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The listing was for a former convent and schoolhouse in the hamlet of Leipzig, Sask., just under two hours from Saskatoon near the town of Wilkie.
The restored building opened its doors in 2008 as the Leipzig Serenity Retreat. One of the only private rehab clinics in Western Canada, Clark said they've seen steady growth in the number of people coming through the door to enroll in the five week long program, which is based on the 12 steps championed by Alcoholics Anonymous. Twenty four people came in the first year. By 2012 that number ballooned to 79. So far this year, 60 people have already made their way to Leipzig.
"I lost 35 pounds in the first six months just going up and down stairs and up and down scaffolding," she said.
Dwight Andrew Wilson died in a cheap motel at age 47.
"We've had people here with Ph. d's and people who never finished grade eight," said Clark.
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Along with the loss of her brother, Clark had to get into recovery for her own alcoholism. With 28 years sober, she said Wilson's death motivated her to help others.
"I'd come home to find people drunk," she said. Space was also an issue. One day, Clark said she had to ask a woman who had stayed with her for almost a year to leave the nest: "I said, 'You're better now, someone else needs the room.'"
school for their kids. It had originally been staffed by a German priest and a small group of nuns.
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While her efforts were met with some successes, Clark said it was often a difficult Converse High Top Leather Sneakers arrangement.
Clark said that on top of all the support and offers of help she's had, several community members got together to form the Friends of Leipzig.
An alcoholic, his older sister Ardyth Clark said his substance abuse problems started when he was about 15. Wilson's quest for the next bottle, or the next high, saw him in and out of prison and rehab throughout his short life.
She said people in the area were curious about what she was doing from day one. Once they found out she was restoring the building, not leveling it, Clark said she found everyone in the area willing to help out.
When they found out Clark was on a mission to help people, the Rural Municipality also gave them a break on their taxes.
It took six weeks just to get the main floor cleared out. At the time, Clark was 56 years old, and she said the hard work revitalized her.
Clark said five years running the facility has shown her addiction knows no boundaries. They've had clients come from every province except Prince Edward Island, ranging in age from 17 to 78 years old.
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and his sisters shortly before he died.
Shortly after that, Clark said the woman called her up and told her to check out a property listing.
The 20,000 square foot structure was built in 1927 by people in the area who wanted a Converse Shoes Leather White
"I had living with me at any given time over the years two to three alcoholics (or) addicts trying to get clean and sober. I was trying to do it out of my house," she said.
(left) Dwight Andrew Wilson and Ardyth Clark when Wilson was in his 20's. (right) Wilson
By the time Clark got to it, the building had fallen on hard times. The main floor was full of junk piled almost to the rafters. Most of the windows, 121 in all with 24 panes of glass apiece, were smashed.
A room on the top floor of the Leipzig Serenity Retreat, kept in the condition the rest of the building was in when it was bought in 2008.
Community steps up:
Clark came to Leipzig from Alberta not knowing quite what to expect.
Jacqueline Hoffman gives a tour of a room on the main floor of the Leipzig Serenity Retreat.
"She told me: 'you'll never have to worry about space again,'" she said.
never ending money pit, Clark said all she saw was high ceilings and beautiful hardwood floors. She rolled up her sleeves, and along with help from a few other people, she got to work cleaning the place up.
came here with a private mortgage because no bank would touch us. We came with $60,000 in cash. We've put about $600,000 into the building. We arrived with a three bedroom house worth of furniture, and we've had people in the area donate pretty much everything else," Clark said.
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