Bob beat addiction and homelessness and is now studying to help others like him

After kicking a decades-long drug habit, Bob found a home with compassionate counsellors who broke through his walls. Now he’s studying to help give others the same fresh start.

Bob spent 21 years on Main and Hastings in Vancouver, wading through the sludge of drugs, prostitution and poverty that envelops that notorious street corner. Wrestling with addiction, he lived and worked in scrappy hotels that rented rooms by the hour, never staying in one place for long. He was constantly in trouble with the police — when he wasn’t in a hotel room or on the streets, he was often in prison.

After years of drug use, Bob successfully completed a recovery program and moved to Calgary. But a lifetime of addiction had changed him — he hadn’t experienced compassion or sympathy in a long, long time and he had developed a sense of detachment.

Bob arrived at The Mustard Seed and found that the staff’s genuine interest in him helped to restore his connection with others. “Through their compassion towards me, I learned how to be compassionate towards others,” he says. “They’ve showed me community and given me the stability of a home life I haven’t had in two decades. They’ve empowered me and now I’m doing things I never thought I would do.”

Bob is now committed to helping others overcome their addictions. He helped create a six-month addictions program, as well as other programs to help those struggling with isolation and anti-social tendencies, which are being adapted to run in The Mustard Seed’s 1010 Centre. “I’ve never facilitated anything before in my life,” he says proudly. “It’s been amazing.”

Bob hopes to complete social work and addictions courses to become a Mustard Seed counsellor. “Affordable housing offers life,” he says. “Change…and life.”

They’ve showed me community and given me the stability of a home life I haven’t had in two decades.