Tag: inclusion

Regina restaurateur hires people recovering from addiction

Owner has hired two cooks in recovery and looks to hire more

A Regina restaurant owner is hoping to fight the stigma against people fighting addictions, one job at a time.

After working at Nicky’s Cafe in Regina for more than 30 years, Kevin Foley has opened a second location in Emerald Park.

He says his goal is to hire staff who are in recovery.

“I was someone who struggled with addictions my whole life, and really, the stigma around it can keep people from actively seeking help, and I felt since I’ve been in recovery, people need to have an open dialogue,” he said. “To continue to sit in silence about it wasn’t an answer anymore.”

Foley said he dealt with a lot of shame trying to hide his reliance on alcohol and drugs for 14 years.

He started seeking treatment in December 2016.

“It’s seen as the person with the brown paper bag sitting on the street corner, but there are a lot of high-functioning people that have issues surrounding addiction,” he said.

“The more people that have awareness of it, the more ability people have to reach out, seek help, and call somebody.”

Foley is hoping to change the way people talk about recovery and create a safe work environment for people in recovery.

Kitchen manager Arnold Brunsdon prepares for the next dinner rush. (Samanda Brace/CBC News)

Kitchen manager Arnold Brunsdon said he started drinking and using drugs in high school.

“I was at a point in my life, I woke up one day and I said, ‘I am sick of being sick.’ I am always sick and I’m always like, ‘What happened last night?'” said Brunsdon.

A DUI gave him the wake-up call he needed to get help and the chance to manage the kitchen at the new Nicky’s Cafe location.

“If I was still doing the things I was doing before, I don’t think I would have had the opportunity to come here and I probably wouldn’t have a driver’s license even to come here,” said Brunsdon.

Brunsdon says he is lucky to have kept his job, because it can difficult for many people to find employment after rehab.

“Day-to-day I still have struggles but the difference now is that it is just a thought, you know, there is no action,” he said.

Having Foley as a colleague has given Brunsdon some extra support.

“It’s really good to talk to another person who has the same struggles, so every day we have a talk. Being so busy at the restaurant, I don’t go to as many meetings as I want to because I have to be here so even just talking with [Foley] every day, with each other, it helps,” said Brunsdon.

Foley has also hired two cooks who have overcome substance use and is looking to hire more.

“The gratitude I have for myself, and for others trying to change their lives has put me in a position where I feel addiction and recovery is something that should not be put in the corner and not talked about,” said Foley.

“Anyone trying to improve themselves, there should be no issue with that.”

Saskatchewan restaurant hires people in recovery from addiction

CTVNews.ca Staff
Published Wednesday, January 23, 2019 9:51PM EST

A new restaurant in Regina has made a point of hiring staff who are recovering from addiction as a way of fighting the stigma they may face in the workplace.

Kevin Foley worked at Regina’s Nicky’s Cafe for decades and decided to open a second location in nearby Emerald Park, Sask., where he hires people recovering from drug and alcohol addiction.

Foley told CTV News Channel the idea stems from his own experience battling addiction and noticing how recovering addicts sometimes feel compelled to keep their issues private when at work or applying for jobs.

“You should be proud of the fact you’re trying to better your life,” he said. “You don’t have to be right at the bottom to want to change and to want to be well.”

In its 30 years of business in Regina, Nicky’s Cafe has become somewhat of an institution, having served more than 3 million bowls of their famous lentil soup, according to their website.

Since opening the second location in November, Foley has hired two cooks and a kitchen manager and has plans for further hiring. He said the restaurant offers each of them the chance to talk things through when they’re struggling.

“Typically those aren’t conversations that are had within a workplace,” he said. “It’s just a way to open the conversation.”

Foley said the first few months in operation have been challenging, but rewarding at the same time.

“At the end of the day, you’re just trying to do something better for the community and that’s what our cafe has prided itself on,” he said.