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A year of changing lives for the better

Brad Houghton has been sober 14 years, and now he's helping others conquer their addictions.
February 27, 2014 - 12:12 PM


VERNON - One year, and many life changing moments later, a men’s recovery home is celebrating its first anniversary.

Bill’s Place admitted its first resident last March and in the past year has seen more than 40 men come through its doors. It was a gap waiting to be filled for a long time in the community. Program manager Brad Houghton says the unique residential-style facility and group atmosphere is changing lives.

“I see guys come into the program broken, hurting and lost. Over the course of their time with us, I get to see the miracle happen,” Houghton says.

One story in particular shows how transformative Bill’s Place is for its clients.

One resident has gone from an attempt to kill himself, to being helpful, healthy and happy. He shops for food and cooks meals at the house. Just seven months ago on a dark night in Polson Park he had a rope looped around a tree, and around his neck. The branch snapped, and he lived. A stop at Vernon Jubilee Hospital connected him with Bill’s Place.

“He’s doing great,” Houghton says. “He hadn’t talked to his family in probably ten years. Now, he calls them every week, let’s them know how he’s doing. That’s just one story.”

Feedback forms filled out by clients after their stay at Bill’s Place tell similar stories. Men describe learning about themselves and confronting their addictions. Sharing their tales and feeling uplifted. They look forward to becoming better husbands, fathers and employees.

“I wish I had opened up when I was younger. My mother would be proud of who I am today,” one man wrote.

Men are going back to school, volunteering in the community, and learning to read.

“Suddenly they’re not a burden to society. They’re a value to the community,” Houghton says.

He understands how tough it can be to face addiction. He knows where these men are, because he was there 14 years ago. He had a white collar job, a family and friends. He didn’t want to inconvenience anyone with his problems.

“Addiction affects people all around you. It affects children, marriage, work—it affects everything,” Houghton says. “But recovery affects everything the same way. That’s what gives me hope.”

One thing that frustrates him today is society’s perception of addiction.

“There’s a big push to recognize it as an illness. If we were a cancer treatment facility, it would be a different scenario,” he says.

Bill’s Place receives no government funding, relying primarily on donations from the public. Residents must pay their own way through the program, however no one is turned away.

Donations can be made by mailing a cheque to the John Howard Society at: 2307 43rd Street, Vernon, B.C. VIT 6K7 or online by visiting their website.

To contact the reporter for this story, email Charlotte Helston at, call (250)309-5230 or tweet @charhelston.

News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2014
InfoTel News Ltd

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