Since it opened its doors over a year ago, Double Waters has been supporting women recovering from addiction.
The not-for-profit supportive housing facility has seen about 15 women come through its doors since opening in March 2012. The home provides a structured environment to women who are transitioning back into the community after completing drug and alcohol recovery programs.
Owner Jackie Watson says women are encouraged to stay for at least six months. Though she notes some women don’t even stay a week, some stay for a while, and one woman “graduated” from the home in the past year.
Watson says she feels wonderful when she sees these women putting their lives back together.
“When someone that’s fallen to addiction has the courage to stand up and say this is not OK in my life anymore, and to fight for that — and to see them, not only gain ground over their addiction, but be excited about the multitudes of joy and possibilities life has to offer,” says Watson, continuing, “witnessing that piece has been the most exciting piece for me.”
A resident in her fifth month at Double Waters — who wishes to remain anonymous — struggled with marijuana, alcohol and cocaine use before she entered a rehabilitation facility.
She notes Watson advocated for her to come to Double Waters when she completed the rehabilitation program, and since she arrived in January, she has not thought about leaving once.
“It’s been awesome,” says the resident, who is in her early 20s. “Jackie really loves the women that come in this house … she has a lot of boundaries and she’s firm and that really helps us be accountable for our responsibilities.
“There’s just a lot of love in this house and there’s a lot of good energy.”
Women staying at Double Waters have 24-hour support — mostly from Watson, who lives in a suite at the home — and must attend Alcoholics Anonymous and/or Narcotics Anonymous meetings regularly.
They must also build a weekly living plan, which includes activities like meal planning and preparation, learning conflict resolution, counselling, health and wellness activities, volunteering, and personal and spiritual development, among many other things.
Education or part-time employment are encouraged and the anonymous resident is taking an English course at North Island College in preparation for the college’s criminology program she is set to begin this fall as a full-time student.
“I’ve been wanting to go to college for a long time. I was looking up courses last year and my addiction kind of took over,” she says. “I just continued working the job that I was at that I was increasingly becoming unhappy with … I needed a change from the job and I wanted to go to school but I thought that I should go work on myself first.”
She also volunteered for three months at Comox Valley Therapeutic Riding’s stable, which she found really rewarding.
She regularly meditates, goes to a gym, plays guitar and makes Double Waters’ fruit pies, among many other things.
“One of the hugest aspects of this place that’s helped me was just to habitually incorporate all these life things that I’m doing (into my life),” she explains. By “being habitual in doing all those things constantly, and then leaving the house, I’ll be able to practise those things (more easily after).”
Watson notes Double Waters receives no government funding, and she’s looking for female volunteers to support the residents at the facility.
She’s also working to generate community awareness about what Double Waters offers and why it’s important for the Comox Valley.
“The hole in the continuum of care is what we’ve got here,” says Watson. “There’s really high statistics, if people come out of treatment, if they have a co-occurring disorder, they’re going to relapse.
“They need a different kind of support to climb that extra hurdle.”
For more information about Double Waters visit www.doublewaters.ca.