Addicts Getting Their Lives Back

The Tale of Annie Akavak

It’s no wonder Annie Akavak was an addict most of her life. She pretty much went through every type of abuse throughout her distraught childhood…and then some, giving birth to the first of her four children at the tender age of 14.  Bustled around from one foster home to another, she eventually ended up on the streets.  It’s taken a long time, and there have been many setbacks, but right now, she is ever so slowly – one step at a time – on the long road to recovery thanks to some incredible help and support from an amazing Canadian organization.

Jean Tweed Centre

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Situated in the west end of Toronto, it was the Jean Tweed Centre and all its programs which really gave Akavak the first sniff of hope of a normal life.  A decade ago, the Pathways to Healthy Families outreach program began to give pregnant women and mothers help with their kids from birth ‘til 6-years-old.  They offered substance abuse counseling, assistance in finding housing and prenatal care, and more.  Thereafter the Moms and Kids Too program (MK2) was established which also helped Akavak get her life back on track.

It’s definitely been a long road for Akavak and there’s still a lot of work to be done, but the Jean Tweed Centre has really given her the tools she needs to at least start.  When her daughter was taken from her she was determined to get her back.  Turning to the programs run through the Centre, was what saved her. “I stopped relapsing and started learning some coping skills,” she said. Ultimately she won the custody battle and got her daughter back.  “Jean Tweed taught me how to be a better mother and a healthy mother.”  In a sense, her story is a rags to riches tale, in the sense of how well she lives emotionally these days.  Her dream is to have her own home.  In time, there’s a good chance this will happen.


James Fishman has been involved in the world of online magazines for more than 15 years. He helped launch Sunstone Online and continues to improve the magazine as site editor and administrator. His writing focuses primarily business and technology. To be in touch with James, feel free to contact him at james[at]

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