Pubdate: Wed, 15 Feb 2006
Source: Penticton Herald (CN BC)
Copyright: 2006 The Okanagan Valley Group of Newspapers
Author: Mark Brett
Bookmark: (Treatment)


Don Sismey is a giant step closer to realizing his dream of providing 
facilities locally to help people addicted to drugs and alcohol who 
sincerely want to changes their lives.

The organization he founded, the Penticton Resource Recovery Society, 
was recently incorporated under the provincial government's Societies 
Act, paving the way to begin fundraising for the first of what he 
hopes will be a series of recovery shelters or homes.

"Right now there is nothing, no recovery house in Penticton and there 
is just a huge need," said Sismey, who battled his personal 
addictions for more than 30 years before making the big turnaround in 
his own life and impassioned him to help others.

The first fundraising event for the society is a dinner scheduled for 
Friday, Feb. 24 at the St. John Vianney Church hall at 6 p.m. The 
initial facility will be called Discovery House and will accommodate 
up to six men (19 and over).

"I've been to all of the churches and have talked to all of the 
pastors and ministers and the majority of them have indicated they 
would be willing to provide some sort of support or another," said Sismey.

"Overall I would say the response so far has been awesome and we plan 
to approach businesses and other organizations in the next little 
while for their help as well."

One person who is especially happy about the project finally getting 
off the ground is chairperson Dr. Sherry Ure of the Pathways 
Addiction Resource Centre board of directors.

"It's definitely needed here," said Ure. "The problem lies in that 
even if someone gets into detox, goes to rehab for that short-term, 
then where do they go? Do they come back to the same environment they 
left? There's that need for that longer-term support for a more 
gradual reintegration process.

"Personally I'm in support of it and Pathways certainly is and we're 
willing to give them whatever help we can."

She added for many people it is simply not practical to have to 
travel to another city to get the support available through such facilities.

Sismey plans to pattern Discovery House after the Kelowna facility he 
attended called Freedom Store which used a spiritually based program 
to treat individuals.

"It would be a minimum 90-day treatment plan that would be dedicated 
to healing the mind, body and the spirit," said Sismey. "My recovery 
started when I made that commitment, it was just a total sense of 
awareness and is critical part of the program it could be God or 
something else -- just a higher power than yourself."

Another key element of the planned recovery houses is a genuine 
desire on the part of the individual to get better.

"You're going to have to make a big commitment, this is not going to 
be someplace to get three hots and a cot in the winter,' he said. 
Long range plans also include a similar centre for women.

Tickets for next week's dinner are available by contacting Sismey at 
486-4428 or through the office of St. Ann's Parish. The cost is $10 per ticket
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom