Stories of Hope: Dean & Terry-Lee’s Story – “If you’re tired, come lay”

“If you’re tired, come lay.” – Dean & Terry-Lee


Dean and Terry-Lee’s Story

“I was just a normal guy, doing my job, drinking beers, smoking pot, doing my job at the print shop when I discovered meth.”

“I got into meth addiction in 2003. When I first started using, it took me 4 years to lose my job. I had been in a print shop working the same job for 18 years. A lot of time till I finally got clean in 2016 was me going out to find scrap copper in old houses and stuff like that– I wasn’t stealing peoples’ power lines—[but] that’s how I made money.”

“I was living in the Downtown Eastside in Blood Alley. Then, I went to the Onsite Detox above the injection site February 16 of 2016 and then I did 22 days there. 5 weeks at Maple Ridge Treatment Centre, which they [Onsite Detox] got me into right away and then I went to Central City Lodge, now called Emerge, and then from there the thing to do was to come to Belkin House.”

“I put my name in early, within halfway through my 3 months at Central City Lodge (CCL) [Now known as Emerge], I put my name here and actually, that’s when I first met Jenea [Belkin House’s Transitional Housing Manager] and I came up and did an interview of course to see if I’m on board with how it works. Then, 93 days [later] I moved from CCL into Belkin House on July 16, maybe 17, of 2016.”

At this point, Dean was about to start the next stage to his recovery. However, apprehensions and worries of relapse were still looming.

“Someone I knew who had been here as well for the full 18 months told me if you really want to, like, get in there and be apart of it, volunteer in the kitchen.”
So, once I got here [Belkin House] and had a stable environment, I came down and signed up for kitchen [volunteering] so I had a commitment every morning to do to show I can do a job…because I hadn’t worked for 10 years…and so from that point on, I worked in the kitchen.”

“I got here September 2016 and it was just after you [Dean] had gotten here. I came for totally different reasons. I came cause a lot of family members had died and I buried my mom in North Van and I had come out of addiction as well and I had really bad teeth.”

Terry’s struggle with addiction severely impacted her teeth, so she needed extensive dental work.

“They couldn’t do dentures [for me] until they sawed my jaw down, because of the abuse.”

“And there was no availability for any kind of free dental from the island from Port Alberni, where I come from, so I thought, okay, I’ll just go to Belkin and check in to the shelter and go down to the Native Sons on Hastings because I’ve been an addict for 10 years downtown, so I knew [about Native Sons] and I’ll get it done free and I’ll go home. So I’m just gonna be here for a few weeks and then I’m going home…and now it’s years later.”

When Terry arrive at Belkin House the fall of 2016, she did not anticipate being here for long, let alone meeting her future husband.

“At that point, I was in the PDP [Belkin House’s Transitional Housing Program, Personal Development Plan] and Terry was in the shelter. I noticed this girl outside with the Harley jacket looking all tough.”

Dean joking shared how based on first impressions, he was telling a friend how Terry looks “kinda mean”. Now, he looks at her with so much adoration.

“So, as I got to know Terry and her talking about her recovery stuff and all the things she’s done on the island with the Alano Club and working with all the people in the AA and NA program, I kinda jokingly said, “Hey, what are you doing for Christmas? Do you want to go back to Alberta with me and meet my family?”

Before Terry, Dean had already purchased a ticket to go to his mother’s home in Red Cliff for Christmas.

“It was paid for and all that. The only thing I can do is change the name on the ticket.”

“I said to him, “Maybe you should take 2 weeks and think about that because you might be thinking with the wrong head and if you’re serious, you can come back and ask me again in 2 weeks.”

“I was just being bold because I liked Terry already. I waited about 3 weeks or so until I had to change the ticket, so then I said to her, “So, what’s your last name?”

“He hadn’t gone back to see his family for 22 years, so it was a big ask. [He] got clean, haven’t seen these people and just needed a friend to get [his] back and I’m good for that.”

At this point, Terry and Dean were both involved in the same NA group, working on their individual commitment to sobriety.

“By the time the invitation came, he really had put himself right at the spotlight and I did know him and I guess I could spend 3 weeks with you in Alberta.”

And so, Terry gave Dean her last name, he changed the ticket, now they’re both set for Christmas in Alberta.

“My family absolutely loved Terry and they tried to get me to heave her there. My mom absolutely loved Terry very very much and they were just over the moon about it.”

“By the time we left, my mother was telling me I should marry her.”

After spending Christmas with Dean’s family, Terry was at a crossroads regarding her time at Belkin House.

“We got the bus back and everything’s good, we’re friends and Terry at that point was losing her place in the shelter. She already asked to put her name in [for the PDP program] and I also talked to Jenea and everyone I could get to listen to me.”

After praying about and reassuring Terry that things will work out, they let Terry at that point enter the PDP program.

“So that was a little God moment because they came and said you’re going to go [upstairs] and go into the PDP program.”

Dean and Terry went on to successfully complete the PDP program and Dean celebrated his one year of sobriety during his time at Belkin House.

“We had his one year at CCL and there was over 50 people, including his counsellor, John.”

“John Dewsbury, he was such a character, he was a really awesome man he was my counsellor and I really really looked up to him too he was a huge part of my recovery.”

Dean described John as an ever-steady presence for him, supporting him through his journey.

“Half the people in PDP were at my one year at the CCL…that was probably one of the happiest days of my life.”

Dean still had one more thing on his check list while at Belkin House. After celebrating Dean’s one year of sobriety…


“He took me to White Spot just up here and had cheesecake… and that’s when he said you know it’s been a year…”

“Terry wouldn’t allow me to even consider her my girlfriend or me to be her boyfriend until I at least had a year clean, which would have been February 16 of 2017.”

Dean proposed to Terry by the end of March. With the help of Manuel [Belkin House’s Life skills worker at the time], Dean took Terry down to Second Beach.

“I can tell you exactly where it was right by the pool and he talked to Manuel right before he did it and he gave me flowers…”

DEAN“and a promise ring from the Native Centre on Hastings right near Commercial, she picked it out and I paid for it.”

After completing the PDP program at Belkin House, Terry transitioned over to The Salvation Army Grace Mansion. At Grace Mansion, Terry had her own unit, with her own kitchen!

“October 21, 2017 we got married and Terry was already at Grace.”

“I love to cook! It was so special to be able to have a stove to make a meal in our own suite, he was like oh wow you’re a good cook, there’s nothing like getting to your apartment and you have a key and you can cook a meal… at Grace, I had my place and he’s allowed to come [over].

“It gave us that one step now that we’re married.”

Dean and Terry have since moved on from Belkin Communities of Hope, having found their own place with their dog, Cheyanne.

Dean is in the process of completing his life skills counsellor course while working as a casual for the Portland Housing Society as a Community Support Worker.

Terry enjoyed the Barista training courses while at Belkin. Coupled with her passion for cooking, she is interested in pursuing a career in Food Services.

“I ended up doing the Friendship Society… I’ve been working with them until present, I worked my way through cleaning and sanitizing and then prepping and cleaning.”

“I [have] stayed clean since then, but I had two [nights] when I made the bad choice, when we went through that rough patch [from] 2020 to 2021…one night I used a little bit and it was horrible, like I saw a few things and it was not the same…I like to say it’s a perfect 8 years, but it hasn’t, relapse is a part of recovery.”

Dean and Terry have so many fond memories of Belkin House and Grace Mansion. Reflecting back on their time with Belkin Communities of Hope, Dean and Terry recalled how warm the community was, the bond they’ve built with other residents and the various programs being major highlights.

“It felt like a home for quite a while, it was, it was inviting and peaceful and all the dynamics going on in this building.”

Referencing Matthew 11:28

“It all started here [at Belkin House], if you’re tired, come lay.”


Date of Interview with Dean and terry-Lee: March 25, 2024

Instagram: @_belkincommunitiesofhope for more Stories of Hope.

No Comments

Post A Comment