Hammer Time

Trades and construction are among the industries with the highest rates of alcohol consumption and drug use. Substance use disorder is roughly twice as common in the trades than in the general population.  Given this disparity in prevalence, it is unsurprising that the trades show very high rate of overdose deaths, and concurrent mental health issues.  At the same time, the culture of construction and trades has not fostered open discussion of these problems. For this reason, many who struggle with substances in the trades feel discouraged in their pursuit of recovery, and unaware of the supports available to them.

Hammer Time addresses this issue by providing those in the trades with an opportunity for connection, support, and education.  Facilitated by an Umbrella staff member with extensive construction experience, Hammer Time offers a safe space to openly discuss substance use and recovery.  Further, participants are directed toward helpful supports and resources.

Hammer Time is held online via Zoom on Thursdays from 7-8pm.  No registration is required.  To access this group, please click here.

Connections

Connections is an online drop-in group for individuals with substance use issues and their loved ones.  Often, individuals can get stuck on waitlists for supports or resources, or find the array of options available to them bewildering.  Still others may not even be aware of help that is available to them.  Co-facilitated by Umbrella and Island Health staff members, Connections was conceived to help anyone who might need help identifying or navigating the available addiction resources and supports.

The Tuesday 1-2pm Zoom session requires no registration and is available to anyone wishing connection to resources and supports.  To access this group, please click here.

Behavioural Addiction Group

Traditionally, addiction has been almost exclusively associated with substances.  Increasingly, however, certain behaviours are being viewed as addictive because they produce a rush of feel-good chemicals in the brain which mimics the effects of drinking and drugging.  We are now learning that the high experienced from engaging in certain behaviours, such as gambling, sex, exercise, video gaming or eating, can be just as addictive as that experienced from alcohol or drugs.

Combating these ‘behavioural addictions’ can, in fact, be very difficult because the neurochemical response is achieved internally, and comes from activities which are either part of normal life, or cannot be completely relinquished without negatively impacting quality of life.  To achieve abstinence, the drug user or alcoholic has to stop using or drinking.  The overeater, however, cannot abstain from eating.  Further, the compulsive shopper, the romance addict, and the obsessive exerciser could completely give up these activities, but not without compromising well-being and potential happiness.  Unlike the alcoholic or drug addict, then, the behavioural addict must learn moderation.

Umbrella’s Behavioural Addiction Group addresses these complex issues in weekly meetings which mix education, peer support, and coping strategies.  This group meets online via Zoom on Thursdays from 7:30-8:30pm.  No registration is required.  To access this group, please click here.

Rainbow Group

Members of the LGBTQ2S+ community face numerous unique challenges that contribute to a high rate of addiction.  These include discrimination and stigmatization, hate crimes, public ridicule, the rejection of family and friends, loss of employment, and failure to achieve promotion.  These factors compel many in the LGBTQ2S+ community turn to drugs and alcohol as a way to medicate feelings of shame, fear, anger and depression.  As a result, an estimated 20-30% of LGBTQ2S+ community suffer from substance use issues, compared to about 9% of the general population.

Seeking to address this problem, Umbrella established the Rainbow Group as a safe, inclusive, non-judgemental space for LGBTQ2S+ with substance use issues to share, check-in, and set weekly goals for self-care and recovery. The group is facilitated by LGBTQ2S+ members who strive to foster an environment of acceptance, honesty, and compassion.

This drop-in, online Zoom meeting runs weekly on Tuesdays from 7-8 pm.  No registration is required.  To access this group, please click here.

AIR (Anxiety in Recovery)

  Anxiety and addiction are frequently connected.
This is because those with social or generalized anxiety often find that alcohol and drugs make them feel relaxed, comfortable and less inhibited.  For this reason, they often drink and use habitually to relieve discomfort, which can lead to dependence.  A successful initial remedy for anxiety swiftly becomes an agent of self-destruction, and the anxious addict is confronted by the many negative consequences that overuse and over-drinking inevitably brings.  When these individuals enter recovery, they often find that combating the addiction is fruitless without also addressing the anxiety.

AIR group (Anxiety in Recovery) offers those in early recovery a support group that features both open discussion and education. Each meeting will give participants a chance to share their experience of anxiety, either as it manifests alone, or in relation to substance use.  Additionally, the facilitators will work through modules whose subjects range from the physiology of anxiety disorders to practical solutions for managing the emotions and physical sensations related to anxiety.

For the addict in early recovery, having to experience severe anxiety without the medicating influence of the ‘drug of choice’ can be very frustrating and isolating.  The Umbrella staff facilitators have experienced this sense loneliness and want to let participants know they are not alone, and that there is hope of drug-free escape.

Umbrella AIR is held online via Zoom restarting on Monday, June 13.  No registration is required.  To access this group, please click here.

Women's Recovery Group

Facilitated by two female Umbrella staff in recovery, the Women’s Recovery Group focuses on those who identify as women, and are seeking a safe space to give and receive support as they progress toward their personal recovery goals.  Eight weeks in length, the program is intended to empower women in early recovery by introducing them to topics like forgiveness, mindfulness, gratitude, and boundary-setting, among others.  By fostering a warm and caring environment that is conducive to honesty and vulnerability, the facilitators strive to promote healing while also building a sense of community and connection.

To register for this in-person group, please contact Umbrella at 250-380-0595 or wecanhelp@umbrellasociety.ca.

SMART Recovery Meetings

Umbrella hosts three weekly SMART Recovery meetings.

On Thursday from 6-7:30pm two Umbrella certified SMART facilitator host two in person meeting at the Umbrella office on Dunedin Street. The upstairs meeting is a Family & Friends group and the downstairs meeting is a traditional SMART Recovery group. Everyone is welcome, no registration necessary.

On Wednesdays, two Umbrella certified SMART facilitators are available via Zoom for a meeting from 12noon to 1:30pm. For more information about accessing this online group please click here.

All Things Gratitude

Please join us weekly to explore and express All Things Gratitude.

In All Things Gratitude, participants share, explore and discover new ways to practice Gratitude, making Thankfulness comfortable and fun.  Hosted by a skilled Umbrella facilitator, All Things Gratitude allows participants to practice gratitude and experience its countless benefits.  A few of these include the experience of more positive emotions, the release of toxic thoughts and feelings, deeper sleep, better immunity to sickness, greater empathy, reduced depression, and many other markers of well-being and life satisfaction.  For many in recovery, the most valuable result of daily gratitude practice is sobriety!  Whether our practices are internal, external, personal or social, we learn in All Things Gratitude to make Gratitude a natural and habitual state, bringing a steady flow of its rewards into our lives.

All Things Gratitude is held online via Zoom on Tuesdays from 7-8pm.  No registration is required.  To access this group, please click here.

The Umbrella Experience

This weekly online check-in group provides those in early recovery an informal opportunity to develop connection, generate discussion, and build accountability.  Participants are encouraged to share where they are at, including their struggles and achievements, and receive feedback and encouragement. This group’s regular, strong attendance testifies to its sense of community, and success in helping participants achieve their recovery goals.

Held Friday from 1-2pm via Zoom, the Umbrella Experience is facilitated by an experienced Umbrella staff member.  No registration is required.  To access this group, please click here.

Comfortably UN-Numb – Learning to Live without Substances

Established in September 2020, Comfortably UN-Numb was intended to meet a desperate need: the notable lack of adequate local outpatient programming for those with substance use issues. Many addicted have too many responsibilities to attend residential treatment, but need to develop recovery tools than cannot easily be gained at a daily recovery meeting.

Designed to meet this need, Comfortably UN-Numb is a four-week intensive outpatient recovery group hosted weekdays at Umbrella from 9-11:30am.  Intended for about 15-20 participants, Comfortably UN-Numb covers topics that are critical to progress in early recovery.  These include gratitude, forgiveness, relapse prevention, and trigger management, among others.  As they progress through the four week program, participants develop tools of recovery while building connection and a sense of community.  Most find Comfortably UN-Numb so valuable and enjoyable that they wish it were longer!

Those wishing to attend must pre-register by calling 250-380-0595 or emailing wecanhelp@umbrellasociety.ca.

Parents Group

Launched in 2021, the Parents Group was established by a registered clinical counselor to address an urgent need – to provide support specific to the needs of those with children in active addiction.  Originally, the group consisted of Umbrella counseling clients; however, since then, it has expanded membership to include anyone with a child suffering from substance use disorder.  The group’s intention was to foster a space in which parents could freely share their experiences, exchange wisdom on how to cope, and support one another.  The original members found the group highly compelling and, enjoying the ongoing companionship it affords, have formed a core group of consistent participants.  Others with more specific needs and goals have come and gone as these have been attained.

Participants are encouraged to maintain each other’s anonymity and confidentiality.  This, coupled with the atmosphere of kindness, warmth, and acceptance that prevails in Parents’ Group, tends to produce open and honest disclosure.  Members testify to the therapeutic power of ‘getting things out’ to those who have gone through similar trials, and can therefore empathize.  Due to the participants’ candour and the sensitive nature of the information shared, this is a closed group.  To register, call 250-380-0595.