Thursday, April 18, 2013

All the Way Home by David Berner

All the Way Home is a book that chronicles the truly amazing and miraculous life of the X Kalay Foundation. X Kalay is a First Nations word for "The Unknown Path". It is also part memoir of it's founding member, David Berner himself.
X Kalay began in the 1960's when David Berner became a member of the Young Canadians. In the federal penitentiary he began to help a fledgling group of First Nations folk wanting to develop a half way house for aboriginals in hope of countering the almost complete recidivism of the day.
It became apparent from the start that no one wanted to just go half way but indeed wanted to go all the way on to never return to the penitentiary. To this end abstinence from drugs and alcohol became a cornerstone of this early recovery house.
The lessons learned in early years are poignantly described in colourful action sidestepping none of the violence, sex and harsh words that went into developing a working prototype which would go on to influence all subsequent recovery communities.
David Berner, born in Ottawa, studied Mathematics and Literature at University of Winnipeg thereby becoming a North Winnipeg Jewish intellectual. He and the community would incorporate all manner of eclectic ideas from the Synanon community to encounter groups led by innovative hypnotist psychologist, Dr. Lee Pulos. The free for all creativity of these early days fairly percolates from the pages as young men and women sought whatever way possible to stay clean and out of jail. Together they developed the Game, a therapeutic tool for group cohesion.
X Kalay would grow to 125 residents and a $2 million dollar budget closing in 1976 in British Columbia but living on in the Behavioural Health Foundation of Manitoba.
David Berner, actor, talk show host, television personality, provacateur, journalist is a splendid writer. He promotes the cause of abstinence fearing the emphasis on 'harm reduction' denies the humanity and potential of addicts who he has seen personally find new life in X Kalay and programs that promote such respect and honesty. His writing is reminiscent of Victor Frankl. His compassion for his fellow human and his track record of solid success are amazing.
I was deeply moved by All the Way Home and would recommend it to all who work in the field of addictions and corrections. Alone it's an amazing testimony to marginalized humans with extraordinary dreams. The potential of the human spirit shines throughout this beautiful and uplifting book of great endeavour.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

No comments: