Sunday is Mother’s Day- a day to celebrate and honor mothers everywhere. Today is not your typical WomenOnTheFence.com Mother’s Day blog post. No, today, I decided to spotlight Portage, a substance abuse rehabilitation facility with a special Mother-Child program, helping mothers and children with addiction. I wanted desperately to give some of these nameless women who have fallen through the cracks, a voice for Mother’s Day.

I have to give credit my father, for it was his idea to do a mother’s day segment on the women at the facility. My dad is on the board of Portage, one of Canada’s leading substance abuse rehabilitation facilities with locations across the country, and he told me about all the trailblazing work they are doing in the arena of addiction. Unique to Portage, they have en entirely separate Mother-Child facility where substance addicted mothers can live with their babies, and where newborns who are born drug-addicted can safely undergo drug withdrawal and not have to be separated from their mother. I walked the halls and saw these mothers and their children, and heard their stories. I was nervous going in, but so eager to hear the stories and showcase Portage’s work in this arena. I only hoped I would do a good enough job to do their organization justice. I sat down with the facilitators who run Portage and asked them about what makes them so successful at what they do.

And finally, I wasn’t able to interview the women on camera as coincidentally, all the women who were there at this time were under youth protection. But in being with them, walking with them, smiling at them, I saw in their eyes and in their souls that life has been hard on them. Life has been very difficult for these women.

I give you, Portage’s Mother-Child program.

Direct link to segment: http://youtu.be/3fPlqg6Vpac

Portage provided me with a checklist if you fear that you or someone you love might be struggling with addiction.

Answer the following questions honestly for a self-evaluation of what your rehabilitation needs may be:

  1. Do you need to do drugs or drink alcohol in order to function?
  2. Do you use drugs or drink alcohol to cope with your feelings or to avoid dealing with the problems in your life?
  3. Does your drug or your alcohol use ever cause you to feel guilty, worried, trapped, lonely, sad, depressed, or hopeless about the future?
  4. Does your use of drugs or alcohol ever make you confused, incoherent, disorganised, disoriented, or cause you some memory loss?
  5. Does your drug or alcohol use cause you physical, emotional, psychological, family, social, financial, or legal problems?
  6. Is it hard for you to control your drug or alcohol use?
  7. Is it difficult for you to stay clean for several days at a time?
  8. Do you take more than one drug at a time?
  9. Do you ever get aggressive when you use drugs or drink alcohol?
  10. Do you ever use drugs or drink alcohol by yourself?
  11. Has your drug or alcohol use made you isolate yourself from your friends and relatives?
  12. Have you ever lied about your use of drugs or alcohol?
  13. Does your drug or alcohol use ever cause you to think about self-mutilation or ending your life?
  14. Have relatives or friends ever complained that your use of drugs or alcohol is damaging your relationship with them or do they criticise you for your drug use?
  15. Has anyone ever suggested to you that you go for a consultation to get help for your drug or alcohol use?
  16. Do you hide your drug or alcohol use from your friends or relatives?
  17. Has your use of drugs or alcohol caused you problems with motivation, concentration, or memory?
  18. Does your drug or alcohol use ever cause you to have difficulty paying attention at work, school, while doing your hobbies, or at home?
  19. Have you ever ended up in the hospital after using drugs or drinking alcohol?
  20. Has your doctor ever referred you to addiction services? Has he/she ever told you to stop taking your prescribed medication because it could be harmful to you given your use of drugs or alcohol?

If you answered yes to even one of these questions, you may wish to contact Portage to discuss whether you need may need to follow a drug addiction rehabilitation program.

What I didn’t know about Portage, is that it is 100% free. It is 85% subsidized by the government and 15% funded by donations.

And finally, I would like to wish a very Happy Mother’s Day to my devoted mother and mother-in-law who have shown me the importance of love, dedication and commitment to family. And to ALL moms everywhere, a very happy and healthy Mother’s Day. We are definitely a tribe, and it takes a village to raise a child. Whether you’re a first time mom, or this is your first Mother’s Day without your mom, I wish you love and many blessings, and lots of laughter. Enjoy the moment, and I hope someone spoils you on Sunday.

What does Mother’s Day mean to you? What did you think about the work Portage is doing? How will you be celebrating on Sunday? Today is a day to celebrate women. Honor your mom by telling us what she means to you.

My own mother and two boys.

mom and me

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