Posted on September 17, 2019
The journey to finding freedom
Laureen (Reenie) Fox knew she wanted to help other people. As someone who had volunteered in the past she wanted to get back to serving others.
So Reenie enthusiastically signed up for a recovery program helping folks find freedom from addictions and complex trauma, called RE:ACT. She believed she could join the program to help participants on their healing journey.
But soon after starting the RE:ACT program (Recovery and Education from Addiction and Complex Trauma) Reenie realized that she was in need of healing too. “I came into RE:ACT believing that I was healed from my own past experiences and could now help others,” Reenie shared. “I was actually only there for a couple of days when I realized ‘oops, I still have some healing to do myself.’”
The RE:ACT program, which operates in NightShift’s education room weekday mornings and afternoons, is dedicated to seeing people find freedom from brokenness and addictions, partly by addressing and working through deep rooted trauma from the past.
Founded in Winnepeg by Tim Fletcher under Finding Freedom Society, RE:ACT came to Surrey last year, with the help of Mike van Zanten, Chair of Finding Freedom BC Society. Mike was impressed with the program’s focus on healing from complex trauma as key to recovery from addictions and other harmful coping mechanisms.
Complex trauma stems from a wide range of hurtful experiences. “It might a person never feeling respected, or like they didn’t have a voice, or shame was put upon them,” says Mike, who also does some of the coaching and teaching at RE:ACT. “It might be suffering horrible physical or sexual abuse. There are many reasons why people experience complex trauma.”
For Reenie, RE:ACT guided her through dealing with the complexities around the sexual abuse she suffered as a child. “I had already dealt with the bigger picture of my trauma, but I hadn’t dealt with the secondary effects, like shame and guilt, or the role of my parents’ failure to protect me.”
Dealing with childhood experiences also helped her to feel connected to other women in the class who were walking through addictions and even homelessness. “I thought I had nothing in common with them until I had a coffee break with them and we started sharing our childhood experiences. Then I knew I had everything in common with these women.”
RE:ACT is a three-phase recovery program. The first two phases, offered over 90 days, include teaching and understanding recovery and complex trauma, with one-on-one coaching and group therapy, and fun weekly activities and outings. The optional Phase 3 is aftercare, offered over an open-ended length of time and tailored to suit the client.
“It’s a very personalized program that is about knowing yourself and embracing yourself,” Reenie explains. “I came into it thinking I was a certain type of person, but I’ve come out the other side knowing myself differently, and having a fuller sense of self-worth and confidence.”
Reenie’s positive outcome after taking RE:ACT is a common one, says Mike, adding he doesn’t know anybody who wouldn’t benefit from it. “Reenie has had quite a journey from someone who struggled with severe depression and anxiety. RE:ACT has helped bring freedom to her in so many areas, shame being a big one. She has transformed into a powerful woman in leadership. It’s extraordinary.”
It’s this kind of freedom and change that makes RE:ACT such a perfect “roommate” for NightShift. It provides access to the kind of healing and hope NightShift envisions for the people they serve everynight on the street.
“Clients value this place and are grateful as well,” shares RE:ACT teacher and coach Wendy Fuller. “We thank God that two of our current clients have eaten dinner many times at NightShift. Healing for some began years ago right here.”
For more information or to book an intake appointment, call 604-953-1154 and ask for Wendy.