Each one of us has been faced with adversity, some of rise to the challenge and grow stronger from the experience. After all what doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger. However there are some of us that not only rise to the challenge, but seek to use the experience to make our world a better place; Takis Liris, one of the founders of the Oasis Addiction and Recovery Society is just such a person. Last week I had the pleasure of recording Mr. Liri’s story, I have included a little excerpt of our interview, and the entire interview can be seen on Youtube (Oasis Clothing Bank and please excuse our less than stellar filming skill it’s the story that matters).
“As long as I remembered I used to drink… socially”, this is how he begins his story, and I find this is how most alcoholics begin their story, “I used to only drink socially”. Taki tells us his business as a former nightclub owner required him to imbibe with his patrons, and then as an international salesman he had to wine and dine potential clients; maybe he thought his very livelihood depended upon his partaking in alcoholic drink? However, by age 35 whether he was aware of it or not, he had become a heavy drinker and, at 54 he admitted to himself he had a problem. Taki lost his business, lost his friends and was now in jeopardy of losing his family—in other words he hit his “rock bottom”. It was at this point with support of his family he checked himself into a recovery facility. Taki does not dwell on his time in rehab, in fact he merely mentions it in passing, as if it were a small part of his journey. I have spoken many times with Taki before recording this interview and, he has never lingered on the details around his time in rehab, I always thought that this was because it was a time in his life that was too personal and, too painful to be shared. I no longer think so, Taki has simply forgiven that part of himself and no longer identifies with that person. This is one of the reasons for his 20 plus years of sobriety. After his stint in re-hab he had to return to the real world (as those in recovery must) and found himself without a job and the need to support his family. Society as a whole is very supportive of those who need to enter recovery however, society doesn’t really concern itself with what happens to these people after rehab. Taki identified this need within his community and acted upon it; he approached the president of the rehab centre he had attended and, pitched the idea of creating a program that would help recovering alcoholics and addicts reclaim their place in the community. This was the beginning of The Oasis Addiction and Recovery Society.
After anyone enters any kind of rehab program the big question is will sobriety stick? We as a society have spent a lot of time and effort to provide programs which help alcoholics and addicts in their first phase of recovery – getting clean; past this point however, there is little social or community involvement. As someone in recovery, Taki discovered that recovering addicts and alcoholics need two things to succeed; their dignity and their integrity. The goal of any twelve step program among other things, is to restore a person’s sense of honesty and integrity; regaining one dignity however is something different all together. The ability to work, provide for one’s self and their family, as well as become a viable member of their community, is the only path to restoring ones dignity. When Taki began The Oasis Society for Addiction and Recovery he not only created the opportunity for recovering alcoholics and addicts to reclaim thier dignity, he also created an organization where employers can find hardworking, honest employees. At the time of this post, 22 employers use Oasis as source of labour and, Oasis is proud to announce that on average they place 150 people per year. If you are an employer looking to not only fill a job position but make a difference in your community please contact The Oasis Addiction and Recovery Society firstname.lastname@example.org or call at 416 461 7739.
We thank you in advance for taking the time out of your busy schedules to listen to Taki’s story and to read our blog.