In 1967, I became, by a serious of mysterious accidents, the Founder and Executive Director of the X-Kalay Foundation, a residential treatment centre for addicts, alcoholics, ex-cons and others.
We began here in Vancouver and Salt Spring Island, and in 1971 expanded to Winnipeg.
The X-Kalay Foundation Manitoba Inc., incorporated in 1971, has continued for over 35 years to flourish first at its original site in St. Norbert, Manitoba, near the University of Manitoba, and now with a satellite program for teen-age boys in Selkirk.
The Foundation has evolved through two name changes, and is now the Behavioural Health Foundation, about which I have written several times in recent weeks.
In a nation apparently dead set on counter-productive, expensive and harmful initiatives like free needles, free crack pipe kits, free heroin, methadone and places to shoot, the BHF, Canada's original, first and foremost therapeutic community stands out as a glorious sore thumb turning out clean and sober men and women every day.
I was invited recently by Jean Doucha, the executive Director of the BHF, to come to St. Norbert and speak to the resident clients, the staff, board of directors and invited guests.
My speech, given on the evening of Friday, August 28, 2009, was about The History of X-Kalay.
My goal was to try to give everyone a sense of our place on the time line of good rehabilitative work, past, present and future.
Frankly, I found my visit to the St. Norbert and Selkirk facilities of BHF and its 100 resident clients - my first in 30 years - overwhelming.
The experience was moving and profound.
The speech is now on YouTube, as well as on my website www.davidberner.com under the heading "Addictions Expert."
The speech, which begins below, is in 11 parts, each just under 10 minutes, running a total of 1 hour and 40 minutes.
If you get lost in the process, you can always go to my website where the speech runs continuously, or go back to YouTube and search "The History of X-Kalay."
This may not be for everyone, but if you go forth, I hope you will enjoy what you see and hear and that you will gain some insight into the arduous but rewarding work that is involved in real addict recovery programming.