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Rideauwood clients and alumni have much to share. Their stories rare constant reminders of their hope and courage.

Parents and Families

“Worry. I lived with it 24/7. I woke up many nights in a cold sweat wondering where my daughter was and ended up in my car, searching for her at 2:00 AM. I tried everything. Nothing I did would change her substance use. After participating in the Rideauwood Family and Parent program, we are both in a better place.”
Mary, Rideauwood Alumni


“I’m a single mom and my son’s all the family I’ve got. Our relationship was great when he was little but as he got to be a teenager he got in with a group of friends and started using. I would stay up all night, then not be able to go to work. I just kept thinking about him—“Where was he?”, “What was he doing?” and “Was he ok?”. He told me he had stopped using, so I tried to stop worrying. Then one day I got the phone call. He was in really bad shape and my heart sunk. I knew I couldn’t keep going the way I was—desperate. Then a friend told me about Rideauwood. After being in the Parents and Family program for a bit I got stronger and started looking after myself. Funny, he’s getting better too.” 
Bonnie, Rideauwood Alumni


“I lived with my Dad which was really good except when he was drinking. When he was drinking I got so stressed and worried. It was messing up my job and my relationship with my boyfriend. One day I passed by Rideauwood on my way to work. I stopped in to ask about what they do. I wasn’t sure it was what I needed, but I gave it a try. I learned a lot from them including how to let go of my Dad’s drinking and how to focus on myself. The kindness they showed me was what I needed. Getting my life back wasn’t easy, but when my life was in total chaos because of my Dad’s drinking, it was way harder.” 
Jerome, Rideauwood Alumni


“I was a roofer for a time. One summer I hurt my back but couldn’t stop working. I had to pay my bills. So, I went to a clinic and I got a prescription for the pain. I kept working and taking the pills. Then I couldn’t stop. I got real messed up. Everything was bad. Then I found Rideauwood and after a bit I changed what I was thinking and doing. Things are better now. I am grateful.” 
George, Rideauwood Alumni.


“I was a perfect drinker. At work, I had a paycheck that said “Success” and at home I played the “Dad” role well. No one could see (so I thought) the toll that drinking was taking on me. I was faking life and I felt so ashamed. I worked hard at Rideauwood, and eventually was able to shift how I was feeling from a dark place to a place of hope.”
Paul, Rideauwood Alumni


“We were your typical group of guys. Everything was a game to us. No matter the event, one of us would go home a winner, the rest went home with an empty wallet. I loved winning more than anything. I chased it so hard I lost my job, my family and nearly lost my mind. Then I found Rideauwood. At Rideauwood I found the real reason for my gambling and made a change, for the better.”
Brad, Rideauwood Alumni

Youth and Young Adults

“I came from an abusive family and ended up on the streets when I was 15. It was a rough life and I partied hard. Then I got pregnant and I had a choice to make. I decided to keep my baby and that meant a lot of things had to change. Life on the streets was not going to work anymore and I needed to stop partying. At first it wasn’t that easy, but after I started at Rideauwood I started getting my life together. My little girl is going to have a good start.” 
Anna, Rideauwood Alumni


“I loved my phone. I couldn’t put it down. So much so that in grade 12 I started skipping class to post. Soon, I started skipping meals. But then I started skipping sleep. My grades dropped and I lost a ton of weight. The worst was when I skipped prom. I missed a once in a lifetime experience to be with my friends. Thankfully, my dad found Rideauwood. Now I am working on how to feel better without constantly being alone.” 
Jennifer, Rideauwood Alumni


“My friends drink all the time when we hang out so what am I going to do? I’m not going to stop hanging with my friends. Last week though, my friends finished their exams and decided to celebrate with a few drinks in my boyfriend’s basement. My last exam was the next day, but I couldn’t say no. I got so wasted. I ended up in the hospital and I missed my exam. We don’t really hang out sober anymore. Maybe we have a problem, but how should I know?”
Valerie, Rideauwood Alumni


“I knew early on that I wasn’t who my family thought I was, so talking about what I was going through—realizing that I was gay, would not go over well with them. The only way out was by getting high, which I did. All the time. As time went by and I kept things hidden I got more and more depressed. I stopped caring about anything. One day at school a counsellor from Rideauwood talked to me. At first, I didn’t pay her much attention, but some of the things she said stuck in my head. I started seeing her a couple of times a week. I soon saw that my situation was a complicated one. She let me work on becoming the person I really am in the only way I could handle it-one step at a time. She kind of saved my life.” 
Roni, Rideauwood Alumni

Important Notice to Clients About Coronavirus

Our world has changed over the past few days with the accelerated response to the spread of COVID-19 in Canada and, more recently, in Ottawa with yesterday’s new directive from the  Medical Officer of Health. As of Sunday March 15 (yesterday), Ottawa Public Health is asking all residents to stay in their homes unless necessary. The Medical Officer of Health specified that this is not to discourage people from being outside, but to discourage people from going into other locations or being within 2 meters of other people that are not living in your home. The purpose of that is to reduce the speed at which the virus will spread, limiting the burden on the health care system.


Here at Rideauwood, we are activating the following plans to support the evolving situation:

  • All group programs are being put on hold until further notice
  • Individual counselling services, normally offered in person will be offered via telephone or OTN, (a secure videoconferencing option). As such a staff person will be in touch with you to inform you of this change.
  • If you are a youth or a young adult wanting to access the walk-in service please call us at 613-724-4881.  Your call will be redirected to the appropriate person.


If you are registered in an upcoming group or have an appointment and have any questions, please call us at 613-724-7881.



  • If you are sick, stay at home if possible
  • If you have:
  • Returned from international travel or to a Canadian province with established local transmission and are displaying symptoms associated with COVID-19, including fever and/or new worsening cough.
  • Had contact with someone diagnosed with COVID-19 in the past 14 days and are displaying symptoms associated with COVID-19 including fever and/or new or worsening cough.


Please go immediately to the COVID-19 Assessment Centre located at the Brewer Arena, (151 Brewer Way) open daily from 9a.m. to 8 p.m.)



  • Wash your hands often with soap and water, or use hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth unless you have just washed your hands.
  • Cover your cough and sneeze with a tissue or into your arm, not your hand.  Also, make sure to wash your hands afterward.
  • Avoid visiting people in hospitals or long-term care centres if you are sick.
  • Get your flu shot if you haven’t already done so.


For more information about COVID-19 click on the links below:


Other links that may be helpful: