Our Program of Recovery

At Serenity House, one of the strengths of our program is our ability to provide long-term treatment for addiction to drugs, alcohol and tobacco while working with each client on other determinants of health specific to each individual.  Since addiction affects the whole person, we have found that a holistic approach to treatment benefits the client most.  All aspects of the person's needs are considered as a whole, including psychological, physical, social and spiritual.   This holds true, no matter what the complex needs of those who come to Serenity House: psychiatric disorders, homelessness, cultural- specific issues, educational restrictions, financial and health challenges, pharmacological complications and trauma. We firmly believe that positive and lasting life changes are possible for all; we have witnessed transformation in the lives of so many men who have come through our doors since 1969.  Our programs are constantly evolving, hand in hand with the research that shows that people with severe addictions can always have the hope of healing and of  long--term recovery for a balanced, happier life.

Our program is designed to offer life-affirming support while gently guiding the client towards goals that he has identified as important to him.  In a safe, drug-free environment, the men begin to experience an orderly pattern of daily living and begin to see the direction they wish to take for a life that will eventually bring them peace and joy.  The learning occurs alongside others who have suffered similar challenges and they are thus able to connect at a deep emotional level, building trust  and forging relationships that help them develop a strong sense of community.  Reducing the sense of separation for the client, while increasing the sense of  belonging and worth is of utmost importance and often determines long-term success.

Clients are often tested for psychiatric disorders, and while we do not make a formal diagnosis, we do forward the results to our consulting physician.

Our integrated approach includes:

  • treatment planning
  • educational sessions
  • relapse prevention
  • group counselling
  • individual counselling
  • harm reduction
  • lifeskills
  • discharge planning
  • education about community resources
  • transitional housing
  • continuing care counseling

Phase One

The focus of Phase One of our program is centered on orientation and education. The first five weeks include: 

  • health in early recovery
  • effective communication
  • assertiveness
  • attitudes and communication styles
  • bio-psycho-social model of addiction
  • working with faulty belief systems
  • process addictions and compulsions
  • emotion regulation
  • anger management
  • mindfulness
  • balanced living
  • relationships

Phase Two

The focus of Phase Two of our program is centered on relapse prevention. the next five weeks include: 

  • trauma
  • stages of change
  • family of origin
  • assertive refusal skills
  • men in recovery
  • coping with cravings and triggers
  • managing persistent psychological problems
  • identifying relapse warning signs
  • changing self defeating thoughts/behaviors
  • "ABC" problem solving
  • cognitive distortions
  • self sabotaging
  • recovery goals
  • other addictions (gambling, eating disorder, co-dependency,etc)
  • community referrals



The discharge phase includes a planning guide which contains numerous tools tailored to each individual in order to optimize his chances of reaching his stated goals.  This will also help him to quickly recognize signs that might jeopardize his recovery so that he may take preventative measures to avert relapse.

Many of our graduates decide to live at one of our transitional housing locations.  This helps them to put into practice all of the tools learned while in treatment. They are also encouraged to attend our weekly  aftercare sessions.