Motivation, Inspiration and Success
Apr 20, 2015
Brian Chiasson still has remnants of his Labrador/Newfoundland accent. He opens our interview by saying “I am in recovery – for 21 years.”
In order to stay clean, Brian decided he would work to help others. He became an addictions counsellor and then, when an opportunity came, he moved to Vancouver. He looked for the most challenging treatment centre he could find, which happened to be Miracle Valley, a centre now closed that was run by the Salvation Army.
During the course of helping people recover from addictions, Brian felt there was a piece missing in the treatment model. “When you finish, where do you go, where do you live, work, who are your friends?” He looked at the men who left treatment: “they were as clean and sober as they were going to get but they didn’t know how to live.” And he thought back to his own treatment where he had felt that the wrong things were asked and other, important questions, were not asked. Wanting to work with multi-barriered people, he approached the BC government with a program to teach work skills to men and lobbied long and hard to be able to also teach the life skills that he felt were essential to success. Once his plan was accepted, in 1998 he set up Triangle Community Resources (see previous post), a private company. He started working with men in Maple Ridge. Then over the years expanded to Mission, Abbotsford, Surrey, Chilliwack and Langley. Then Triangle started to work as well with women and aboriginals.
His program gave people a “chance to stop and breathe and think ‘what do I need?’” Questions they answered in the course of treatment were ‘who am I, what do I want to do, how do I make that happen’, questions they had never been asked before. The program is extremely successful.
I was curious why Triangle was run as a private company (see my previous article about how, in a way, it is a nonprofit) when the expectation is an organization like Triangle is usually a non-profit. Brian says he was always in business for himself and so it was natural for him. He also worried that with a non-profit organization, he would have other people telling him what to do and would be spending inordinate amounts of time looking for funding. Someone who did go the non-profit route said to him, “Don’t lose your vision. Our board chased the money and we lost our vision.” He took that advice to heart.
Brian’s enthusiasm is contagious. It spreads to clients, their families, his staff and to me, his interviewer. More on Brian’s work with multiple barrier clients next week.