Salvation Army addictions counsellor Steve Hakes is starting a non-residential program for people negatively impacted by substance abuse

Salvation Army addictions counsellor Steve Hakes is starting a non-residential program for people negatively impacted by substance abuse

SA addictions treatment program starts April 2

An intensive treatment program begins April 2 at the Salvation Army in Williams Lake.

An intensive non-residential treatment program for people whose lives have been negatively impacted due to substance use, misuse and abuse begins April 2 at the Salvation Army in Williams Lake.

Free for participants, the program will run for eight weeks from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday to Friday.

“We’re accepting referrals,” says program director Steve Hakes who began working as an addictions counsellor for the Salvation Army in February.

With a background in addictions counselling, Hakes is confident the program will be unique because it will offer some new approaches.

“We’ll be using what’s called laughter yoga twice a week and we’re going to utilize humour,” Hakes says, adding a local instructor will teach him, and between the two of them it should be fun.

The theory behind the laughter yoga is that substance abusers or uses are depleting their serotonin, dopamine and other chemicals in the brain so their ability to experience happiness and enjoyment is severely impaired.

Laughter has the effect of causing the brain to secrete these chemicals again and help them feel better, Hakes says, adding the old adage is true.

“Laughter really is the best medicine.”

The program will also incorporate physical activities, and participants will be encouraged to become involved with volunteer activities/ “We’ll do work on spirituality and there’ll be a cognitive behavioural focus. I’m really excited, I think it has great potential.”

The program will also encompass psycho-educational programming, group therapy, one-on-one counselling, life skills and Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous meetings. And after completing the program, participants will also be able to access a three-month, follow-up support component. Registration began the first week of March and there is room for a total of 10 participants in the first run of the program.

Hakes welcomes referrals from industry, business, community agencies and individuals. At the end of the eight weeks, Hakes will take a week off to assess what worked and what didn’t work and then the program will start up again.

For more information contact Hakes at 250-305-2492 or wladdictions@shaw.ca.