with it.
I am grateful to the staff for all their hard work and time that went into the planning, getting supplies and all the food for dinner.
I am grateful for the hustle and bustle and a kitchen full of ladies working together all afternoon.
I am grateful to watch a big beautiful meal coming together and to be a part of making it.
I am grateful for a delicious meal and to eat it with family, friends and loved ones.
I am grateful to see people reconnect and share a wonderful and special meal in recovery.
I am grateful for new and happy memories.
I am so very grateful to Westminster House for bringing love, warmth and togetherness back into my life.

Written by a Client at Westminster House
October 12, 2011

Coming Up ...

World Kindness Concert

Friday November 4th,2011
Doors: 7pm / Show 8pm
The Centre for Performing Arts
777 Homer Street-Vancouver, BC

On November 4, 2011 the World Kindness Concert celebrates it's 11th year by gathering world class performers to celebrate and promote the message of kindness, compassion, love and peace and to touch the hearts of people around the world. This is more than just a concert. This is a Global Movement to eliminate violence, bullying, suicide, cruelty, and abuse to our environment. Some of the most inspiring and powerful performing artist will gather at The Centre for Performing Arts in Vancouver, Canada for a one of a kind concert that focuses on the solution to these global issues. It promises to be a most memorable evening where everyone will be touched by a simple yet most powerful message, kindness.

This year's World Kindness Concert will be featuring Veronica Iza (Westminster House Alumni Story in this issue). The World Kindness will be honoring Veronica by putting her story on video just prior to her singing her song for the evening "Lean on Me".

The World Kindness Concert supports what we do at Westminster House. Regular Ticket price is $47.00 each. Buy a World Kindness Ticket from Westminster House and receive the discounted price of $30.00 per ticket (offer expires October 28, 2011). For every ticket that we sell, $10.00 of the proceeds will go directly to fund our women's program.

For more information on how you can support World Kindness and Westminster House Recovery Centre for Women, Contact Susan Hogarth at 604-524-5633

Veronica's Story

My name is Veronica and I am a recovering addict. I lived in addiction for 25 years; the last 15 years my disease progressed and took me to the streets and ended up homeless in the Vancouver downtown east side, in jails and hospitalized on numerous occasions.

Living in addiction I felt like I was insane, had lost sense of reality and was in a constant state of depression, of seeking, of needing, of lack of, I felt unsafe, like there was no place for me.

I was depleted in all ways enduring the circumstances of my reality, was hospitalized for dehydration, malnutrition, over doses and bouts of bipolar episodes. This cycle repeated itself for many years with periods of sever suicidal depression. There was no place for me, no safety and no security... I was homeless, on the streets, trying to survive while living in addiction.

It took a long time before I came to recovery and became willing to change, with some effort on my part and a lot of peoples help; I found my way to treatment at Westminster House Recovery Centre for Women. That is when a miraculous happening occurred and I found a home, a place to finally rest, to start my healing process, to recover my life. Westminster House became the place where I would be restored to sanity and find a new way to live.

At first I was unsure, a little skeptical, but what did I have to lose? I felt resistant. I didn’t think that anyone or any house could possibly change me. It looked like a regular house on a regular block. You would never think that women were inside changing their lives and recovering from addictions. The house was inviting. I walked through the door and had a sense that I had arrived. I felt safe and welcomed and although a little nervous, there was a sense of comfort.

It was cozy and clean, there was food in the fridge, meals being cooked, rooms filled with neatly made beds, places to sit and rest and beautiful garden. It looked like home. There was an energy emanating from the women, they looked healthy and vibrant. They were laughing, smiling and embracing each other, I was welcomed.

After many years of feeling that there was no place for me in this world, no hope, no solution, I had found a place where I could begin to heal my heart and move from the desperation of my disease (addictions) and into the light of recovery.

Westminster House Recovery Centre for Women gave me that opportunity; it saved my life by opening its doors to me. The house continues to give this to countless other women who suffer with the disease of addiction. It taught me that there was a way out. It gave me a home.

A place to begin.

Christmas Open House

Friday December 2, 2011
2:00 pm - 6:00 pm
Westminster House Recovery Centre
228 Seventh Street
New Westminster, BC

On December 2, 2011 Westminster House will host our 27th annual Christmas Open House and Silent Auction. Please join us in the Christmas festivities. We are excited to announce that we will include the POP the balloons lottery, our growing silent auction and of course our traditional Westminster House Christmas baking. Take home some of our delicious baking by filling your very own tin of goodies by donation. If you would like to help create a Traditional Family Christmas at Westminster House, follow this link and choose Santa‟s Savings Funds designation on the site.

To give our readers a sneak preview of our items, consider biding on a Judith and Charles Gift Certificate, Nintendo Wii, a 42" Television, Stella & Dot Jewelery, Canucks Hockey Tickets, Lure Hair Salon Gift Certificate, and more to come.

We are currently accepting gifts in kind for our auction. Please contact our Executive Director, Sarah Franklen at if you wish to donate.

Penny Drive

Please support Westminster House in our first annual penny drive. At little bit can make a huge difference in the lives of our clients at Christmas. We are now accepting your loose pennies: to donate please visit Westminster House main office located at 228 Seventh Street.

Westminster House Wish List

E Series Full Size Ford Van
5 Burner Gas Range
Commercial Dishwasher
Extra Large Freezer
(4) Industrial Strength Vacuums
(4) Wool Area Rugs
(4) Mops and Buckets
(20) Twin synthetic Daniadown duvet
(20) Bath Towels
(20) Synthetic Pillows
(20) Dressers
(10) Beds
(10) MP3 Players
Commercial Cookware
Storage Shelving for Garage to spec.

Staying SAFE at Christmas

How can those in recovery deal with the holiday season and avoid the possible triggers that could lead to relapse? We came up with a few tips to keeping our loved ones safe during the holidays:

1. Stick together. Invite a friend in recovery to join you when you visit with your family.
2. Maintain a strong meeting schedule and share about your feelings.
3. Stay in touch with sponsor and support group.
4. Make a commitment to stay with your family for a realistic amount of time.
5. Don't overspend. Make a budget and stick to it.
6. Choose not to attend parties and function that are not recovery friendly.
7. Connect with your higher power through prayer and medication.

Westminster House Client Wish List

Westminster House strives to provide a simple, traditional, and normal holiday season for our clients during their residential stay at our facility. In order to provide this, we hope to give them the gift of Christmas with items wrapped up for them under the Christmas tree. Items needed could be: slippers, pajamas, umbrellas, rain boots, rain jackets, journals, pens and pencils, pocket calendars, gym bags or back packs, socks, travel coffee mugs, toques, movie passes and coffee cards.

Donate Today

Westminster House is a non-profit organization that, since its inception in 1981, has been committed to the belief that a woman’s ability to receive treatment should not be limited because of financial constraints. Only through your donation is the professional staff of Westminster House able to continue to respond to the hundreds of calls received every week from individuals and families. Your donation makes it possible for us to give the gift of recovery to those women who suffer. Join us in our shared belief that treatment works.

Donate Now Through!


If you wish to donate directly to Westminster House please mail your donations to:

Westminster House Recovery Centre for Women
228 Seventh Street
New Westminster, BC
V3M 3K3 Canada

A charity tax receipt will be issued for any donations over $25.00. If you wish to be mentioned on our website as a donor, please send us a note with your donations.

Contact Us

Westminster House
228 Seventh Street
New Westminster, BC
V3M 3K3
Fax: 604-524-5633


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Portage Web site - Freedom from Addiction 3
Revamp of Portage's online presence, has a brand new look and feel, designed to be more user-friendly and to provide more of the information that our visitors are looking for. Whether you are seeking information about substance abuse rehabilitation for yourself or a loved one, or if you are interested in our organisation’s work and would like to get involved, there is a section designed specifically for you.

Portage website - Freedom from Addiction2 3Many of our website visitors are going through a hard time in their lives. A person contemplating drug rehabilitation treatment has many questions and concerns. We hope that our self-evaluation, videos, FAQ pages, testimonials, and general information sections will make it easier for our visitors to get the information they need and to feel better about their decision to seek rehabilitation therapy.

Please take a look and let us know what you think by sending an email to We’re constantly looking for new ways to improve the site and all feedback is welcome. And please help us spread the word by sharing the new site with your friends and contacts through social m
edia platforms.

Thank you for your interest in Portage and for supporting us as we help people seek Freedom from Addiction.

Monday, October 10, 2011


Be a part of this exciting three-day celebration of the arts,
showcasing honest films about addiction and recovery,
and prepare to be inspired.

Screening Location: District 319 319 Main Street, Vancouver, BC

Programs - Admissions - Why Us - Testimonials - Special Events - Tour
Intervention and Pre-Admission - Visitor Info - Extended Care - Contact Us - Home

© 2011 The Orchard Recovery and Drug Treatment Center 1-866-233-2299 Recovery Opening Gala

Doors 7pm, Friday October 21st @ District 319

Join us at stylish District 319 for an evening of gourmet cuisine, comedy and cinema,
as we kick-off an exciting three days of enlightening and entertaining films
about addiction and recovery. Opening the festival is the 2010 documentary
I Am Comic, a revealing look at the serious side of hilarity,
PLUS a performance by our special guest, comic Pat Dixon.

Tickets $75, call the Orchard at 604-947-0420 or purchase online at

Gala Location: District 319 319 Main Street, Vancouver, BC

Please note: venue's regulations require minimum age of 19. Dress is semi-formal.