Meet Our People

Last Door’s multidisciplinary team is certified to work in the addiction field.  Many of our team members are also in recovery themselves, being able to understand what the client’s are actually going through.

Our Staff

David

Executive Director

David

Executive Director

 

David Pavlus is the founder of the Last Door Recovery Society, a New Westminster non-profit organization that has been providing long term residential addiction treatment and adjunct family services for over 30 years.

David is a man who embodies both vision and the will to execute that which he believes in. His approach to all thing is life is equal measures of practicality and common sense. While others are still considering ideas David is well on his way to making his ideas a reality. While it can and has been said that David’s leadership style is unorthodox, the success of Last Door and its clients under his leadership is undeniable.

David has innate charisma tempered with humility and strong will; he is able to readily inspire others to his vision and excite them to action. He is man who is able to stay true to a course of action despite the incessant winds of change. Last Door itself is a reflection of his unusual leadership style. It is program filled with folks who produce excellent results while operating from the heart.

Some of the innovations David has brought forth in his 30 year career are nothing short of phenomenal and have yet to be successfully duplicated. An example is pioneering nicotine abstinence in all Last Door programs in 1998. David’s vision required an entire group of 25 clients and 10 staff the stop smoking and stay stopped, all at the same time. No patches or nicotine substitutes, just a vision and a leader.

In 1997 David opened the Last Door Youth Program for boys ages 14 to 18. Although many have claimed to be the “first and only” youth programs of their kind, Last Door Youth program actually is the first of its kind. David’s belief that youth can be addicted and deserve the support of a community of recovery has set innumerable young men on the path to successful and productive citizenship.

David believes families need to heal. Over the years Last Door’s family service shave grown. There are formal groups and weekend retreats but essentially, family is part of the recovery process from the start. Family members both give and gain support during their loved one’s recovery. Family Day held each year, is a testament to the family work done at Last Door.

David had a vision founded on his own experience that it takes a community to heal addiction. Thirty years later we witness the vibrant and amazing New West Recovery Community. This community is filled with people who believe in and support recovery and owes its underpinnings to David’s ideas and believes and his willingness to put his money where his mouth is. PRIDE floats, Family Days, Sports Days, sun run…these are all integral parts of the community founded on David’s adage that recovery should be and can be fun!

David is a man of action. He believes that people need purpose and dignity. As a result he had a vision for Last Door to offer a rural program to its community members. In 2014 Last door purchased a 40 acre site in mission BC that is now known as Keystone. This is a place of beauty and peace where hands are busy and hearts and sprits are fulfilled.

David believes in the people who work for him. He has trained hundreds of recovering people to work at Last Door and throughout the addiction field. There are Executive directors, Program Directors, outpatient counselors, detox workers and therapists who got their career start under his tutelage. David teaches his staff to strive for excellence and lifelong learning but to also enjoy their work lives and be fully committed to task at hand.

In the larger recovery community David is a sought after speaker. His voice of recovery is strong, clear and unassuming. He moves relentlessly in the direction of the solution and away from the problem. We can all learn a lot from David.

David Pavlus ICADC CCS

Louise

Director of Development & Finance, Addiction Counsellor

Louise

Director of Development & Finance, Addiction Counsellor

I’m the Director of Finance and Development at Last Door and have been here since 1986. David, our ED and also my husband, always believed Last Door could be something great for people in recovery. Despite our very humble beginnings in a rented heritage house at 433 Carnarvon Street, New Westminster David was right.

I have never regretted my decision to be part of Last Door and literally treasure my time served. Obviously,  my favorite part of working here is the people…..the guys, their families and my coworkers.  I read a lot and the Last Door “story” has all the human elements a person would want to experience in their lifetime. There is love in abundance and expressed in many ways from the care taken by the residents towards welcoming the new guy to a Dad reuniting with his lost children. There’s triumph over challenges and self and over the deadly protagonist addiction. There’s acts of incredible compassion and courage committed daily by men who have reclaimed their lives and their dignity by following a path of recovery. There’s, there is comradery and lifelong friendships formed, never ending laughter and great food.

In the 30 plus years I’ve been here I’m proud to say that Last Door has stayed true to its aim to build a community that inspires recovery and one founded on principles of compassion, trust, faith, integrity, diversity, fun and unity. We put a lot of energy into our community because we believe that regaining citizenship is integral to healing from addiction and maintaining recovery. We all do this together and you won’t find a staff team more dedicated than the staff at Last Door Youth and Adult. Hearts and minds on deck at all times. To paraphrase “bring us your tired, your weak and we will help them grow.”

Louise Cooksey ICADC CCS

addiction treatment services

Jared

Acting Executive Director, Addiction Counsellor

Jared

Acting Executive Director, Addiction Counsellor

I came to Last Door in 2007 with feelings of shame and guilt, I felt completely broken as I had just relapsed again. Stagnant in a cycle of failed multiple treatment attempts I was faced with a decision, do I want to be clean and in recovery. At Last Door my first impression was completely different than all the other treatment facilities I had attended. I felt instantly welcomed almost to the point of thinking that it was a staged environment and everyone was actors (I was also in a state of psychosis). I was handed a support network on a platter of like minded friends, that not only showed but thought me how to live with integrity and honesty in recovery. I learnt that to stay clean I would have to stand for something I believed in or fall for anything. I grew up at Last Door and learned how to take responsibility for the harms I had caused throughout my life. I became a son, brother, friend, husband, mentor and most importantly a father.

When people experience addiction or severe life stressors, it is not uncommon for their lives to unravel. My great passion is helping people with healing who have been through the stress of addiction. I help clients, who include your son, father, grandfather and families, to find healthy perceptions of themselves and strengthen their relationships. For families to get healthy they need a sense of purpose and connection which Last Door helps promote. I came to Last Door over a decade ago and never left, I believe that I work where our clients live, not our clients live where I work.

Jared has worked at Last Door Recovery Society for over a decade, beginning as a Client Care Worker, then as an Addictions Counselor and is currently Acting Executive Director and Program Manager for the adult facility. Jared’s diligence and commitment to learning helped him attain Canadian Certified Clinical Supervisor, International Certified Alcohol and Drug Counsellor and Canadian Certified Addiction Counsellor certifications through the CACCF (Canadian Addictions Counsellors Certification Federation) As a result of his excellent service record within the organization Jared is slotted for the Executive Director position in the future.

Jared’s leadership style reflects his respect for others and strong belief in recovery. He represents Last Door well in the community and is always prepared to deal with challenges in a direct manner. Jared is well liked and respected by clients, alumni, staff and Last Door stakeholders and played a management pivotal role in helping Last Door become accredited through Accreditation Canada.

    • Jared Nilsson CCS-AC ICADC CCAC
Jessica Cooksey

Jessica

Operations Manager, Clinical Supervisor, Addiction Counsellor

Jessica

Operations Manager, Clinical Supervisor, Addiction Counsellor

Sharing the experience and possibility of recovery never loses its purpose in my life. When my recovery began in 1995 it was the Door boys that treated me with respect and kindness at twelve step meetings. It was the New Westminster recovery community that encouraged me to stay, that showed me that recovery is possible for anyone, even myself. Last Door Youth Program opened its doors in 1996, I wasn’t even twenty yet. In the past two decades I have fulfilled many job titles at Last Door –  a part-time clerical worker, addictions counsellor, program coordinator and now the Operations Manager – transitioning from floppy discs to clouds. But most importantly I have fulfilled the role of offering hope to families devastated by the consequences of substance use and reducing the stigma we experience for being in recovery from addiction.

  • Jessica Cooksey MA ICADC
Peter Addiction Treatment

Peter

Youth Program Manager, Addiction Counsellor

Peter

Youth Program Manager, Addiction Counsellor

My relationship with Last Door Recovery Society began on December 24, 1990.  At age 19 I was hopelessly defeated and isolated in a world of; uncontrollable substance use, destroyed family relationships, failed dreams, broken trust, a life built on lies, irresponsibility, emotional distress and the compounding consequences of a life driven by addiction.  In sheer desperation I reached out to the Last Door and was welcomed to a place I now call home!

I was a resident at Last Door for approximately 14 months.  During my treatment stay I was treated with compassion, love and for the first time in many years experienced a sense of belonging and purpose in life.  I was taught to laugh, love, and live with integrity, honor and dignity.  I was mentored into the responsibilities of adulthood and encouraged to amend harms I caused others and return to my family with accountability.  I experienced the value and meaning of true friendship, and given a second chance at life.  I completed the program successfully as an alumni, role model, a sponsor, son, brother, and a productive member of my community.   My heart bursting with love and gratitude!

In April 1996 I was blessed with the opportunity for employment with LDRS at Last Door Youth Program.  In the years of service, it has been an honor to share and participate in the many lives of youth and families who have accessed the Last Door Youth Program.  I am inspired by the strength of a love, the joy of freedom, depth of the human heart, the power of a simple hug and the simplicity of Last Door’s principles of recovery.  The Last Door team is family and a constant source of laughter and inspiration  I am honored to share the opportunity to provide hope for families seeking freedom from addiction.

Peter Beka ICADC

addiction doctor

Dr Hedges

Addiction Physican

Dr Hedges

Addiction Physican

Dr. Don Hedges

Since 1990 my medical practice has been devoted primarily to addiction medicine and since 1993 to occupational addiction medicine including independent medical examinations of health professionals, law enforcement officers, lawyers and municipal, provincial and federal employees.  When indicated, I have provided comprehensive treatment protocols, facilitated access to treatment resources and assisted with relapse prevention and relapse management including medical monitoring.  I have provided hundreds expert opinions in addiction medicine and have been recognized as an expert in addiction medicine by the Supreme Court of British Columbia, the British Columbia Court of Appeals, the Human Rights Tribunal and the adjudicators of numerous labour relations hearings.  In 1992 I became the moderator of British Columbia’s first Caduceus group (an aftercare and accountability group for health professionals in recovery).  I am a co-author of Stepping Forward:  Improving Addiction Care in British Columbia, which was adopted in March 2009 by the B. C. Medical Association as its policy statement.  I have delivered many lectures on addiction medicine to peers and professional organizations.  I am a member of the American Society of Addiction Medicine, the International Society of Addiction Medicine and the Canadian Society of Addiction Medicine.

Dr. Hedges is not a direct employee of Last Door, he has an office on the facility, and assess all patients weekly, since some clients stay long term, the medical needs decrease as they stabilize, when medical appointments are needed, clients go to Dr. Hedges office a few blocks from the facility.  This is part of the treatment process, clients learn how to take ownership of their healthcare.

Nick

Program Development Lead, Senior Addiction Counsellor

Nick

Program Development Lead, Senior Addiction Counsellor

It would make a great graphic novel to tell stories of that Good Friday many years ago when my children dragged the remnants of my disease-ravished life from a shooting gallery.  In the past twenty-three years I have listened to many stories of the spiritual awakening that has supported change in the lives of many addicts.  The common strand shared by these people is a growing awareness of the “other” in their lives.  The common theme is, “I owe my life to the fellowship…” On first getting clean there was a growing awareness of the role of listening in long-term recovery.  I had to learn to replace self-sufficiency with inter-dependence.  For most persons in early recovery the difficulty of surrendering, to the group and the group norms, is the last vestige of self that needs to be conquered for long term recovery.

In the course of years, I have had the gift of sitting with and coming along side of many struggling addicts.  In the question of Henri Nouwen, “how can you not look into the eyes of the beggar?” Open your eyes!  Sitting with clients in early recovery, walking with them as they emerge from self-inflicted cocoons and encouraging them as they reconnect to friends and family has blessed me with the restoration of light in their eyes.  That sparkle that speaks of desire and willingness.  Persons in early recovery have benefitted from peer support and clinical guidance.  Over the years I have witnessed thousands of persons seeking and getting freedom from the use of drugs. I have had the privilege of celebrating with clients returning to work, returning to family and returning to selves.

I could get labelled the “old guy”, however that may be a discredit to those who are chronologically challenged.  I could get labelled “dutch”, but that would be a discredit to the more generous traits of my fellow country persons. I could get labelled a father, partner, friend but none of that would capture my greatest achievement.  I am an addict who has learned to live in recovery with abstinence from all drugs.  That has been the gift of recovery to me and that is the gift I freely share with those caught in the grips of using.  There is freedom.

Nick Ringma BA ICADC ICCDP

Matthew

Fund Development & Project Lead, Addiction Counsellor

Matthew

Fund Development & Project Lead, Addiction Counsellor

Matthew Kalenuik ICADC CAPM CCCS CCAC

Connor

Intake Coordinator

Connor

Intake Coordinator

I washed up on the shores of Last Door on a dark and gloomy February morning. I arrived broken, with an overwhelming lack of purpose or direction. My life had taken one negative turn after another, and it seemed like the harder I tried to get back on track, the worst things ended up going. I couldn’t see a good way out of the way I was living, until meeting the people I did through Last Door.

Coming to Last Door gave me the tools to start putting the broken pieces of my life back together. I found a sense of community, purpose, and inspiration for continued personal growth and change. I learned the skills to repair damaged relationships, as well as to foster new and lasting ones. The connections I have developed with people over the past few years have enriched my life in ways I never thought possible. I have incredible friendships, an amazing connection with my family, and deep roots within the recovery community.

After completing residential treatment at Last Door, I was offered a position volunteering at the Last Door Youth Program. I spent that summer volunteering, and feeling inspired by the work I was getting to see take place. Three months into volunteering, I didn’t have a doubt in my mind that I wanted to work for Last Door and continue to get to be a part of the change I was seeing in these young men.

My role at Last Door has shifted over the years, and I now find myself as the Intake Coordinator for the adult facility. I am afforded the opportunity to speak with men and their families on a regular basis, and offer a message of hope and recovery. The change that I have seen take place in myself, other men, and all our families is profound. It just never gets old. Thank you Last Door, and all our volunteers and alumni for making it the incredible place that it is.

Connor Gotowiec

Jason

Adult Program Coordinator, Addiction Counsellor

Jason

Adult Program Coordinator, Addiction Counsellor

I came from a loving family, even though my parents divorced when I was young they always made sure I wanted for nothing and I was loved and cared for.  Eventually I acquired a step-father and then came two younger brothers who I loved and was admired by.  This was not the reason for my addiction.  Even with all the support and guidance that I grew up with I always felt different.  I lived with insecurity and anxiety all my life, I never quite fit in and I always tried to blend with the cool crowd. I was drawn to a lifestyle of juvenile delinquency because it won me the approval and acceptance of older peers who I looked up to.  This eventually led to substance use and when that began I thought I had found the solution to everything that was wrong with me from my shy, meek demeanor, to feeling courageous, bold and confident while under the influence. Fast forward to years later when substance use & isolation had torn apart every positive part of my life, I was left bouncing from couch to couch and eventually from street life to correctional facilities.

After I had burnt every bridge and tapped every resource I had at my disposal, I sought help at the Last Door.  Even though I was convinced that my life could never be the same, that treatment wouldn’t work and that I would be destined to suffer in addiction or behind bars.  I found within a community of recovering people that there may be a solution after all. I found that when I stopped trying to be someone else that people loved me, I found that when I took responsibility for my life and my actions I developed self-esteem, and I found that when I started living for others instead of just myself I began to reap the rewards of what recovery had to offer.  Most of all I found happiness, contentment in being a part of something worthwhile for the first time since I started to push away from everyone who cared about me. I developed a bond with people who would grow to be my new family and  a new part of the family who had always been there.

After treatment I decided to stick around and volunteer cooking meals for the clients until someone decided I should do that full time.  I was privileged enough to be hired as the first paid chef in Last Door’s history. I continued this position while pursuing my education in addiction counselling and when I completed my certification I moved into a support staff role and eventually into counselling.  I love what I’m doing and I am honored to be part of the team that was instrumental in not only saving my life but showing me a new way to live.  It is fulfilling to get to help other young men find what might be the start of a whole new life, as sons, brothers, partners, and fathers with something to live for.  I found a solution to everything I thought was never possible, all through my connection to Last Door.

Jason Maier ICADC

Vincent

Medical Care Coordinator, Addiction Counsellor

Vincent

Medical Care Coordinator, Addiction Counsellor

Vincent Chua ICADC

Alex

Addiction Counsellor

Alex

Addiction Counsellor

I have been involved with the Last Door for over five years.  Our atmosphere naturally promotes community and recovery and it is challenging to put into words unless you’ve experienced it.  I spent the fall/winter of 2012 doing informal transition here and volunteering.  I was friends with some of the staff so it was easy to be inspired to want to work here.  I have learned not to treat my work as my recovery.  However, working here in addition to active involvement in recovery makes life very fulfilling.  I look forward to coming to work everyday and being here validates the saying of “find a job that you love and you will never have to work another day”.  I had heard variations of that expression throughout my life though I never believed it would be true for me.

Evidence is the most powerful influence we develop here.  Witnessing people develop a sense of purpose and direction, while they reciprocate that enthusiasm to their peers, is an incomparable phenomenon to be involved in.  I completed some of my post-secondary education while working here and the way I was able to relate my vocational experience to my academic life was invaluable.  Watching how our alumni remain involved in our program further breeds the enthusiasm that our clients find in the early days.  I get inspired everyday in so many ways that encourage me to remain highly involved in community activities, volunteering opportunities, and participation in recovery.  Most importantly though, I’m influenced to continue being a positive role model for the people that we help develop into members of a purposeful community.  Our staff team is my second family and our common goals here help us nurture a therapeutic environment that must be witnessed in order to be fully appreciated.

Alex Otero Ordonez BA ICADC

Gord

Addiction Counsellor

Gord

Addiction Counsellor

My name is Gordon Flynn Edmondson and I am an Addiction Counsellor (CCAC) at the Last Door. I have worked at the facility since September 2015 and I am proud to call myself a Door Boy! The first thing I noticed that drew me into the energy of the last door was the culture. The staff and volunteer’s that pride themselves on setting this culture are what sets The Last Door apart from the rest. This culture is the reason I choose to continue to build a career here.

My favorite part of the last door is the mantra of what it means to be a door boy. It’s the idea that a person can strive beyond what their ability has allowed them to achieve in the past. It’s the idea that in a moment where there is no hope or the ability to save ones self, that a helping hand is always there. It’s the idea that every single person, no matter what the circumstances, should have access to quality treatment. It’s the idea that in any moment, every single person has the ability to celebrate rather than suffer. It’s the idea that every single child be granted the birth right to have two clean loving parents. And above all, its the idea that every single woman be treated with the upmost respect and dignity that they deserve.

Since working here at The Last Door, I have witnessed families get their son’s, brother’s, father’s and grandfather’s back. I have witnessed miracles, as well I have experienced great loss. I have witnessed people laugh and I have witnessed people cry. Through it all, one thing that stays true, people are continuing to recover from the grips of active addiction and finding new better ways to live life. There is a saying “if you love what you do, you never have to work a day in your life”. I stopped working September 1st 2015.

Gord Edmondson CCAC

Colin

Client Care Support Worker

Colin

Client Care Support Worker

I was raised by my grandparents in Toronto Ontario, several of my family members including my mother and father had a history of substance misuse. I had a good upbringing, my grandparents were both hard working with strong family values. I did well in school getting good grades, participating in the social functions and after school activities. There was no deciding factor or trauma indicating substance misuse would run the course of my life other than my family members whom were already addicted. At the age of twelve it was if a switched had been flipped, my grandparents were blindsided with the apparent behaviors now indicative of my new lifestyle. They tried everything in their scope to disrupt the obsession and compulsion to use drugs. They moved five thousand miles in the hopes a change in everything would be the answer. However, I was still in the equation and hadn’t addressed my drug problem amongst the fortitude of behaviors which were present and helped me acquire the substances I so desired that were literally killing me.

That way of living continued until I had no one left in my corner anymore. Years of jail, family refusing any contact, homeless, several medical complications, financial debt, lost jobs, damaged relationships, lost opportunities and the demoralizing feeling that I was dead inside. I began to think they’re better off without me (family.) Sort of like “once and addict always an addict.” At that time I met a Doctor whom said I know how to help you. I ended up being given, after a three month duration 120mgs of methadone and a handful of medications to take with my daily dose. I was told this would be short term that I would get my life back in my hands. They would stabilize me, get me connected with my family, I would return to work and be a productive member of society. This lasted for ten years, I remember sitting in the Doctor’s office with my friend the Doctor reassured me “this is my life just accept it.”

As you can see addiction, using and that lifestyle wasn’t a good time for me. The party as some might describe it had ended long ago and I was the only one left in the room. But “my party,” ended when someone took the time for me and said how would you like to get clean? Not really understanding what clean meant I asked a few questions. I was met with the same answers as before. They would help detox me, connect me with my family, be a productive member of society. I could take responsibility for my financial debt, find a job, work on my damaged relationships, never lose an opportunity again and disrupt the patterns of living in which continued to bring me back to using.

As this man began to explain this process to me he began to point several people whom had made that choice that I was about to make. Several people whom could tell you how good it was to be alive again, those same people’s family members could tell how amazing it is to have their son back in their life. I had done treatment twenty plus times but never really done treatment. I expected the change to occur with me standing on the outside never really putting my hands on or in what needed to be different. I took that man’s suggestion and entered last door Jan 2, 2011 and am still clean. For the first time in my life I actually did treatment and participated in my recovery. If you were to ask my family that same question today that I asked those individuals when I was thinking about getting clean. They would tell you the same, we finally have our son back.

As a result of coming here and listening to my peers and being active in my personal recovery. I’m seven years clean, a great father, partner, friend, co-worker. I have a new life, a life worth living. I would like to tell you, the Doctor and anyone else who made read this bio one thing. I will not accept my life as you told me it would be and you shouldn’t either. I will live and enjoy life to the fullest like I was shown as its possible. People get clean and stay clean if they choose.

Colin Ramsay

Ryan

Addiction Counellor

Ryan

Addiction Counellor

I grew up comparing my personality, materialistic belongings and family to my peers. This constant habit left me with a longing to be someone else, somewhere else. When I found substances, it relieved me of this constant earning, I thought I found the solution. This quickly became a problem as I relied on the substance to relieve my inner pain and struggles, quickly I started to put substances before everything in my life, dropping my morals, values, friends and family, becoming physically and mentally dependent on substances. This lead to consequences such as loss of friends, family and being hospitalized on many occasions.

I had no idea how drastically my life would be changed when I arrived at the Last Door. Their peer support model mixed with twelve step programming allowed me the opportunity to develop self-worth through written work and becoming vulnerable with my peer group. I was encouraged by the staff that the Last Door was my home, this gave me a sense of belonging and purpose. As I started to develop self-esteem, the clients before me taught me how to pass this onto the next group. Last Door offered a family group in which my mother and siblings got to participate in. This process brought my family together and I am extremely grateful for this.

I left the Last door and moved into the community. I participated in alumni group weekly and would stop by the facility weekly. After spending my first year in recovery as an electrical apprentice I decided to volunteer at the Last Door. Having the opportunity to encourage people to create change in their life filled me with a sense of purpose.  After three months of volunteering I realized this was something I wanted to do as a career. The door helped me attend school, and complete my addiction counselling certificate. I started as a support worker at our youth facility where I learned the basics to this profession. I moved to our adult facility after a year employment where I took on a case management position. I co-facilitate group process during the week, and have the honour of co-facilitating our family group on Wednesday nights, the same group which began the healing process for my family. I feel blessed to work in an environment that is dedicated to helping others. I went from living in a nightmare to fulfilling my dreams, and I couldn’t  have done it with out the Last Door.

Ryan Gilfillan ICADC

Jeff

Client Care Support Worker

Jeff

Client Care Support Worker

I arrived at the Last door from Kamloops BC, broken, defeated looking for a new way to live. I’ve tried many times to stop using by going to different facilities however, I never applied myself or participated in others recovery. I arrived August 5th 2016 and never left. My peer group at Last Door saved my life and showed me how to be a responsible and productive member of society. Today I am happy and have purpose, giving back and helping others is my main mission in life.

I volunteered for three months until getting hired on February 11 2017. Last Door presents the opportunity to stay connected through helping others in their struggles I get the gift. I continue to work at the Last Door because I’m blessed in my life, for that reason I can put all my energy into helping others.

I am currently a support worker and working towards becoming an addictions counsellor. I am attending VCC and working on my addiction counselling skills program. My goal is to get my international certification for alcohol and drug counselling along with Canadian certified addiction counsellor certificate. With that I would like to have a case load and provide my Clients with the best support and help possible.

My favorite part at the last door is working with the clients and being able to get to know all of them on intimate level. I enjoy talking, listening and encouraging them all to fulfill their lives. I am honored to give my all to the clients and see them complete the program and then they are able to go home, back to work, back to their family’s etc.

Jeff Emsland

Kirk

Client Care Support Worker

Kirk

Client Care Support Worker

In looking for a new direction in a career I wanted to something that served two purposes. Firstly I wanted to work with people and help them recovery from addiction. Secondly I was looking feel fulfilled on a personal level. At the Last Door I was able to meet both of these desires. Prior to working here I was a client and was able to experience firsthand the amazing work that is going on and I knew this was the place for me. After being a client I volunteered for 5 months and then was hired on full time. I have worked at the Last Door for 3 months as a peer support worker and the greatest joy comes from watching the guys get their lives back. In addition to working here I am involved in the various events we support as a volunteer. This year volunteer work will involve Recovery Capital Conference, Family Day, Clean Sober Proud and Recovery. I simply love what I do.

Kirk Buxton

Wojciech

Client Care Support Worker

Wojciech

Client Care Support Worker

Wojciech Bocko

Ian

Addiction Counsellor

Ian

Addiction Counsellor

I was lost in addiction without hope and purpose. I showed up at the Last Door defeated and miserable. Throughout my journey at the Last Door and in recovery I began to feel connection to other people that influenced me to pursue new perspectives on life. I then had opportunities to become a role model to others and be a good son, brother and partner.

Ever since I was very young I always wanted to help others as I looked up to all the counsellors and mentors I had throughout my life. I always wanted to work with youth because when I was young I felt like I did not get enough information to understand my thoughts and feelings. I wanted to help others not feel the same as I did. When given the opportunity of working with youth at Last Door Youth Program i was excited and honoured. Working for Last Door Youth Program has been so much fun with amazing staff, friends and being able to watch clients grown up in recovery becoming responsible members of their families as well as people that can be counted on in so many ways. I love being part of the solution and seeing the smiles on my clients families faces.

Ian Dodd CCAC

Mike

Addiction Counsellor

Mike

Addiction Counsellor

When I first arrived at the Last Door, I had preconceptions and illusions about what addiction, recovery and treatment looks like. My only experience with treatment and recovery was watching the episode of Breaking Bad where Jessie is in a smokie church basement where everyone is talking about the worst thing that ever happened to them. I had been living in addiction for years, but living in denial about my problem. Those preconceptions were quickly shattered after my program viewing and intake at the Last Door on February 18th, 2013. I found it to be a warm, exciting environment and full of people who wanted to be my friend. My best thinking that I was not an addict, that I didn’t belong in a place like this and that I didn’t deserve to live a drug-free, happy life like everyone else was talking about. I would tell myself “There’s no way that someone who only smokes weed needs to go to rehab!” In spite of all my best thinking, my friends and the counsellors at the Last Door believed in me that I would find my purpose, and for that I am eternally grateful.

It took me a few months in treatment to start to find my place and a sense of purpose but I eventually got there. I had a shift in my personal definition of addiction, where I thought of it as a negative stigma. I gained a sense of understanding and freedom accepting that I was an addict. I also began to build hope that my life would get better through working recovery, already seeing improvements in my health, my relationships and my self-esteem. I started getting to the point where new guys were coming to treatment and I got to be a role model and help inspire guys who were going through the same self-doubt that I had worked through. It was a powerful lesson to learn that it felt really good to help others.

When the opportunity to volunteer at the Youth Program arose I was filled with those same self doubts I had when I was new. I thought “I am such an anti-social person, I could never work in a place where the job is to talk to people.” In recovery I learned the importance of the spiritual principles of open-mindedness and willingness, and I knew I should at least give it a shot. I quickly discovered that working with the youths was and a lot of fun and it was inspiring to see them do recovery. Volunteering turned into a support worker role, which eventually turned into an addictions counselling. Working at the youth door has been a blessing in my life. It has been an honour to witness these young guys turn their lives around and get their families back in your life. It is a fun, challenging and always interesting job where there are opportunities to learn something new everyday. I mean, what other job could I get paid to play paintball and get to shoot my boss!

Mike McCaig CCAC

Stu

Addiction Counsellor

Stu

Addiction Counsellor

December 19, 2012, I started my journey at Last Door.  After years of feeling defeated with substance use and relapse, I felt like I finally had enough.  I was intaked that day into a group of peers that showed me what it meant to live with integrity, love and compassion.  They showed me how to have fun in recovery and how to be the son and brother I never could.  I remember a day in treatment where I was out on an adventure with a few alumni and my sponsor downhill mountain biking. We were at the top of Whistler sharing funny stories and having laughers at the jumps and bails we had on the last run.  I took that moment to reflect that for the first time in a long time I was content and happy with where my life was.  I was not struggling to stay clean, not in conflict with my family or self and was not worried about where I was going in life.  I was living in the moment and loving everyday.

After finishing primary treatment, I was given the opportunity to volunteer for the summer at The Last Door Youth Program.  I was informed that there was not a job opening anytime soon but that I could take the summer to give back and participate with the guys at the Youth Door.  That summer was filled with laughers, adventures and a group of youth sharing their recovery experience with me.  A few months into volunteering a position opened as a support worker and the next phase of my journey with Last Door began.   Since being hired on August 26, 2013, I have been given an opportunity at an amazing career.  I have had the privilege of being able to work with and support countless youth and their families with finding recovery.  There have been years of events, gratitude letters, new guys, family visits, groups, cake celebrations, laughers and so much more that has made journey from a support worker to certified addiction counselor at the Last Door Youth Program amazing.  Thank you Last Door.

Stu Barrington-Foote CCAC

Thomas

Client Care Support Worker

Andrew

Client Care Support Worker

Andrew

Client Care Support Worker

The reason why I work at the LastDoor is easy growing up i have always wanted to help people in some way. After finishing up treatment at the Door I knew I didn’t want to do anything else, being able to relate and help out fellow people that were dealing with the same thing I have to deal with it was easy to accept the job.

After finishing primary care at the Door I was given then chance to volunteer for 3 months. Once that volunteer period was over I was offered a full time job and at the end of May it will be a year since i was hired.

My position at the Door is a support worker, I work Saturday Sunday 4-midnight and then Monday Tuesday 9pm-9am. My job is to be there for the guys and help them deal with any feelings or problems they may bring forward. Also help them understand the Step work and the NA literature better.

My favorite part of the Door is he connections that people make there. When I got to the Door I was broken and didn’t trust anyone. Now working there and seeing the guys getting support groups and there families back is a amazing thing to see.

Andrew Nordel

I have volunteered and the reason why is because I’m giving back to the place and the community that saved my life. It makes me feel thankful that I choose to come here from Saskatchewan and stay here and be part of the Door family.

Andrew Nordel

Giuseppe

Director of Community Development

Giuseppe

Director of Community Development

Giuseppe Ganci is an experienced event planner, communications, and business development specialist.

Since 2009, Giuseppe works tirelessly as the Director of Community Development for Last Door Recovery Society.   Giuseppe delivers sustainable brand authority for Last Door as one of Canada’s premier treatment addiction treatment programs. Along with his expertise in branding, he organizes recovery events that have impacted Last Door’s clients and stakeholders, and the community at large. His calendar of yearly events includes exhibiting at several Canadian addiction recovery conferences and organizing community events such as Family Fun Day, Recovery Sports Day, Recovery Day BC, the Recovery Capital Conference of Canada, and a weekly radio show.

Giuseppe is Committee Chairperson for Clean Sober and Proud, an official Vancouver Pride event. What started out as a small entry in the Vancouver Pride Parade in 2008, has turned into one of the world’s largest outdoor recovery street festivals called “Untoxicated” bringing talent from across North America to the West End in a sober space.

Giuseppe served on the first Canadian Recovery Day Committee in 2011 and is now Chairman of the Board of the Recovery Day Society. In 2016, with Giuseppe at the helm, Recovery Day turned into a street festival with over 4,000 people attending, 2018 the festival should attract 20,000 people to Uptown New Westminster, making this the largest mental health and addiction recovery event in Canada.

Giuseppe’s passion to keep people connected motivated him to find a solution to use smart phone technology to help newcomers leaving treatment. As a result, he created the Unity App, a geographic location relapse prevention addiction recovery app for smart phones. Its social media, recovery help and a communication tool all one.  Speaking on technology and health care, Giuseppe was the brains behind creating a CRM for Last Door, now that Last Door has been using this Electro0nic Health Care Recording System for over 5 years, Giuseppe plans on licensing the software under a new name called C-Cloud CRM.

Giuseppe finds time in his schedule to co-host and produce a bi weekly live radio show called Talk Recovery on 100.5 fm, coming up to its 5th Season on Co Op Radio interviewing guests from across North America to discuss the many paths to recovery.

Giuseppe volunteers as a lead Chair for Canada’s largest New Year’s Eve Recovery Festival for the past 8 years, and continues to look forward to this event annually. 2018 this event will be held in New Westminster.

Giuseppe is also lead chair for the Recovery Capital Conference of Canada an annual conference that sees 650 health care professionals attend. Leading the change in care for mental health and addiction, the Recovery Capital Conference of Canada features leading international researchers, clinicians, and policymakers who will provide evidence-based clinical knowledge gained through decades of care. Also held in New Westminster.

Giuseppe’s mission is to keep the recovery conversation public and at the forefront on social media platforms, so a wider audience sees the message that recovery is not only works but is fun, interesting and practical.

His latest project is a new documentary on the Portugal model, and Giuseppe continues to be a loud voice for recovery, and advocating for a National Recovery Strategy.

Giuseppe Ganci

Jordan

Community Development Assistant

Jordan

Community Development Assistant

After seeking help from the Last Door Youth Program when I was 18 years old I was shown a new way of life and never looked back. Life is recovery was attractive to me and I was told that it would better by relationship with my family which at the time was falling into pieces. But today looks very different as my brother and my dad are my two best friends. Being clean life is so simple and easy, I never thought I could achieve the things I have achieved being clean.

I am fortunate enough to have learned two different positions at the Last Door. As I was hired in April of 2017 we had a very busy summer coming up putting on our first and now annual Recovery Capital Conference, and our annual Family Day, Sports Day, Recovery Day, Pride float and Untoxicated Festival, and all the outreach booths we are at every summer I was appointed Community Development Assistant. Doing that position I learned so much and mainly showing people that it is possible to have fun in recovery.

I love the Last Door and the Recovery Community in New Westminster, 12 step meetings, events and connection is the key to me staying a part of all of this.

Jordan Bowman

Gail

Partner's Group Facilitator

Gail

Partner's Group Facilitator

Gail Faure Partner’s Group Facilitator

David

Executive Chef

Addiction Treatment

Niko

Client Care Support Worker

Niko

Client Care Support Worker

Nickiforos Machado

Board of Directors

Aman Sanghera

PRESIDENT

Aman Sanghera

PRESIDENT

I have served on the Board of Directors for some years now; the last few being as President of the Board. We have a mix of Directors from all walks of life and who bring with them some exceptional talent and diversity.

It is both an honour and yet also humbling to be a part of something that brings men “back to life” and that allows them to become sons, husbands, fathers and brothers again.

Addiction robs our clients, their families and our society of all they have to offer. The recovering addict could be in our home, at our workplace, at the mechanic shop or at the doctor’s office.

At Last Door we work with a therapeutic community based model. We are located in a neighbourhood that welcomes what we do since we abide unfailingly by our motto of “Dignity, Integrity & Morality”. The clients, the staff, management and Directors are all guided by these three words in terms of all we strive to do.

When people come to Last Door, either as clients or visitors, they can see the positivity. They feel the warmth and the energy that flows through all involved in the recovery process …and it is this that keeps me “hooked” on being a part of the process year after year. Families can feel secure in knowing that their loved one can get better here.

At Last Door our clients can get a new lease on life that they could never have imagined when they arrived. As the saying goes, “Ability is sometimes only limited by willingness”.

I have made it a habit, albeit a good one, to drop by the Door often. I will see clients supporting one another, families coming to visit, clients playing with or holding their children and staff really enjoying what they do. Simply put, I see a genuine commitment by all involved to effect change on a daily, unwavering basis …day in and day out.

Now, who could resist being part of something like that?

addiciton rehab services

Haneef Esmail

VICE PRESIDENT

Gary George

TREASURER

Gary George

TREASURER

I have been proud to sit on the Board since 2006 and have been the Treasurer of the Board for the last five years. I came to know and experience firsthand the wonderful work of the Last Door when one of my children became a resident at the Youth Door program. My favorite part of the Last Door is watching families rebuild and reconnect as their family member rediscoveries themselves through the recovery program. Seeing the love and support within a family blossom again never grows old.

With my background being in finance what I try to bring to the Board is focus on LDRS as a business and its long term financial strength, corporate governance, succession planning and strategic planning.  We have an amazing team of dedicated employees and I enjoy working with them as they continually build upon their personal skill sets and education. One of my favorite annual volunteer functions is being the treasurer of the Clean and Sober Dance at the Vancouver Pride celebration.  One of the best events at Pride and so much fun.

Dave Seymour

MEMBER

Dave Seymour

MEMBER

My name is Dave Seymour and I am an addict.  I went through the Last Door in 1995 and stayed for about 4 months, leaving before finishing their program.  It didn’t take long and I was loaded again and it took me 10 years to get back into recovery.  I came back to New West because I knew that something special was going on there and I knew that I had to have it.  I showed up to The Last Door for a visit and asked if I could hang out, but Dave immediately told me to go to meetings and hook in there.  I left a little heartbroken, but I took his suggestion and started building a support group, got a sponsor and started working the steps.  When I came up to my 1 year clean date, Dave invited me to group at the Last Door. He gave me a letter that I wrote to myself and I was to read it on my 1 year clean.  Problem is, it took me 10 years to get 1 year clean.  I balled my eyes out. Everything I dreamed of having at 1 year clean, I now had.

Almost 14 years later, I still have it. I have been on the Board of Directors for about 5 years now and I am so grateful to be a part of this program and a part of the team that keeps it going.  I do this because I learned that you can’t keep what you have unless you give it away. The Last Door is my home and I will always have a bed there.  “To be a part of” and “feel a part of” is the biggest gift I have received in my recovery.  Thank you to the Last Door and all who have been a part of it.

Dennis George

MEMBER

Dennis George

MEMBER

I showed up at Last Door a drug addicted, broken, lost man Nov. 18th 2004, there was an energy there I had never experienced anywhere else. I needed abstinent based recovery. Within 30 days I felt alive and started to reconnected with my family. I stayed for 5 months in treatment and have remained to this day, very involved with sponsoring the new guys and volunteering in many areas. I feel a debt of gratitude to Last Door I could never repay.  I was honoured about 10 years ago when I was asked to be a  Board Member. Thank you Last Door for my amazing life.

Dennis George

Jennifer Lowrey

MEMBER

Jennifer Lowrey

MEMBER

I feel honoured to be part of the Last Door and to be part of a very dedicated, supportive Board-    Each member brings their own individual strengths and experiences to the Board.  At every meeting there is lots of learning and laughs.

My favorite part of the Last Door is not only that it supports families but the way in which it supports families, all families, as defined by the clients.  There is a place for everyone to belong, feel connected and become part of something at the Last Door.

Apart from being a member of the board I have volunteered my time at Last Door in various ways over the years by supporting various events.  I love feeling part of and being able to give back to my communities. I also volunteer my time at a non-profit that supports moms and families living poverty and this past year I coached a youth soccer team. Over the years I have been given so much; having the opportunity to share that and hopefully have a positive impact on others is very meaningful. Others did beforehand for me and I feel privileged to be able to give back and contribute in small ways.

Jim Bennett

Member

Dr. Robert Toews

MEMBER

Rob Hurst

MEMBER

Todd Ware

Todd Ware

Member

Scott Lang

MEMBER

Graham Tippett

MEMBER

Get in touch today or call our recovery helpline

1-888-525-9771 ( Helpline 7AM to 11PM )