TVO crew captures recovery effort of 4 people
By Pam Wright
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
For the first time ever, the public is getting an unflinching behind-the-scenes look into Westover Treatment Centre’s chemical dependency program.
A new TVO documentary entitled ‘Come Clean’ premieres Jan. 25. It provides that look, revealing the stories of the members of Westover Group 1313, as they embark on the journey into recovery.
The filming began on New Year’s Eve in 2018.
But ‘Come Clean’ doesn’t stop at the end of the 19-day residential treatment program. Producers Derreck Roemer and Neil Graham continue to follow the stories of four of the participants for an additional 18 months – giving viewers a gritty look into the challenges of staying clean and sober.
Westover’s executive director Laird Brush said the imbedded filming – producers stayed in the centre for three weeks – broke with the usual tradition of confidentiality, but the approach allows for a heavy dose of reality.
“We’ve never had unfettered access to our programs before,” Brush said, adding participants were given a choice if they wanted to take part in the documentary and all agreed.
Brush said it’s hoped ‘Come Clean’ will dispel some of the ongoing myths that surround addiction.
“We are often frustrated with the stigmas around addiction,” Brush explained. “We want to start smashing those, and films like this are a good start.
“It (‘Come Clean’) goes a long way in breaking the stigma,” he said.
The four clients who the producers followed came from very different backgrounds, Brush said, and had varying levels of success in recovery post-Westover, with only one maintaining continuous sobriety.
“It’s pretty interesting,” he said, as there are four different approaches.
Brush gives a nod of approval to Roemer and Graham.
“The documentary is really well done,” he said. “They did a really good job.”
‘Come Clean’ premieres on TVO Jan. 25 at 9 p.m. Prior to the showing, Brush will be featured in an interview with Steve Paiken on The Agenda at 8 p.m.
The film will also be found at TVO.org, YouTube and other TVO streaming channels.
On Feb. 14, Westover will celebrate 36 years of operation in Thamesville. The 30-bed facility offers a residential chemical dependency, co-dependency and relapse prevention programs.