“Momma Bear” – Shannon’s Story


Clients at the Rosaire House Addiction Treatment Centre in The Pas know that when they walk through the centre’s doors they will be greeted with warmth, support and encouragement through each step of their recovery journey.

For many clients, that welcome and judgement free support is provided by “Momma Bear Shannon” social worker and team lead, who encourages clients to live by her personal daily mantra of ‘be grateful for today and work harder for tomorrow’.

“Momma Bear”, also known as Shannon Case, has intimate knowledge of what it’s like to struggle with addiction, as well as the effects of losing loved ones to the battle.

“I have walked in the same shoes as some of my clients and I know what those feelings are,” said Case who uses her experiences and ongoing journey in support of her clients. “I have done a lot of healing through journaling and by taking a good look at myself – because if you don’t deal with your own issues it’s hard to help anybody else. To this day I still work on it.”

Case’s time in The Pas began more than twenty years ago, when her family moved to the community so Shannon could complete the Healthcare Aide program at University College of the North. Starting over and committing to a new career is a season of life that Case looks back on fondly, remembering nights as a mature student when she would sit at the kitchen table with her two daughters doing homework together in their new home.

“Going back to school was a big adjustment, not just for me but my whole family,” she said. “We didn’t think we would stay in The Pas for long but when my instructors saw me excel and believed I could do more, they inspired me to continue my education here.”

“Now, at the end of each day, I go home proud of what I’ve done to help others within my community.”

The healing and recovery process at Rosaire House is a client led 28-day program and the centre can accommodate up to 12 clients at a time. Programming is tailored to the individual and may include different sharing circles and counselling sessions depending on their needs. The centre has everything you would expect in a home, including a kitchen with tasks assigned to each person, including washing dishes and cooking.

“Everybody’s needs are different because every client is different,” explained Case. “If you want to cook, you can. We’ll make deep fried perogies. You can smudge or pray if you want, we even offer acupuncture. We will do whatever it takes to get you better.”

For Case, serving in a role where she is able to provide encouragement and careful compassion to both her team as well as helping clients turn their dreams and goals into a reality, is extremely fulfilling.

“I walk alongside clients, but they do the hard work. Nobody can fix your problems for you,” said Case. “I let them share and tell their story as they work through it, because that’s how we heal.”

Case follows the seven traditional sacred teachings in her practice; wisdom, love, respect, bravery, honesty, humility, and truth, – while finding and sharing humour in the every day.

“Laughter is healing medicine and each of us need it,” she said. “We tend to take things too seriously. Having a good sense of humour is 101 when working with addictions.”

The team at Rosaire House Addiction Treatment Centre is focused on a holistic way of healing, understanding it isn’t easy to interrupt the negative cycle of addiction. The Centre is a safe place where clients may come back two or three times before they’re ready to truly understand the message and heal.

“When some of our previous clients come back through our doors, I always say, ‘I’m glad you’re back’” shared Case. “Having clients return to the program for another attempt at a substance-free life inspires me.”

“The most rewarding part of my work actually happens outside of work, when I run into clients who have left our program and are still maintaining their substance-free or a harm-reduction way of life while maintaining their families and employment goals,” Case added.

Case’s work has a positive impact that ripples throughout her community, touching the lives of her clients and the people around them. “A client recently told me that I helped them move past their trauma to become who they are today and shared that they had brought a loved one to our centre, encouraging them to seek help from our team along their journey too.”

From November 5 to 11, Manitoba’s health service delivery organizations are celebrating the diverse and highly specialized skills of our province’s allied health professionals. Representing nearly 200 disciplines working in every sector and area of our health system, allied health professionals are vital members of our health-care teams.