Newgate 180 has recruited its staff from across Canada to provide its clients with one of the most experienced and highly effective addiction teams in North America.
A co-founder of Newgate 180, Peter’s extensive experience and background in program development has been molded over more than 28 years in residential treatment of addictions. A graduate of Algonquin College’s Substance Abuse Counselling Program, Peter has developed and implemented many successful multi-module programs designed to meet the specific needs of individual clients. Peter played a lead role at the James Street Recovery Program where he developed the Relapse Prevention process with Continuing Care components. He has also worked with the Rideauwood Institute in Ottawa in their Parent and teen program.
Bringing awareness and transparency to addiction in the workplace has been a passionate quest for Peter as he created, delivered, and implemented addiction education and training programs both publicly and corporately.
Peter has demonstrated throughout his long-tenured career an unwavering commitment to finding addiction solutions. His respectful and compassionate approach to treatment, which sits as the foundation for the Newgate 180 mission, is the result of Peter’s highly intuitive and nurturing nature.
“All of our clients are special, but every once in a while one person comes along who really touches you. For me, that client was a 25-year-old woman who came from a very controlling family. She thought she had a drinking problem and although her family told her she was okay and didn’t need treatment, she made the courageous decision and came to us anyway.
“For her initial visit, she toured Newgate with her mother and when we met I was asking her questions, all of which her mother answered. At one point I firmly asked her mother to let her daughter answer the questions…years later she told me it was at that moment she decided to choose Newgate because she looked at me as an advocate, someone in her corner.
“She went through the entire program, ended up falling in love and getting married and three and a half years later she is still in touch with me and doing fine. She is special to me and is one of my favorite success stories because she was dealing with a lot, put an incredible amount of work into her rehabilitation and is now reaping the benefits.”
For Dale, clients choose Newgate 180 because of the organization’s team of exceptional counselors and support staff.
“There is no question that the people at Newgate 180 make the difference, we have a very special group of people here….”
Dale continues to work a few shifts per month at a local distress centre and plans to pursue a degree in psychology via distance learning.
Dale brings to Newgate an extensive background in personal and family-of-origin addiction, together with many years of volunteer work with youth and with men formerly incarcerated but in recovery and working to re-enter the general population. She is also a Certified Canadian Addiction Counsellor. Dale is also an Honours Graduate from the Addictions and Community Service Worker Program at Everest College.
Silent Hour Support Staff
Lester started at Newgate 180 in October of 2008 and brings 30 years of food service experience, including Food Service Operation Manager, Distribution Food Warehouse Manager and Purchasing Agent for a 100-store Restaurant Chain.
He is the person most clients see in the quiet of the night, or early in the morning.
“Over the years due to sometimes sharing similar interests with a particular client, or if the client is a very early riser, I have shared a number of laughs and have had interesting conversations. And this is the thing I like most about my position with Newgate.”
Lester is like the majority of staff members at Newgate who enjoy watching clients progress to become healthy individuals again.
“It is often the little things which are appreciated by the clients,” Lester says. “One time I folded a client’s clothes that were in the dryer. He was very happy and remarked to me that he was happy to see that humanity still did exist. That’s Newgate 180,” Lester says.
“I think yoga is an important part of Newgate’s multi faceted approach to addiction recovery, and its commitment to supporting clients as they return home. Much more than physical exercise, yoga can provide valuable guidelines and strategies for relaxation, stress relief and self-care.
I feel privileged to work with Newgate clients. Each yoga class is a new and different experience. Clients exhibit courage, determination and humour. Yoga embraces each unique experience as clients learn to be accepting of the new sensations and emotions. This can lead to an expanding sense of self awareness, and self-acceptance.
The challenges and rewards of teaching yoga to such a population inspires me to continue developing my skills, and exploring the connections between stress, trauma and addiction. Recent workshops I have attended include Brain, Mind and Body in the Healing of Trauma with Dr. Bessel Van Der Kolk, and The Neuroscience of Buddhism and Yoga with Dr. Jim Hopper. I am currently completing a 10 month course in Positive Psychology. Each class I teach renews my own conviction that yoga can provide tools to support clients’ sobriety and reaffirms my dedication to yoga.
Karen came to Newgate 180 with more than 25 years of experience in the nursing field spent in occupational health, emergency nursing, cardiology and military nursing.
“My past work has provided me with a wealth of experience in dealing with young people and adults with multiple addiction, social, emotional and mental health issues. I am very sensitive to the issue facing people who are battling addiction and I came to Newgate 180 because its approach, which takes a holistic view of healing, is the best way to ensure long-term success for clients.
“I am a licensed Primary Health Care Nurse Practitioner in Ontario and currently screen each Newgate client as they enter our program to ensure all health issues are known to us before treatment begins.”
Karen feels very strongly about her work with people dealing with addiction and says her work is very gratifying in a number of ways.
“There are plenty of people out there who for a variety of reasons are dealing with addiction and mental health issues,” she said. “My work with Newgate 180 is very important to me because I have the opportunity to help the organization help people in a real and meaningful way. To see lives changed and to watch clients move from a place of despair to a place of hope and eventually to recovery is very special for me.”
Newgate 180 Dietary Aid Sherri-Lyn Hartley says that it is the fact that “clients always come first” that makes working at the Merrickville drug, alcohol and gambling treatment facility so special.
“I am always struck by the fact that the counsellors here, who are very busy people, spend the majority of their days working to help people, to help our clients,” she said. “This may sound like common sense, but I have never worked anywhere that has such a strong sense of community, of family like Newgate 180 does.”
Sherri-Lyn joined the Newgate team in 2015 and is responsible for creating nutritious and delicious recipes for the organization’s clients. This involves ordering all supplies, maintaining inventory and preparing three meals a day for clients with whom she works very closely.
Sherri-Lyn says it was the program that brought her to Newgate and it is the program and the incredible work of helping people rebuild their lives that brings the most meaning to her work.
“I believe so much in the Newgate 180 program because I know it works,” she said. “To see people come in and then see the difference in them when they leave…it is such a good feeling.”
“I really believe the reason why Newgate 180 works first and foremost is the respect all our staff give the clients from the first phone call. Our ability to move fast when people need help, even if it does not result in the clients coming to Newgate, is a major plus for someone reaching out because they think they may have an addiction issue. Even if a person contacting us does not come to Newgate 180, they will still receive the time and guidance of one of our professional staff…this is something very special and I believe unique to Newgate.
“Once a client is in Newgate’s program it is the whole package: very in-depth and empowering treatment in a peaceful, serene environment with caring staff at all levels.”
Holly is the person who makes the Newgate 180 administration system work. And while she doesn’t often deal directly with clients through their journey to recovery, she definitely has seen incredible success in the lives of clients over the years.
“I have seen clients come in so beaten down they will hardly look you in the eye. By the time they leave, they will smile and interact with you…it is definitely a rewarding and sometimes very challenging environment, but we know we’re helping change lives and that is something very special indeed.”
And why did Holly choose Newgate 180 as a place to work?
“I like the positivity that fills the building. Our staff members are certainly caring to the clients, but in general are very supportive to each other. I see this in every position from our managers to the counsellors and through to the support staff.”
Tom is a long-time member of the Newgate 180 team and has had his share of incredible experiences working as a counsellor with those afflicted with addiction.
In 2012, while on a sabbatical and working as an Executive Assistant with the Catholic District School Board, Tom worked with many students in many different schools. During one of these interactions Tom met a three-and-a-half-year-old girl in junior kindergarten.
“I came to find out that this little girl had enough cocaine in her system that she would be classified as a user,” Tom said. “The reason she had the drug in her system was that the parents would party and the little girl would then eat her Cheerios off of the coffee table and what she was doing was ingesting cocaine.
“This was an incredibly difficult thing to see when I considered my own grandson was only four at the time,” Tom said. “The experience really drove home the thought that I could keep working with the Board one individual at a time or I could get back to Newgate and working with groups and help many more people.”
Tom describes the Newgate program as “solid” and says it is that approach to treatment as well as the Newgate team which truly makes it special.
“It just fits and our clients get that, there is a lot of compassion here and our clients understand what we’re doing and how we’re doing it. We don’t tear down our clients because they have been successful in many areas of their lives and when they come to us their lives have broken down over substance abuse. So what we do is we use their strengths, those things that have made them successful, to empower them which truly makes the program their program.”
Tom is a Certified Canadian Addiction Counsellor and is a graduate of the Social Service Worker Program at Algonquin College. He sits on the Advisory Board for the Social Service Worker Program for Algonquin College Perth Campus. Tom has spent many years advocating/driving for people with disabilities to receive the services and treatment they need, and also volunteers with other charitable projects including the Masons’ Child Identification Clinic. He serves as Chairman of a yearly fundraising golf tournament, helps out with youth golf clinics and spends volunteer time in the Big Red Suit in the 12th month of each year. He also serves as a motivational speaker to local youth groups.
“I believe the Newgate 180 approach to be more effective than other programs because of the way we treat every client, we work intensely from the time they arrive, through the intake process to the way we formulate a detailed and personalized treatment plan. We provide them with the knowledge and tools they will need to move forward in their recovery and eventually resume their lives.
“When clients make that first call reaching out for help we believe it should be a personal experience with a real person and not a discussion with an automated system – they will speak directly with a staff member.”
Melissa says the fact that clients reaching out for help can be admitted within 24-72 hours in many cases as compared with being placed on a six to 12-month waiting list for government-funded programs is a major plus for clients.
“Not too long ago we had a female client come in who was very anxious to be entering treatment with no knowledge of the type of people she was going to be with or what exactly our program entailed. I was the counselling staff on shift when this woman arrived so it was my responsibility to ensure that she was comfortable in her surroundings as well as getting all of the information from her that we need upon intake.
“After a short period of time she opened up to me and became very emotional as this was the first time she had ever talked to someone about the things going on in her life and the feelings attributed to them. We ended up spending almost 6 hours together, with her getting more and more comfortable and open as time went on
“After that initial night I feel that we really connected throughout her 30 days at Newgate 180 and she often turned to me for additional support and encouragement. With me being a newer counsellor, she was the first client that really put all of her eggs in my basket and trusted me with everything that she had to say. I feel that she and her story will stick with me for a very long time and I will remember my time with her when I am faced with a similar client or scenarios.”
“There are clients I have worked with who suffered very traumatic childhood events and abusive situations. One client in particular was determined to turn his life around and stop the cycle of abuse that happened in his family. His addiction to alcohol greatly affected his life and led to his decision to come to Newgate 180 for treatment. He has a wife and children whom he did not want to lose and he worked very hard while at Newgate to do the work he needed to maintain recovery.”
According to Pryor, the client stayed true to his values as a devoted father and husband and didn’t let his alcoholism escalate to the point of any physical or verbal abuse in his home. This meant he was able to get control of his addiction and the accompanying anger and frustration.
“This client had the courage to follow through with his goals in recovery and be honest when facing the demons from his past. This allowed him to get to the root of his problems and rediscover his values.
Pryor says she likes the Newgate 180 approach because it’s very well structured and holistic, while considering each client’s individual circumstances and adjusting their program as needed, to meet their specific needs.
“It’s also a very comfortable and homey environment, without an institutional feel to it.”