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Overcoming substance abuse – reconnecting with loved ones, going back to work or to school, becoming an active member of society, and making that commitment to never again live in the shadows – is a remarkable achievement that deserves a remarkable celebration!  In Montréal on September 22 and in Québec City on October 20, Portage graduates were honoured at the 2013 Recognition Ceremonies.

Since its first centre was opened in 1973, Portage’s Recognition Ceremony has been an annual tradition, bringing together graduates and their loved ones to recognise their tremendous accomplishment, along with the Portage staff members who have helped them through.  The Montréal ceremony honoured 150 people who completed a residential substance abuse rehabilitation program this year and who have led a positive lifestyle since. The Québec City ceremony celebrated the success of sixty men, women, and adolescents who overcame their substance abuse issues this year at one of the Portage centres in the Québec City region.

A graduate of Portage’s Mother and Child program spoke at the Montréal Recognition Ceremony, accompanied by her mother.

“I came to Portage with my little girl when she was only 13 days old, and it changed my life – I learned how to live again,” she said.  “As a woman, I had to learn everything all over again – things as basic as dressing appropriately and respecting myself. I learned to set boundaries, to be myself, and to love myself for who I am. It wasn’t easy, but I persevered.”

The Recognition Ceremonies are also a special occasion for Portage staff members and for all partners and volunteers that help make the organisation a success. The ceremony in Québec City was attended by Monique Richard, representing the Minister for Social Services and Youth Protection, and by the co-chairs of Portage’s “Rebuilding Lives” campaign, Mario Cusson, President and Chief Operating Officer of L’Unique General Insurance, and Michel Dallaire, President and Chief Executive Officer of Cominar Real Estate Investment Trust.

“It is the 40th year that we have been celebrating the success of the graduates of our programs, and I can’t tell you how incredibly proud I am of each of you,” said Peter Howlett, President of Portage, during the Montréal ceremony. “The road that has led you here has been fraught with difficulties, and the challenges that you have overcome to get to where you are today are significant. Those of you who are here today have tackled your substance abuse problems head on, and have overcome them.  By choosing to do so, you have given a gift to society.”

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

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