This is our third and final installment in our interview series with Oasis Addiction and Recovery Society’s founder Taki Liris. In our last blog Taki directed our discussion towards the theme of integration and sustainable recovery; without social integration and economic independence recovery cannot and will not be long term. If you ask anyone who has achieved long term recovery people like Taki, they will tell you while losing their friends, job and family is harsh, their loss of dignity is crippling. worse is their loss of dignity. Dignity, the state of being worthy of honor and respect is sacrificed in the hunt for their next drink and their next fix. Without restoring one sense of dignity long term recovery is harder to achieve, mostly because the individual feels they are not deserving. As tragic as this sounds, the best way to begin to re-gain ones dignity is with a pay check; being paid for an honest day’s work reinforces ones sense of self-worth and ultimately restores their dignity.
At this point in our interview, we wanted to learn more about the process and the programs offered by the Oasis Addiction and Recovery Society. Oasis is affiliated with a variety of rehab and detox programs and, once an individual completes his or her program or, is sober/clean for a minimum of thirty days, they qualify for the Oasis Employment Essentials Program or OEEP. This program runs for six weeks, five days a week, six hours a day. OEEP is designed for that period of time right after rehab and detox when, as Taki says “the brain is foggy” and even the most basic and fundamental decisions are overwhelming. Participants are guided through the process of making decisions which will help build their future in a safe and structured environment; they meet with job councilors who help them chart their path back to the workforce. In the last ten years Oasis has placed 1500 people in full time positions, not only giving them an opportunity to gain economic independence but more importantly, they help these individual regain their lost dignity.
Another group of individuals who Taki feels are being overlooked are recovering alcoholics and addicts with disabilities both mental and physical. There is much to be done in this area because they face a unique set of challenges. Taki says “What we offer them is the biggest thing…. Understanding. We help them understand they have the same rights as everyone else”. Oasis places two to three recovering physically and mentally challenged individuals in part time and casual positions monthly.
While the achievements made by Oasis Addiction and Recovery Society are admirable Taki maintains they still need help. Unfortunately people who need placement are quickly outnumbering the positions available, Taki takes this moment to ask the community for their help. It is no secret society stigmatizes those who are in recovery Taki however, insists there are valuable benefits to hiring an Oasis graduate; the biggest benefit is honesty! Anyone who is in a 12 Step Recovery Program must be honest with themselves and everyone around them. Taki says quite plainly “ They (those in recovery) have suffered enough with the dishonesty during their drinking … they know to stay clean and sober they have to be honest with themselves and with other people” This is the critical difference between hiring a “regular” person and one who is in a 12 Step Program. A definite advantage to be sure.
We would like to take this opportunity to thank Mr. Taki Liris for taking the time to share his story and, for giving us a better understanding of the critical role the Oasis Addiction and Recovery Society plays in sustainable recovery. If you are an employer and are interested in hiring honest and hardworking individuals, please call 416 461 7739 or email email@example.com
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