The Indigenous Recovery Coach Program was started in 2018 as a response to help those in the Indigenous community who have struggled with addiction. Some of that help includes traditional healing practices. The recovery centre supports those who are battling opioid addictions. The new Program Director of the Recovery Coach Program, Germain Wells, says the goal is not for harm reduction, but for solid recovery.
“We are Indigenous recovery coaches, from methamphetamine, to opioid addiction. Our coaches provide wraparound supports to our clients. Whether that’s peer support groups, advocating to other organizations, and offering the cultural component to elders, and teachings,” adds Wells.
The program recently began a partnership with the Blood Tribe Opioid Task Force, in response to the opioid crisis facing the Blood Tribe, “We’ve lost more people to opioid overdoses during this time of COVID-19, than the actual virus,” says Wells.
The goal for the program is recovery, not harm reduction, “We are covering all stages of recovery. First stage we aren’t equipped to provide the harm reduction services, so we do referral out to those organizations within Lethbridge that are providing those services. We work on referrals both ways. Relapse is a part of recovery, and in the event that a relapse happens, we’re able to support our clients to move them to the services they need when it comes to harm reduction. Then they’re able to refer them back to us when they’re in the later stages of recovery,” notes Wells.
Wells says she’s had a lot of good reaction from her own personal friends who have been recovering from addiction, which has also helped her foster relationships in the community, “It’s helped me with my own connection with the Opioid Task Force, and the Blood Tribe. That connection was made just because of a post I made on social media.”
Loss is a major part of why Wells does the job, “I’ve lost more people than I can count. Friends, family, and relatives. I also have those same people that I’m working with out in the community as well. That hits me in the heart. We all grew up together, and we all came from the same place. We just share different traumas. I hope to help people who are struggling in recovery to really grasp that it’s possible,” says Wells.
All of the staff from the program are Indigenous.
To find out more about the Indigenous Recovery Coach Program, you can visit @LethIRC on Facebook.