Addicts Victorious proponent remains determined

Tyler Clarke
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The commercial property at 21 River St. W. is seen -- the proposed location of Addicts Victorious, by long-time missionary Steve Kember. 

After seeing his proposal for an addictions centre at 21 River St. W. denied by the city’s elected officials, Steve Kember remains determined to help the city.


He doesn’t call himself a counsellor, a psychologist or a psychiatrist.

It’s through missionary work that he wants to help those in Prince Albert dealing with addictions.

“I think everybody’s problem -- yours or mine -- is a spiritual problem,” he explained.

Last week, city council shot down his development permit application for 21 River St. W. -- a building he purchased about a year ago to house an Addicts Victorious centre.

Although personal obligations kept him out of the province during his application’s public hearing, he assumed it’d get council’s stamp of approval.

As such, he OK’d it moving forward in his absence.

“I was too much of an optimist. I’d figured it would just happen,” he said with a shrug.

Addicts Victorious is somewhat similar to Alcoholics Anonymous, with two main differences.

For one, Addicts Victorious isn’t limited to those who consider themselves alcoholics, but addicts to any substance or activity.

Unlike Alcoholics Anonymous, which encourages participants to find their higher power, be it God, himself or herself or something/someone else, Addicts Victorious narrows on belief that the answer is God.

“We all need God, and I can’t deliver a person from the struggles that they might have, and neither can the greatest psychiatrist on earth, but there is a God that cares -- a God that’s concerned and loves us,” Kember summarized.

Kember moves to Prince Albert almost four years ago with his wife, Meryl, after an extended stint in the Northwest Territories and Arctic area, which they travelled through from their home base in LaCrete, Alta.

Selecting Prince Albert as a more central launching point for serving the northern prairies, it didn’t take them long to realize that their home city was also in need of their services.

Although council shot down his proposal for 21 River St. W. last week, Kember said that he plans on persisting with his proposal.

At the time, Coun. Don Cody summarized council’s stance -- that they’re not objecting to Addicts Victorious, but the proposed location.

The city’s elected officials have a vision for the riverfront, and an addictions centre isn’t part of it.

Kember said that, while disappointed, he recognizes why city council voted as they did.

Raking in only about $4,000 in property taxes for year, the property could garner greater taxation if the building was torn down and something else, such as a condominium building, was constructed in its place.

But, on the interim, why not allow Addicts Victorious to operate at the site until they find a new location to operate at that council’s happier about?

“Financially, my wife and I are able to carry it ourselves, “ Kember said. “I don’t do a fundraiser, I don’t go ask you for money, the city for money or anybody else … It won’t cost anyone a dime.”

Local people with addictions need a helping hand to see their greater potential, Kember said.

“I’ve never been addicted to drugs or alcohol … but we are addicted to sin and evil and we need deliverance from all of these things,” he said.

“I always figured that if I were raised in the same situation as some of these dear people that I come into contact with … you or I would be in the same place as them.

“We’re all created equal, but we don’t all have equal opportunity.”

Organizations: Prince Albert, Alcoholics Anonymous

Geographic location: 21 River St., Northwest Territories, Arctic LaCrete

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