May 27, 2020

Sober New Year’s Eve party a ‘safe place’ for recovering addicts in Windsor

Recovering addicts in Windsor don’t have to miss out on ringing in the new year or risk ruining their sobriety.

The Launch Pad Recovery Center is hosting its second New Year’s Eve Sober event Dec. 31.

“New Year’s happens to be the biggest one because we’ve watched people go back out into active addiction and die,” John Button, the centre’s founder and director of programming, said Thursday. “We just want to provide a safe place.”

Holidays are difficult for those in recovery but New Year’s Eve is the “worst day that people fall prey to addiction” because wherever they go it seems everyone is partying and drinking, said Button, a recovered drug addict. Last year’s first sober party — no alcohol or drug use — for the Drouillard Road center had about 75 people and he expects a larger crowd this year.

It’s that crowd, the fellowship, that helps people battling addiction, he said.

“Isolation is the biggest part of addiction,” Button said. “We’re a faith-based organization here so we’ll call it the devil. He wants to isolate you so he can kill you.”


The non-profit recovery centre offers a Freedom Session program, a 12-step Christ-centred recovery program, and also one that isn’t faith-based called Smart Recovery to meet people where they are in recovery, he said. There are five addiction counsellors, Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous meetings, bible studies, food and gym memberships — anything to help a person become sober and a productive member of society, he said.

“In our city, we average losing a person a week to active addiction, death and overdose.”

The Dec. 31 gathering at New Song Church will include a pasta dinner, three local live bands, door prizes and a silent auction. They’ll watch the ball drop at midnight on television. The night also includes personal stories of sober living and after midnight, a goal session. It’s not resolutions of what not to do in 2020 but a time where guests can share their goals for the new year, he said.

“It’s a wonderful place to be on New Year’s and if we start the new year sober chances are we’re going to be sober in the new year,” Button said. “That’s what my mom always told me. Whatever you’re doing at New Year’s is what you’re going to be doing the rest of the year.”


Doors open Dec. 31 at 5:30 p.m. for the sober event at New Song Church on Drouillard Road. The cost is $25 per person with proceeds going to Launch Pad.

Tickets are available at the center at 1052 Drouillard Road, by calling 226-787-5253 and there’s more information online at Launch Pad’s Facebook page and website.

Launch Pad Recovery Center started in 2017 and has gone from about 80 people a month coming through the doors to 80 people a week, Button said.

In the community, the recovery centre oversees a faith-based home, a “dry house” that is not faith-based, and two graduate houses for people to live who have completed the programs. There’s a waiting list for those 12 spots, he said.

Button was in the old Windsor jail when, through a bible study, he found Christ or Christ found him on June 20, 2012, he said. He’ll soon celebrate seven years clean from a $2,000-a-day drug habit, he said.


He claimed that people in their first attempt at sobriety who try a Christ-centred recovery program have a much higher chance of being sober five years later than other programs.

Because Jesus was known to meet people where they are, Button and other volunteers do likewise through a wide variety of ways to help people in addiction. “What do we do? We love them while they’re here.”

Offering fellowship on New Year’s Eve is part of that.  

“They get a chance to start the new year off right: sober.”



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