Home. It can be one of the most beautiful words in the English language. It can mean family, safety, warmth, and welcome. It can mean the pure, simple pleasure of love and belonging.
For the men supported by St. Michael’s Homes, “home” is something far from simple.
For some, home is a place they left unwillingly, fleeing from abuse. It’s now coming to light just how many men who suffer addictions later in life were abused at home as children. For all too many of these men, home is a place to which they can never return.
For others, home is a place just out of reach. Their journey in recovery is going well, but spouses and children are wary, wanting to know that the man they welcome home is once again the man he used to be. More than that, our men know that the next time they go home might be their very last chance to make things right.
And for many more, home is where they are right now, this very day. The home they fled is long since gone. From this point forward, life will be what they make it, and home will be wherever they are. These are the men who look off into the distance with determination as the radio plays, “I’ll be home for Christmas… if only in my dreams.”
St. Michael’s Homes provides two ways for these men to be “home for the holidays.”
The first is at our Residential Treatment program. It’s hard to imagine, but if they weren’t in our care at this time of year, many of our clients would be wandering the street, looking for a coffee shop or a wind-protected alley, too frightened to visit even the emergency shelters. Instead of that, they will be together with others like themselves, shepherded by our selfless staff, enjoying turkey with all the trimmings, warm and cared for.
The second is in our Matt Talbot Supportive Housing. Forty-seven beds in forty-five rooms offer a mix of permanent residency and transitional housing for men in recovery from addiction. As I write this, old-timers with early onset dementia and younger men with PTSD are working together with staff to decorate for the holidays and plan events to celebrate together. This year, these men are family, and this house is home.
Turning these old houses into homes, so that these men can be “Home for the Holidays,” takes more than ornaments and holiday treats. It takes courage, and courage takes hope.
For those in our Treatment program, it means the hope that they are truly on the road to a better, sober life. For those in our Housing program, it means the hope that they can learn to be themselves, to help themselves, and to love themselves. These embers of hope are gently fanned by
- first-rate counsellors with up-to-date training in the best models of care;
- a Recreational Therapist and a Geriatric Support Worker to support them in body and soul;
- nursing and social work students full of fresh ideas and enthusiasm; and
- facilities and food services staff who daily express their love in tangible ways.
It is a privilege to lead this wonderful organization and to ask for your support. Despite all the challenges these men have faced—or perhaps because of them—it often doesn’t take that much to put a smile on their faces, and every one of us is worthy of our compassion.
Please help us bring these men, in spirit at least, “home for the holidays” by returning the form below or visiting us at www.stmichaelshomes.org/donate-today.
May the peace and goodwill of this season be yours, among your loved ones, and in your homes.
Robin Griller, Executive Director