New local foundation aims to help addicts

By Jessie Weisner
June 24, 2019 - 3:56pm Updated: June 25, 2019 - 8:23am

MEDICINE HAT, AB -- A new non-profit organization has started up in Medicine Hat, aiming to give local addicts a chance to get clean and recover.

Addicts Lending Our Time (ALOT) was started by Mike Gowanlock, a recovering addict.

“I’m a recovering addict, I’ve been sober since October,” says Gowanlock. “I know how it is to suffer, it’s a never-ending battle, it’s really hard to get out and I feel an addict will help an addict sooner than somebody who has no life experience in it.”

Gowanlock has been doing well since October, even getting 50 per cent custody of his children. One month ago, he decided to go forward with ALOT, with help of co-founder Pat Frankenfield.

“My goal is to help people get sober, and learn how to live sober and reintegrate into society,” he says.

ALOT hosts weekly meetings every Thursday at 6pm at Mayfair Manor in room 0104. During the meetings, people in attendance can connect, and brainstorm about ways to help addicts.

“It’s a great environment to get to know people and get comfortable and meet people who understand and respect and care and love for you and just grow,” he says. “The meeting is just to come up with future ideas, plans and goals for the next week.”

In addition to the meetings, they host community clean-ups, allowing local recovering addicts to feel some purpose in their lives.

“We do community clean up, walk around and clean up the streets, either by peer request or just voluntarily on our own. We could come to venues, say you’re having a party at the park, we’d come pick up garbage, help the community stay clean and help the addict feel like he has purpose.”

In the future, Gowanlock hopes to expand into a facility where vulnerable people can sleep, shower, do laundry, and learn new life skills.

“We’d like to be recognized in the courts as a diversion program for youth who have been charged with drug possession or any other drug charges.” he says. “We’d like to have a safe house down in the flats, a drop in centre of addicts or homeless to come in, we’d have a games room, shower, an education room, a lounge. Teach them life skills, living skills, give them an opportunity to do their laundry so they look good and presentable for job interviews.”

The group has also launched a GoFundMe page, with a goal of $300 to purchase custom volunteer shirts, and cleaning materials.

Contact the group’s Facebook page to get involved.

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