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Willpower is enough to break an addiction - poverty myth

Common Questions / Myths Series #3

MYTH #3:  

Willpower is Enough to Break an Addiction. 


Put simply: No, it’s not. Willpower is not enough to break an addiction.

In fact, addictions have very little to do with willpower.


Addiction is deeper than just the will.

Addiction is a complicated messy thing that involves every aspect of who we are as people: the physical, emotional, and spiritual parts of us. Regardless of willpower, addiction goes deep into the core of a person.

There are almost always root causes based in emotional trauma that drive people towards any means of relief.

Whether they turn to a substance, a relationship, or an activity, they are hoping for something that numbs a deep pain. They NEED something that provides an escape from the harsh realities of life.

For some, that leads to addiction. What they thought would be a shelter, ends up becoming a prison.

They have no other way of coping with those hurts. The addiction is no longer a choice – it becomes a way of life.


Addiction isn’t just a sign of weakness.


People who have addictions aren’t ‘weak’ people.

People with addictions don’t just lack the mental fortitude to not pick up a bottle.

They very literally can’t stop. They don’t know how.

Additionally, addiction is often generational, so parents and grandparents and great-grandparents were also addicted.

And sadly, many children are born already addicted because their Mothers were.


Having an addiction does NOT make you less worthy of love, grace, and support.

People who have addictions are just PEOPLE – people who need God’s love, people who need grace, people who need support.

Every day that they come in to the Mission, they’re able to receive those things, as well as the basic physical necessities like food and clothing.

Every day they are still alive is one more day we have the opportunity to give them hope delivered with God’s love.

Streets Alive Mission is dedicated to helping those in every stage of addiction, from dependence to disorder to treatment to recovery.  Breaking an addiction requires more than just sheer will power, and we will be there all along the way with love, grace, support, and hope.


Success may not look like a normal life - myths about poverty

Common Questions / Myths Series #2

Myth #2:  

Successful work with poverty-stricken and / or street people will result in a “normal” life for them. 


The world has a very clear idea about what being a “success” is. It often involves money, a house, a job, a family, living a stereotypical happy and “normal” life.

As a result, a lot of people think that a homeless or deeply impoverished person achieving that kind of life equates to SUCCESS.

It’s also true that many people assume that successful work with and for the impoverished and homeless should be measured by how close our clients get to society’s “norm” as a result of our help.


At Streets Alive Mission, success is measured in different ways.


  • For some, 24 hours of sobriety is a success.


  • For some, getting their GED is a success.


  • For some, having a meal and appropriate clothing so they can survive another day is a success.


ASK Learning Centre

What might seem like a small success to most people is often a huge success for them. And even a small success for our clients is a huge success for us.

Every step is celebrated and encouraged.


At Streets Alive Mission, we see successes every day.

There are successes like that every day around the Mission. Yes, every day! (more…)

why don't the homeless just get a job?

Common Questions / Myths Series #1


One question is probably asked about our clients at Streets Alive Mission more than any other question:

Why don’t they just get a job?


Imagine this:

Growing up, your parents never owned an alarm clock. You didn’t watch them get up every day and go to a ‘regular’ job, because they didn’t. They didn’t bring home a regular paycheque which they then used to budget out rent, groceries, clothing, etc.


The reason that your parents never did that is because their parents never did that, either.


There’s a reasonable chance that you didn’t finish high school or even junior high, following the same pattern of your parents and grandparents.


You’ve never been taught a work ethic or job skills. Even your basic social skills may lag behind. You have no idea how to put together a resume, not that it matters as you have nothing to put on it.


You don’t own any clothing appropriate to going to job interviews because you can’t afford new clothing.


Now, go get a job.


Getting a job in this economy is a struggle for people who have university degrees, much less someone who’s never been taught the basics of a firm handshake and looking potential employers in the eye.

Streets Alive Mission has programs that are being used to change that. (more…)