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Home » Drug and Alcohol Rehabilitation, History, homelessness, Programs

Bell Shelter residents win medals in recovery Olympics

Submitted by on June 22, 2010 – 4 Comments

Story written by Georgia Tzanidis

Women's Gold Medal Volleyball Team

Women's Gold Medal Volleyball Team

The Salvation Army Bell Shelter in Southern California recently celebrated this year’s Al-Impics with a barbeque lunch and awards ceremony to honor its participants. The Al-Impics competition is designed for men and women who are in a residential program for alcoholism or substance abuse.

The Al-Impics – or Alcoholic Olympics – was started in 1973 by Kurt Freeman, the former director of Warm Springs Rehabilitation Center in Castaic, California. Freeman used his experience treating chronic drug and alcohol users to develop his idea for an annual athletic competition especially for addicts.

He said, “I found that chronic alcohol and drug addicts didn’t know how to use their leisure time in constructive ways. They would engage in destructive activities. The key was to get people to transfer their addiction to something positive.”

Freeman also noted that tests on those in drug and / or alcohol recovery – before and after beginning an exercise program – showed that athletic activity led to decreased dependence, as well as improvements in physical health, social skills and cognitive abilities. He also said that athletic activity helps calm anxieties which he referred to as the reasons people drink or use drugs in the first place.

This year’s competition went well for Bell Shelter: residents captured the gold in three events – men’s basketball, women’s volleyball, and chess. The third-place bronze medal went to the men’s Volleyball team and pinochle enthusiasts – Dwayne and Ernest.

The women’s volleyball team sought some retribution this year after settling for the silver in the 2008. They were able to beat the same team that they lost to last year. Players said that it felt good to be a part of a family and to do something clean, sober, and as a team. Bell shelter resident, Lisa, was named the team’s Most Valuable Player.

“I was in shock,” Lisa confessed, when asked about the team’s success. She struggled with drug addiction and after a relapse returned to Bell Shelter in October 2009. Lisa believes God gave her the strength to return to the shelter and seek the help she needed. Currently, she lives in the independent living section of the shelter, and is doing well in beauty school.

Bronze medalist, David, was named the most improved player for the men’s volleyball team. “It felt great,” proclaimed David when asked about the win. “I was amazed to see so many addicts and alcoholics in one place on a journey together.” David started getting high once he began working in the entertainment industry. His habit began affecting his work so much that his boss paid for him to seek treatment at Bell Shelter. David has been with the program for 4 months.

Longtime guru, Oscar won first place in the chess competition. Oscar has been playing chess for the past 45 years and describes it as his main hobby. “I’ve played and won tournaments before,” stated Oscar. “I saw some old friends and it was a fun outing for me.” Homelessness brought Oscar to Bell Shelter and has resided there for the past five months.

Congratulations to all The Salvation Army Bell Shelter athletes! Enjoy some BBQ ribs and potato salad and savor your big win!

For more photos of the BBQ and awards ceremony, please view our slideshow on Flickr.
For more information about The Salvation Army Bell Shelter,
please click here.


4 Comments »

  • Dina Has a Great Story of Recovery From Addiction DINA A FRIEND OF PHATPOOCH TELLS HER STORY OF LIFE ON THE DTES OF VANCOUVER AFTER 10 YEARS OF ADDICTION A TRUE MIRACLE AWSOME TESTIMONY
    DINA DID TEN YEARS HARD TIME IN VANCOUVERS DTES ADDICTED TO CRACK WAS HOMELESS AND HAD A LIFE FULL OF PERIL TODAY SHE HAS TRANSFORMED HERSELF http://www.video.ca/video.php?id=394964877

    People do “Recover” from a life of addiction Donnie a True “Miracle of Recovery
    A good friend of Phatpooch, Donnie was addicted for over thirty years he’s been clean now for 7, his testimony is good news for those who still suffer from the plague of addiction that’s ravaging North America http://vimeo.com/3069039

    East Vancouver Darkness – Angelina
    videos from: http://www.2010homelesschampions.ca Angelina young and addicted tough as nails sweet as sugar … downtown eastside young addicted girl …

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8MIOMlNxTs8

  • THE CITY OF VANCOUVER CANADA HAS A DRUG PROBLEM

    HEROIN AND CRACK COCAINE RULE THE STREET’S IN THE DOWNTOWN EASTSIDE OF VANCOUVER, YOU CAN FIND THESE DRUGS AT THE DROP OF A HAT ON ALMOST EVERY CORNER TWENTY FOUR HOURS A DAY. THE VANCOUVER POLICE DEPARTMENT WILL NO LONGER CHARGE DRUG ADDICTS FOR POSSESSION THEY SAY IT TAKES UP TO MUCH TIME FOR PAPER WORK AND THEY NEED TO BE ACTIVE ON THE STREET FOR VIOLENT CRIMES OR THEFT
    The Vancouver Police Department’s new strategy for the Downtown Eastside
    The Vancouver Police Department outlined a new change to the way it polices the Downtown Eastside in its board meeting on Wednesday. Under the changed strategy, the VPD will not arrest and charge drug users and expend resources on prosecuting

    THE CITY OF VANCOUVER IN ALL IT’S BEAUTY AND WEALTH HAS MANY TRAGIC LIVES
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z5DpUVJcsWg&feature=fvsr

    VANCOUVER CITY OF ADDICTION
    The dtes is a melting pot of people from all walks, the addiction scourge that exists there will continue to grow as long as the support for this lifestyle is supported by so called harm reduction policies. Safe injection clean needles i agree with for health and potential overdoses. The fact that the vpd will not charge you for possession makes this part of town a freeway to hell. The so called four pillars approach should add another pillar the fact that insite has over seven thousand registered iv users and the estimated number of people in active addiction is said to be some ten thousand in a twelve square block area means that all these addict’s have a habit to support and drug’s to buy. To me the fifth pillar seems to be let the drug dealers do what they want. The amount of arrest’s for trafficking does not add up compared to consumption how do i know you ask well let me tell from a personal observation over the last five years. I walk and or drive through this area of town daily and it seems that the same drug dealer’s set up shop at the same locations daily i have never seen them arrested the seem to be untouchable so in conclusion i say the fifth pillar must be to supply the four. You can get heroin, cocaine ,crack, rx, weed, twenty four seven in this part of town at many well known places. People from across the city as well the country migrate here to the addiction capital of north America knowing that it’s a free for all.
    THIS IS A SLIDESHOW OF THE MANY FACES OF THE DTES OF VANCOUVE http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X-tps1VCpyA

    THIS NEIGHBORHOOD HAS OVER TEN THOUSAND ACTIVE PEOPLE IN ADDICTION LIVING IN A TWELVE SQUARE BLOCK AREA. SOMETIMES YOU CAN HAVE THREE OR FOUR HUNDRED PEOPLE ON THE STREET IN A TWO BLOCK AREA AT ONE TIME JUST LOOKING FOR TROUBLE THERE IS NOW WHERE ELSE IN NORTH AMERICA THAT YOU WOULD SEE THIS KIND OF ACTIVITY BUT HERE IN VANCOUVER IT’S COMMON

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a4cK6kl8v3A

    EVERYDAY NEW PEOPLE ARE BEING INTRODUCED TO THIS PLAGUE AND NOT MUCH IS OR CAN BE DONE ABOUT IT. THE DTES IS VERY POPULAR ON GOOGLE VIDEOS THEY HAVE OVER FIVE HUNDRED VIDEO’S ABOUT THIS PART OF TOWN AND THE LIFESTYLE OF THE RESIDENTS THAT LIVE HERE, PEOPLE ACTUALLY COME FROM ALL OVER NORTH AMERICA TO SEE THIS SPECTACLE IN DISBELIEF THE CITY KNOWS THERE’S NOTHING THEY CAN DO TO STOP IT BECAUSE IT’S OUT OF CONTROL

  • PHATPOOCH says:

    I interview a young man who has used Heroin most of his life he recently relapsed after eleven month’s clean time this video is quite graphic

    The Harsh Reality of Drug Addiction

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OuNWCPDrJsM

    Next we have a woman named Lisa she has been on all the current Harm reduction program’s available in Vancouver’s Downtown eastside
    this is a sad sad story this poor woman only has her addiction to look forward to in her life

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OuNWCPDrJsM

    Last but not least we interviewed more woman who talk about the pro’s and con’s of Heroin vs. Methadone

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wb7mAvgPz_4

    You be the judge the whole reason for these videos is to bring some truth out about the addiction support services that are in use here in Vancouver. My research has been on a personal level for over twenty five years in addiction as well as these and many more video interviews. Thank you recovered addict

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