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After months in treatment and often years of drug and alcohol abuse, this year’s graduates celebrated their victory over addiction at Portage’s annual Recognition Ceremonies, which took place on September 30 in Montréal, and on October 21 in Québec City. The graduates’ family members, friends, staff members and Portage partners congratulated the graduates with thunderous applause for all that they have accomplished during their stay at Portage and for their determination “never to live in the shadows again“.

At the September 30 ceremony, Portage honoured the graduates of its programs for adolescents, adults, mothers with young children and pregnant women, and for men with mental health problems, which are located in the greater Montréal region. Figure skating champion Joannie Rochette addressed the graduates, congratulating them and encouraging them to stay strong and committed to their positive lifestyle.

A graduate and her mother delivered a moving testimonial. “At the age of 12, my daughter transformed,” stated the mother. “She went from a young girl who did well in school and in sports, to being a stranger. Between 12 and 16, she went to the psychiatric hospital twice for attempted suicide, she ran away and went to a voluntary placement centre and from there, a steady descent into hell.” Her daughter then explained how she had regained control of her life at Portage. “In this whole adventure, I learned to trust myself and to trust others, respect myself and be respectful, to accept, to hope, to love myself and to love life. The most amazing thing about it all is that today, I am able to say in front of 1,500 people that I love myself and that I am proud of who I am.”

At the October 21 ceremony, Portage celebrated the graduates of its substance abuse rehabilitation programs for adolescents and adults in the greater Québec City area, and of its Employment Reintegration Program in Québec City, which is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year. The guest of honour was Mr. Claude Dubois, author, singer, composer and Portage Governor, who delivered a motivational speech to the graduates and performed three songs for the audience. Portage-Québec staff members also sang a special song, to pay tribute to the graduates.

Congratulations to all of the 2012 graduates and their families for this remarkable achievement.

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