When a gentle, but unflinching, family intervention finally made it clear to Umbrella’s founder, Gordon Harper, that he needed immediate help with his addiction issues, he was almost paralyzed by fear and anger and shame. When he hesitantly asked for help, he expected to be treated with the same level of disgust and disdain that he had come to feel toward himself. Imagine his surprise, then, when during his initial contact with each element of the addictions system, he was welcomed with compassion, and without judgement. The whole experience, so frightening at the outset, had become a hopeful and encouraging beginning to his journey of recovery.

A few years later Gordon had some solid sobriety under his belt and was now helping increasing numbers of people with their attempts at recovery, just as others had helped him along the way.

Buoyed by these experiences, he began to seek out other opportunities.  It quickly became clear that a peer support program, with an addiction focus, could really enhance the journeys of those who had been struggling with alcohol and other drugs.

In September 2017, after serving the community for many years, Gordon fully retired from Umbrella. He continues to live in Victoria with Alice, and is looking forward to new ways of serving the community, and spending more free time with family and friends. And, no, he will not be taking up golf!