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Finding Purpose Following Recovery: An ASH Success Story

Posted on Jul 13, 2017

Note: The person of interest in this article has requested to remain anonymous. Thus, the name Don Staffer will act as a pseudonym.


Patty. Ann. Sam. Stacey. The good people who helped Don Staffer through a darkness he had become accustom to.

Don is a resident at our Centre and a member of the Addiction Supportive Housing program. The four women listed above worked with Don to help him recover from his alcoholism that in his own words made his life “hell.”

Don spun into a life of addiction at the ripe age of 30. Alcoholism saw him lose the respect of his wife who could trust him no longer, his innocence as he became familiar with police officers and jail cells, and nearly his life as he often found himself in the hospital or psych ward. He was living a difficult life. Don even attempted suicide 5 times, as the burdens grew too heavy to bear. Don was at his lowest when he finally met Patty.

Hands held together

“It all started with the social workers,” said Don, and Patty was the first one. Patty met with Don after one of his hospitalizations in late 2012, and they quickly formed a bond. Patty recognized that Don’s living arrangements were not suitable for healthy living or addiction recovery. She worked with Don to begin the process that would lead to his arrival at SPLC and his eventual recovery.

Along the way Don would also meet Ann, another social worker, who worked with SPLC and got Don into the ASH program. Don was a perfect fit as a senior struggling with addiction and lacking suitable housing. Ann worked tirelessly, filtering through all the necessary paperwork to get Don into the program and onto the path towards recovery. When Don first toured his potential new home he didn’t think he was good enough, by February 1st, 2013 he was making himself comfortable.

However, Don’s recovery wasn’t by any means easy once he got to the Centre. His wife died six months into his stay, and he “did the natural thing, and drank,” said Don. He struggled to change as he dealt with the tragedy, but he would bounce back soon after with the help of those around him. “The good people have helped me, and that’s the only reason I’m alive today, (them) and god,” said Don. 

These good people were often ASH employees, like Sam a social worker who worked incredibly hard to support Don early on, and Stacey who later worked to do the same. Don says Sam and Stacey have helped him with a wide array of things ranging from paperwork, to leading him through cognitive and behavioral therapy, and even teaching him things like his right to say no. “These people come at you with this…heart. They want to help you,” said Don.  

Don attributes his recovery and new found perspective on life to the accumulation of people helping him, and his spirituality. People have helped him grow and his faith has allowed him to forgive himself and move forward with his life.   "That's the only reason I'm alive today"


Today Don is sober and is passionate about helping others through the same difficulties he experienced himself. When Don was asked what his purpose is now he said “one of my purposes is to sit with you. Somebody is going to benefit with what you’re doing…that’s what spurs me.” Don is spurred by the possibility of using his story to do exactly what four social workers did for him – in other words he is spurred by the possibility of changing a life.

Please visit the link below to learn more about Addiction Supportive Housing and call our intake line at (416) 493-3333 if you would like speak to someone on our team to learn more about these services. 

Please share this article with your friends and family by clicking the share button below, as both Don and SPLC truly believe that it can help someone in need.

Don was also assisted by ORCA and CAMH before working with ASH and arriving at SPLC