A program designed to help fathers recovering from substance misuse and addiction is set to launch in Sarnia early next year.
The 12-week session of “Fathers in Recovery” will target Sarnia men with substance and addiction issues who are parenting a child or children aged six or younger — with a focus on learning to balance recovery with being the best parent he can be.
“We’re very excited to bring this to the community because the community has told us they want it,” said Charity Smith, a Sarnia-Lambton caseworker through the Windsor-based House of Sophrosyne, an addiction recovery program for women.
Smith has facilitated the Caring Connections Mothers in Recovery program for the past three years in Sarnia — supporting pregnant and parenting women with substance and addiction issues.
“The Fathers in Recovery idea was really born from the women saying, ‘we need something for the fathers of our children, who are also struggling with recovery and addiction,’” said Smith, who is based out of the Sarnia-Lambton Children’s Aid Society. “We started seeing that the moms were getting healthier than their partners, which was causing some conflict in the family, simply because of the lack of opportunities for men in the community.”
A subsequent follow-up survey with community partners and participating women found an overwhelming need for a fathers’ program, Smith said.
The free program for males ages 16 and older begins Jan. 19 at the Little Friends Early Years Centre on Essex Street in Sarnia, with childcare provided. Because the House of Sophrosyne mandate is specific to women, the program is being offered in partnership with the Canadian Mental Health Association, with the help of facilitator Tim Charrette.
Referrals have already started coming in from groups like Ontario Works, CAS, the Bluewater Methadone Clinic, and the Withdrawal Management Program.
“We’ve seen the moms succeed but the men are struggling because the supports aren’t there,” said Smith. “We’re looking at it from a family perspective, so that we can keep the family together and heal together.
“When children can have both their parents be healthy and part of their lives, you have better outcomes for everyone.”
For more information, contact Charity Smith at 519-328-1683 or CMHA at 519-337-5411 ext. 3282