Biography – Earl Thiessen
Program Manager, Oxford House
Earl’s journey to sobriety was a roller coaster ride of detox, treatment and relapse. His rock bottom? He says, “You’d think it was when I ended up on the streets, but no. Or when I went to prison. That wasn’t it either. My rock bottom was when my common-law partner was murdered.”
For three months, Earl handled this devastating trauma the only way he knew how. Drinking.
And then he came face-to-face with the Justice of the Peace. There were eleven warrants out for his arrest. He decided it was time to get honest. He told the JP about his common-law partner. He told him that he didn’t know how to deal with it. “I need help,” he said.
The JP released him on his own recognizance and told Earl to go get the help he needed. Earl grabbed on to this opportunity with both hands. He went back to extended treatment, reconnected with his aboriginal roots and moved into an Oxford home in 2007.
Earl is proud of himself. He’s breaking the cycle for his kids, they’re everything to him. “My kids are benefitting by having a clean and sober dad. My past has taught me that women are harder to replace, they are the life-bringers, they carry the next generation. I’ve told my daughter that and that’s why she walks on the inside of the sidewalk – so I can protect her.”
Today Earl is the Program Manager at Oxford House.
He wants more people to know about this vital program.
“It bothers me when people say – Oxford House? What is that?” Because he knows that sobriety without relapse is possible in an Oxford Home.
Earl oversees the program delivery of Oxford House’s 27 homes for recovery in Calgary and Edmonton with his team of four support workers and has been employed by Oxford House since 2009.