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Recovery with A Fresh Air Twist

Recovery with A Fresh Air Twist

recovery.bmpBy Elaine Storey – Vanderhoof Omineca Express – June 24, 2008

Bruce LaRocque (left) with Regional District Rep Ralph Roy and Neil LaRocque.

“They’ll spend the first three months in Spruce Grove, spend month four in B.C. then spend months five and six back in Spruce Groove,” says counselor Bruce LaRocque. The month spent in B.C. will be in a wilderness location that will provide the missing rehabilitation component normally not found in addiction recovery.
“This wilderness recovery program will give clients a chance to get in touch with a power greater than themselves. They will experience a sense of camaraderie and peace and quiet they may never have enjoyed before,” said LaRocque. “Some of the clients will never have spent any time off the pavement. Some will get to do things they haven’t done in twenty years – like boating, drawing or journaling.”
Bruce LaRocque grew up in the area and some of his greatest memories were of the times spent at Top Lake, at his father’s hunting and guiding cabins. Enjoying the outdoors was a normal part of LaRocques childhood, and it’s his intent to bring this wilderness reality to the clients he works with at his Spruce Grove recovery service.
Five years ago, Bruce purchased the remote camp site from his father and it has since been his dream to bring clients to the pristine setting for a portion of their recovery.
In 2007, Bruce and board members of the High Country Recovery Counseling Service applied for funding, and in June 2008, that financial reality was revealed in a $30,000 cheque from Ralph Roy of the Nechako Valley Regional District Area D.
“I see this as being very important to the area,” said Roy.
When asked what the money will fund, LaRocque said they will build another 3 cabins, and a big shower house. They plan to use solar power on the property so as to not compromise the idyllic wilderness surroundings.
“I have worked in front line addiction recovery for 14 years,” says LaRocque. “I take on-going training, and I upgrade every year. I am really excited about this opportunity.”
LaRocque has brought small groups of clients into the camp for the past 5 years. “But, we’ve only been able to use it from May to October.” With the planned upgrades, the camp will be accessible all year round.
In the first three months of the six month program, the addict will stay at the Spruce Grove Center where doctors, counselors, and lawyers will assess and guide them through the
first stages of recovery. After their month in the wilderness setting, clients will return to the city to complete their program. Twelve to sixteen males over the age of 18, will all be in the program at the same time. Each one will recover at their own pace, with the support of other group members and staff. “Your recovery is only as strong as your support system,” said LaRocque, “That’s why part of our program is to help the families to heal as well. When the recovering addict comes home, and no changes have been made within the family component, the addict could fall back into their addictive patterns very quickly.
In his role as counselor, LaRocque does a lot of public speaking. “I go into communities and speak on addictions. I tell people what is going on inside the body of an addict. I tell them how much money in their community is being spent by those ‘connected by telephone to dealers.’ I tell families how to become engaged in the recovery. I teach families how to heal.”
Bruce LaRocque currently works out of Spruce Grove Alberta, along with his brother Neil who works out his Kitimat office in northwestern B.C. The pair are very excited about opening up their Wilderness component that will benefit clients in all forms of addiction recovery.

If you are struggling with an addiction, or know of someone who could benefit from the services of the High Country Recovery Counseling Centre, here are some details for you to make contact.
The Recovery Centre is located in Spruce Grove, Alberta and the wilderness retreat component is in Northern BC.
You can contact addictions counselor Bruce LaRocque at 780-960-6092 for details about this unique, back to nature program he created.