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Who is Frances Stone?

Frances Stone is a Canadian Certified Addiction Counsellor who throughout her career in mental health and addiction has worked in radio, rehabilitation and addiction treatment centres for men & women with substance misuse disorder and mental illness. Frances Stone is Founder & Executive Director of Family Recovery Society of Canada, a non-profit organization that serves families in recovery from addiction connects with support, hope and healing. She proudly serves as a Committee Member for səmiq̓ʷəʔelə/Riverview Public Advisory Group with First Nation and BC Housing. Frances is currently working on her memoir The Book of Tears - My Story of Healing, her personal story of recovery from addiction, mental illness and intergenerational trauma. She identifies as a Metis woman and mother in long-term recovery from addiction and mental illness with a Bipolar 2 mental health diagnosis. Her hope is to utilize her lived education & experience to help others that are struggling to achieve and maintain sobriety and mental wellness

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"Such a wonderful strong woman who walks the journey of recovery everyday and inspires others to do the same. As a parent of an adult who is struggling with a substance disorder, Frances is such an inspiration."

DT

“Frances Stone is professional and someone who I feel profoundly safe with. She’s someone who truly cares in helping, in whatever aspect I needed guidance in. Frances gave me the space to grow, be creative, and still give me direction that helped me in my healing. I believed fully that she had my best interests in mind, she cared deeply about seeing me become my best self and live to my full potential. I would recommend her to anyone looking to reach the next step of healing and get to the root of any dis-ease or suffering. ”

E.S.

More About Frances
 

  • 2009, Frances self-published her first memoir, A Reflection of Love – A Different Kind of Love Story, about becoming a mother and the spiritual experience that inspired her to try to change her life. 

 

  • 2013 – 2018 without a platform for her book, Frances co-created and co-hosted Talk Recovery Vancouver, a show about mental health and addiction issues, on Vancouver Co-Op Radio with Last Door Recovery Society. 

 

  • 2014, Frances began her advocacy journey through First Call BC’s: Child Poverty Report Card by sharing her personal lived experience as a single mother of three children experiencing poverty and outlining ways the government could help. Shortly thereafter, Frances co-founded her first non-profit as Vice-President of The Single Mother’s Alliance of BC with the goal to advocate to stop the clawback of child support payments from single parents on social assistance. 

 

  • 2015, through SMA threatening legal action against the BC government, this policy ended in British Columbia,
    but continues across Canada. 

 

  • 2015, Frances graduates from VCCT - Vancouver College of Counsellor Training 

 

  • 2016, Frances works as Client Care Worker at Westminster House Society, a trauma-informed gender specific addiction recovery program in New Westminster, BC. 

 

  • 2017, Frances co-founded a Facebook group to connect mothers in recovery from mental illness and addiction with the hope to increase access to support, resources and advocate for change. 

 

  • 2018, when Frances’ children move in their father, Frances turns that Facebook group became a labour of love and non-profit organization, Mother’s Recovery Tribe Society (MRT).

 

  • 2020, Frances begins her work at the Coast Mental Health Recovery & Rehabilitation Program in their Recovery & Rehabilitation program at səmiq̓ʷəʔelə/Riverview in Coquitlam, BC where she is responsible for the delivery of gender specific, trauma-informed care for people who may have or has experienced homelessness; severe addictions, mental illness, trauma, family, cultural and /or community disconnection, involvement with the criminal justice, physical health and behavioral issues.


 

  • 2021 due to a 43% membership growth due to COVID-19 and the overdose crisis MRT became
    Family Recovery Society of Canada, with the goal of helping support the whole family in recovery to know
    they are not alone, there is hope and recovery is possible.

 

  • Frances serves as a grateful member of the Public Advisory Group (PAG) for the səmiq̓ʷəʔelə / Riverview Comprehensive Community Planning Process with the kʷikʷəƛ̓əm First Nation and BC Housing envisioning the future for a place of excellence in mental health and addiction care on the historic grounds. 

 

  • 2022, Frances currently works as an Addictions Counsellor in private practice and as a casual employee for
    Coast Mental Health Recovery & Rehabilitation Program, Cottages Transitional Program and
    The Salvation Army’s Harbour Light Addiction Treatment Centre in Vancouver, BC. 

"Addiction really is about the thinking, not the substance or behaviour..."

I used to feel smart, pretty and confident that I was a good person. Then I experienced a fear-based relationship, became a single mother and did not feel like myself. I couldn’t handle conflict or connection. I went from having lots of friends to having none. I did not like myself. I wanted to work hard to be someone else. I tried relationships, school and stand-up comedy. I had completely run out of ideas of how to fix my life. Nothing worked. Alcohol and cigarettes were not my problems, they were my solution for my constant frustration. When I became a new mother, I wanted to quit smoking and drinking. I wanted to be a better person for my son, but I didn’t know why it was so hard to stop, or what else I was supposed to do.  

 

I liked drinking and smoking. I enjoyed the relief of a cigarette. I especially liked being drunk because it allowed me not to care about everything, all the time. I LOVED not caring, thinking and analyzing everything about life and all the people in it. After a long work week, when my son went to visit his father on the weekends, I had nothing to do. I started drinking and going to bars by myself. Slowly I began to feel like a different person. A person I didn’t like or respect. But I kept doing it. 

 

I told myself I needed to be strong, which meant being silent. I had become very isolated. I had some friends left, but I couldn’t connect to them. I couldn’t connect to anyone, not even myself. When I stopped doing standup comedy, I began attending a class and doing “Morning Pages” an exercise in Julia Cameron’s book, The Artist’s Way. I woke up every morning and wrote three pages about everything in my mind and heart. Some mornings I would end up in the fetal position weeping, and I didn’t even know why. This creative exercise broke something in me. It unblocked me from my spirit and allowed me to see my part in that fear-based relationship. With that wisdom, I was able to forgive him and myself. 

 

Through forgiveness, I gained the power to see the truth. I was able to ask for the help I needed because I know longer felt ashamed. I felt loved, understood & forgiven by my Higher Power. This was me coming back to myself, recovering my true authentic self —who I really am in my heart. 

 

The pendulum swung wide. I became a born-again Christian that was determined to do God’s will. I went back to my toxic relationship, having two more children eleven months apart. When their dad went to jail, we experienced severe poverty. I thought my life was a mistake, but today I believe everything in my life has happened for God’s higher purpose.

 

To maintain my sobriety, I aligned my entire life with recovery. My addiction to alcohol and cigarettes has been replaced with a passion to help others find the peace, purpose, hope and freedom possible in recovery from addiction. I want to recover out loud to fight isolation, shame and stigma because I believe they are the heartbeat of addiction, poverty and mental illness. I know today that addiction is not about what you use – addiction is about why you use. I used alcohol and cigarettes to escape myself because I was ashamed of who I was, until I recovered who I am and realized I have nothing to prove, only someone to be. For me, to be myself, the person that I have fought so hard to be, is to be sober. To move from victim to advocate has been the result of my process of recovery.  

 

Thanks for letting me share.

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"There is nothing more important than family."

Every parent desires to be the best parent they can be. When a parent struggles with mental health and addiction, parenting can be more challenging but it is still definitely possible. In my experience what is most important is honesty, support, personal responsibility, communication, character and faith in a Higher Power.

 

I could not have been a mother to my children without my faith in God. Being a mother to three children has been the most challenging, but the most rewarding experience of my life. They made me want to be a better person to love them as they deserve to be loved. They are absolutely the light and joy of my life and my love for them is everlasting and eternal.

 

I am not a perfect mother. I struggle, but I never give up. I know in my heart that I have tried to be the best mother I can be, every step of the way.

 

I will continue to do that for the rest of my life. 

"I write in a way that often breaks my own heart."

For me, writing is a gift and a burden. I feel called to write my stories and truth in a way that often breaks my own heart, but heals it at the same time. I write to connect with my spirit and engage in my own recovery process to learn lessons, gain wisdom, and in the hope of learning and growing as a person from the act of thoughtful self-reflection. I also hope my musings will help others walking a similar path to know they are not alone, they can make a difference and that always,  "where there is life, there is hope." - Marcus Tullius Cicero

My first book, "A Reflection of Love - A Different Kind of Love Story" was written to save my life and in many ways it did, just not in the ways, I thought it would. Fame and fortune did not come, but I was led to a recovery community of people following God and seeking purpose in their lives that was authentic, attainable, and fun to me. Sober friends, fun, and purpose - HOPE - helped me align my life with recovery and finally commit to my own sobriety. 

In 2022, I am writing my second memoir (which includes my first) and expands into sharing my struggles with addiction and mental health in the midst of experiencing extreme poverty as a single mother of three children. The level of poverty I experienced gave me a passion for advocacy and led me to become Vice-President of the single-mother-led nonprofit organization, Single Mothers Alliance of British Columbia.

 

Seeing what was possible when mothers gathered for change led to me founding the nonprofit, Mothers Recovery Society, which later became Family Recovery Society of Canada. 

The secret hope I have in telling my story is that it will inspire others to have the courage to make the necessary changes in their own world, to create a positive impact in the world of their families and communities. To stop listening to all the voices that say you can't and listen to the strong, still voice inside you that says, “Yes, you can.”

 

I must admit, the thing I love the very most about writing is when I get absolutely lost in it, lose all sense of time and place, and am left in awe of what is revealed to me. It is the closest I ever feel to being completely and totally present while at the same time, being lost in the magic and mystery of all that is God, Spirit, and One. I guess that is because I write from my heart, where the deepest and truest parts of me exist.

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A labour of love for me has been my passion for creating a supportive community for mothers and fathers on a path of recovery to know they are not alone there is hope and recovery is possible. Since 2017, this began as an idea for supporting mothers in recovery through a Facebook group based in New Westminster, BC.

 

In 2018, when my children moved in with their father, I poured my time, energy and love into making Mother's Recovery Society a nonprofit organization to access more funding and supports for our members.

In 2020, with the effects of COVID-19 and the opioid crisis, MRS became Family Recovery Society of Canada a nonprofit organization with the purpose to support the whole family to recover from the effects of substance misuse and intergenerational trauma.

 

Today, this community has connected nearly 2K mothers and fathers in recovery from across Canada with connection, courage and virtual supports. The mission to engage, educate and empower parents in recovery from the effects of drug and alcohol misuse by increasing access to community, education and resources that decrease intergenerational trauma, develop recovery capital and support the maintenance of long-term recovery from substance misuse... will continue on. 

I am grateful to God for giving me the blessing of the vision for this supportive community of growing, learning and inspiring mothers and fathers in recovery. I will be forever blessed by the inspiration, creation and realization of this beautiful community.

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