From Clients & Family Members

Our late 20’s son disclosed to us he had a serious issue with cocaine and that he could not stop on his own. We had limited knowledge on how to handle this situation. We did some research online and found Michael. We provided Michael as a resource to our son and left it to him to make contact. Our son went to see Michael and disclosed everything including “I think I need to go to rehab." Four days later, we met with Michael and our son at our home and within a matter of days our son went to treatment in Vancouver. We can not believe the change in our son — ‘we have our son back with his full potential’. As parents we also utilized Michael for support and guidance. We also participated in a “realtime” weekly online program specifically for those affected by someone else's substance use as recommended by the treatment centre. Michael helped us make sense of our situation at a critical time and provided practical solutions to help make a dire situation much better. We highly recommend Michael!

D.H. (Victoria, BC)

After many years of looking for help and trying numerous types of counseling and supports, I was left lost and confused. Nothing was working and I was super frustrated. When I contacted Michael I was skeptical because it seemed that every person who tried to help me had many great suggestions of where to go to find help, but couldn't actually help me themselves. I felt as though I was just being passed around, and was hopeless. I was struggling with addiction in all sorts of ways, mainly alcohol, edible cannabis, and the thing that always tore me down, cocaine. Michael was the first person who was direct with me, concise with how to begin my recovery, and empathic of my struggle. Because of this I listened, and followed his suggestions. Today I am 14 months sober and have just completed a Mental Health and Addictions college program. I received all A's. I am now able to find hope in my future, and it all began with the help I received from Michael. If you are serious about beginning recovery, just simply follow his suggestions, they work. Many thanks.

Mike G (Victoria BC)

I started experimenting with cocaine socially. Very quickly, I discovered that I liked it so much it started interfering with my business and personal life. I feel fortunate to have been keenly aware [early on] to notice myself sliding from a person with healthy living values to someone who developed a liking and habit with the consumption of cocaine. I did not like who I was becoming so I did some research online — came across Michael and sent him an email that said “unfortunately, my partying has gotten out of hand and I am hoping to gain some tools to break some habits.” Michael got back to me within three hours on a Sunday and made an appointment for the next day.

I felt instant trust with Michael and disclosed some very personal things. I don’t have a sordid history that got me in to consuming cocaine  — it happened, in part, because of who I was associating myself with. Michael helped to create a disciplined multi-point change plan with built in accountability and structure. Michael helped me to identify my triggers to want to consume cocaine and to take steps to mitigate and or avoid exposure. One of those triggers was once I drank a certain amount I wanted to use cocaine. I knew how it was I wanted to show up in the world for myself and my friends, family and clients and the way I was living was not congruent. My values were not aligned with the person I wanted to be and I desperately wanted to change that. Michael helped immensely. 

Anonymous (Victoria, BC)

Michael is an amazing support. Dedicated, responsive, communicative and caring, he was exactly the right person at the right time. He was able to help in ways that we didn't think were possible. Michael used compassion and expertise to address addiction and give our family a second lease on life. We highly recommend Michael especially for those who are in crisis, have few choices left and who are dependent on drugs and/or alcohol to make life bearable. Words cannot possibly express what Michael has done for our family when so many others had tried and failed. Thank you Michael for the joy, love and laughter you've returned to us.

Valerie E. (Victoria BC)

I contacted Michael to assist a family member in need of recovery treatment & sober coaching. I was at a point of extreme stress. Michael answered my contact message very promptly and scheduled a telephone meeting. Within minutes of that first meeting I felt much more at ease and confident that help was achievable. Michael's professional coaching has been, and continues to be, an important foundation of the recovery journey for our family. I highly recommend and thank you Michael.

Helen Clarke (Cowichan Valley)

At 10am on a February Sunday morning in 2018 I made a call for help — which was answered right away. I asked the person if this was really “Michael” to which he said, “yes” and so I proceeded to spill my story and situation to this person with whom I knew nothing about — yet I felt safe. We arranged to meet the next day and there started a [so far] one year professional relationship. Michael helped guide and support me through the intricacies of changing my relationship to alcohol and attempting to repair family relationships. I have a successful business that  I had to step away from for a bit in order to do the deep work necessary to change. Michael was extremely knowledgeable on what resources would be appropriate at each stage of the process including a very nice sober-living residence and out-patient program that both turned out to be quite helpful. Michael has been unwavering in his support to me and I can’t say enough about his professionalism and knowledge. 

D.M. (Victoria, B.C.)

Michael is great at helping you seek the answer you need. I thought social drinking was the answer but with Michael’s help I realized that abstinence was the answer. No judgment and great help and resources. 

D.H. (Victoria)

Michael provided my son with incredible support, guidance and hope during a very difficult time in his recovery. I am incredibly grateful for Michael’s outstanding communication  with me and support of not only my son but our whole family as we navigated such a challenging time. You are truly a gift in our life. Thank you. 

D.R. - (Nanaimo)

Most of my life I'd been a social drinker. When I was under a lot of stress in my early 70's I found courage and strength to handle it all in "alcohol." I started drinking more and more until I realized I could not stop. That scared me a lot and so I tried to quit. I attended community support groups, went to group therapy and even to a rehab for 7 weeks but always had periods of relapses.

I was introduced to Michael by a counsellor, Matt McCoy. When I met Michael I felt comfortable with him right away. He is a very warm and caring person, not judgemental at all when relapses happened — counting only the even longer periods of sobriety.

Michael is an excellent listener. He encouraged me to utilize multiple strategies that helped make changes in my life.

Now I am 82 years old and sober for one year and looking forward to a happier and healthier rest of my life. I deeply thank Michael for that.

Thank you so much, Michael!

Lotti F. (Victoria)

I first heard of Michael Walsh in Boulevard Magazine (page 95) as one of Victoria’s Top Influencers. For several years I have had a strong desire to stop drinking but with every attempt I just couldn’t get my other foot out of the door. The decision to work with Michael has been very successful for me.

One on one guidance and the privacy aspect was very appealing. Michael provided great tools to mentally and physically get through each of my professional and social engagements without drinking alcohol. The weekly meeting kept me accountable and on track. Michael is a great listener and I felt he was truly engaged in my journey into sobriety.

Well over 100 days and I feel fantastic and building the strength to not just manage without but to embrace and LOVE the life I now have WITH all the benefits sobriety brings.

If you are contemplating life in sobriety I highly recommend working with Michael Walsh.

M.D. (Victoria)

Our brother had, over the past few years, shared with my sister and I his concern about his excessive drinking and how his family doctor was not able to help. His excesses were becoming apparent to people working with him, especially as his stresses mounted and his responsibilities became overwhelming. After working with him for a year to understand his issues, my sister and I found the perfect time to push for rehab to deal with his pain. But we knew we needed professional guidance. My sister’s vigilance brought us a referral to Michael Walsh. Michael is a knowledgable, skilled professional who helped us stage an information meeting for our brother that proved very successful in getting him to quickly enroll in a rehab program. I was very impressed with the way Michael solicited background information to assess and understand our brother and his situation. I was particularly impressed with the way he related to our brother and his sincere, authentic demeanour.  

Because of Michael our brother has a great chance to improve his life, his health and his future. We are forever grateful.

Anonymous - Vancouver and Toronto

Michael was instrumental is getting our twenty year old back on track. He is a caring and thoughtful man and we appreciated his patience and dedication in working with our son with a drinking problem. Thank you Michael.

Blaine B. (Victoria)

We called Michael because our son was actively using cocaine and we were worried for his safety. Our son had lost a lot of weight, lost many friends and became very isolated. We loved the idea of an Invitational Intervention vs the confrontational surprise ones that we'd seen on TV. The idea of a "family meeting" fit with our values around communication as a family and even though our son had drifted off track we figured he'd be receptive to having a meeting with the family to get him some help. 

Over the course of 10 days Michael was able to gather enough information from the family to be able set a day and time for the family meeting to be held. Michael has empathy and listened to all of our concerns which eventually played out when we all met as a family. When we approached our son to let him know the family had reached out for help, we asked if he'd join in a family meeting — he said yes. Michael was professional in his approach and was able to bring the family together at a time when our son needed us most. 

Michael educated us all on substance use, addiction and recovery. Together with Michael we were able to provide the appropriate treatment solution for our son. So far so good! 

Thank you, Michael!

A.D. (Nanaimo)

Michael has worked closely with a number of my clients that have transitioned from in-patient treatment to Sober Living houses in Victoria BC. I have witnessed first-hand the positive impact when clients work with Michael. He provides a practical perspective and functional approach to change. Michael’s specialty is moving clients beyond substance use, addiction and recovery and making the change process worthwhile. I wholeheartedly recommend Michael.

Trevor Franklin - Together We Can (Sober Living Homes)

Michael Walsh was introduced to our son and within a few weeks we noticed a remarkable and significant change in our son's life. Michael made connections with different support organizations to help my son's issues. Michael continually stayed in contact with us allowing us to be part of my son's healing process. His experience, professionalism, skills and strategies are shown in his work. We highly recommend Michael.


William and Maria H (Victoria, BC)

Michael was truly a guiding light to my friends and I while we were trying to assist a friend in the throes of his battle with addiction. Having Michael’s support was the essential factor in connecting our friend with the appropriate resources. Not only did Michael have tremendous insight, knowledge, and experience dealing with the complexities of addictions, he was kind, empathetic, and supportive every step of the way.

I would highly recommend anyone who has a loved one struggling with addiction to connect with Michael.

It can sometimes take a team to help someone, and when it came to our team, Michael was our most valuable player.

Kate, Lana, Tash and Paul (Victoria)

I connected with Michael just before completing 65 days in a private treatment facility. He helped make the transition from treatment back to my home and work life much easier. I have now worked with Michael for the last 3 months where has helped me navigate the intricacies of everyday stressors of someone in early recovery. This has helped build my confidence and regain the trust of my family.

In our sessions, Michael listened, foremost, and helped me identify the challenges I was having. The difference maker was that he knew how to help me address them in a methodical way, and showed me the tools to continue on the path to greater success personally and professionally. I think he did a brilliant job working with me!

S.C. (Vancouver)

Michael helped me to get beyond my alcohol addiction. I was a closet drinker who was hiding my life away every evening with alcohol. I had wanted to quit for some time as I knew it was affecting my overall health: physical, mental, social and financial. I had tried to quit a few times but was unable.

I found Michael on the internet and although he was across the country he was able to give me the confidence and support I needed to succeed. He provided various methods of communication and immediate help if I needed it along with tons of great resources and tools to enable me to get through the tough times.

The work I did with Michael allowed me to better understand myself in the process. I needed exactly this kind of support and it was provided in a non-judgemental, empathic and progressive manner. Thanks Michael!

V.W. (Ontario)

It is my distinct pleasure to recommend Michael. Over the past number of years, I have witnessed Michael’s diligent determination and ethical practice. I trust that he will be a very valuable asset in his professional and peer endeavours.

Hersh Kline, MA, RCC (Victoria)

The positive changes I have made in every aspect of my life, from the day I started working with Michael until four months later, I did not think would be possible.

When I first met Michael, I was at a very low point in my life. Michael has helped me transform every aspect of my life, from my addiction issues to character issues to work issues. I had sought professional help in the past, but it was never successful. What Michael did differently that made all of the difference was leading me down a path of personal growth using practical methods and strategies, while holding me accountable every week to ensure I stayed on course.

I have become a stronger person and more conscious of the impact of my decisions on myself and those around me. Michael’s caring and comforting approach, combined with his ability to keep me on track and hold me accountable, is just what I needed. I would recommend Michael to anyone looking to make transformational changes in any aspect of their life.

S.G. (Victoria)

Michael inspires. Michael leads. Michael does. Michael gets it. Michael is the real deal and a guy you can absolutely count on. Michael is open-heartened and open-minded with a fierce commitment to supporting others to bridge and build life beyond substance use, addiction and recovery.

I hold Michael as one of the standout human beings in my life. I stand by my words.

Dr. Susan L. Tasker, PhD Department of Educational Psychology & Leadership Studies (Victoria)

Working with Michael has helped me to create a new life where using substances is not a desired option.

Michael was very effective at helping me analyze my own behaviours, values, and goals, allowing an introspective search through a different lens of the inevitable frustrations of life in recovery. Michael did a great job defining my strengths rather than me always focusing on the negatives. I am not someone who does well in support groups or in a formal treatment setting, so Sober Coaching worked extremely well for me.

E.P. (Victoria)

I give Michael Walsh a glowing reference about his capacity for leadership, helping others, presentations and Addiction Recovery Coaching.

Dr. Michelle Bass, MSW, PhD, RSW (Victoria)

Our family has been coached for the last year by Michael and we are extremely satisfied with the results. Along with reading books recommended by Michael we are all on the same path with our son to recovery, using the same techniques and methods of communication. This means we are working together, along with Michael, toward the same goal in the same way. Our son is far more stable and definitely on the path to recovery, in large part due to the compassion, understanding and professional help that Michael has provided.

We thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

A mother, father, and sister (Ontario)

I was looking to make some changes in my life and Michael Walsh helped me do that. While substances never took a toll on my life to the extent that it has with some of Michael’s clients, he did a great job of meeting me where I was, and enabling me to move past some problematic behaviours and habits I’d developed with his professional, yet very warm, guidance.

Michael is an excellent listener: I never felt lectured at any of our sessions. Instead, Michael let me ramble on as he attentively took notes. At the end of my epic monologues, Michael helped by synthesizing what I was saying, and developing strategies that helped me make some profoundly helpful changes in my life.

I would highly recommend Michael to anyone who is looking to change the direction of their lives.

N.L. (Victoria)

Hi Michael: Mom and I did the family program at Sunshine Coast Health Center and returned with a very healthy dad! He’s doing amazing and he’s so happy and grateful. The weekend was so educational and inspiring. To say my Dad is better is a total understatement. You played an enormous role and moved mountains in record time.

Thank you so much!

You were the miracle on the other end of the phone at the right time and my family is forever indebted to you! Keep doing what you are doing because you are saving lives!

Christine H. (Vancouver/Victoria)

Michael has had a significant impact on my lifestyle change.

R.T. (Victoria)

I left drug rehab to go back to work in Alberta and had a slip a few days after starting work again. I remembered my counsellor talk about using a Recovery Coach when I left but thought I’d be fine after treatment. I was wrong!

I connected with Michael through his website and started working together within a week. Working with Michael was invaluable. Much of our work was dealing with the roller coaster of life after treatment, setting and achieving goals and being held accountable.

I did have a one day slip while working with Michael and told him about it right away which he did not judge. Instead he supported me to move forward and put it behind me. Michael helped me regain the trust of my family and friends and I feel really good about my future – substance-free.

B.K. (Alberta)

In my opinion the work Mr. Walsh has done through his role as Executive Director at LifeRing has been exemplary. He has demonstrated thoughtful, informed and far sighted leadership in the addictions field.

Chief of Psychology, William Head Federal Institution (Victoria)

Hi Michael,

I just want to say thank you for helping my husband and my mother-in-law's son when I couldn’t and wouldn’t. I am watching him talk to his mother about his addiction and recovery and what’s happening with him, very honestly and candidly. He has never spoken to anyone other than me about it, and knowing them both for more than 20 years, I can tell you this conversation is amazing.

Thank you for helping him, thank you for helping us (although it has been super hard), and thank you for giving me and his mom this moment.

Wife & Mother (Wisconsin)

I went to Michael deeply distressed with my addiction to alcohol. I was messing up as a mother, wife, friend and founder of a successful company as my alcohol misuse was getting worse. I hired Michael on the spot and stopped drinking alcohol. His weekly coaching sessions enabled me to find ways to power through the addiction. It's been over three years now. The incessant hunger for alcohol no longer ruins my life and I feel free from it's grasp!

C.H. (Vancouver, B.C.)

When my son entered grade 12 he had gravitated towards a new group of friends that loved to party and smoke weed. They didn’t see weed as a problem. He would tell us that “If it were really that bad, the government wouldn’t legalize it”. Our son was an accomplished athlete at the provincial level, and within a year we saw his passion and commitment to sports decline along with his grades. My wife and I had little experience with pot growing up, so when we tried to talk to him about it, it was hard to understand his perspective on why he was smoking weed. He felt we were lecturing him and would tune us out. We knew we needed help and decided to give Michael a call.

Michael met with us as a family to better understand our family values and dynamics. He then met privately with our son, and developed a non-judgemental relationship based on trust and respect. Michael would meet and follow up with him on a regular basis. Our son listened and responded positively, as a result of his interactions with Michael.

Thanks to Michael, our son has been more open to talking with us about the issues related to pot use and he now makes choices that align with the values that we instilled in him. He has re-established his long-time friendships, and his focus once again is on school and sports.

We highly recommend Michael to anyone or any family facing problematic substance use issues.

G.I. (Victoria)

Michael has been a sober coaching mentor to me for over 7 months. He stands out for his warmth, generosity and professionalism and has a reputation for being “the best in the business”, not only here in Victoria but (I assert) in western Canada.

His “outside the box” approach to recovery is refreshing to me, and I can hardly thank him enough for his support and guidance in our relationship.

If you want to permanently address your problematic substance use, please contact Michael.

P.R. (Victoria)

Michael has helped me in my journey through recovery for over seven months now and has been there for me through the pitfalls at the beginning, to the accomplishments that are present in my life now. His nuanced, practical and effective approach to recovery has been fundamental to my success. His coaching not only assisted me with the tools to maintain sobriety, but also how to understand myself, reach my potential and live well.

I highly recommend anyone struggling with addiction to reach out to Michael and get the help you need and deserve.

P.H. (Victoria)

Micheal was a huge help in navigating the choppy waters of readjusting to life outside of treatment, and into second stage sober living. His empathetic and practical approach helped hugely for me to feel supported and to develop trust, which has always been a major obstacle for me when dealing with counsellors etc. Five months of being out of treatment and having Michael on my team is very valuable. He has helped me connect with professionals in the fields of work that interest me, and is very accommodating to my schedule as a university student.

R.J. (Victoria)

Michael has been an important and long-term advocate for those that struggle with addiction in the Victoria area. I'm so happy to see him running his own services because he is one of the few evidence-based providers available there. Our clients returning to their homes in that area have given us nothing but positive feedback on Michael and say they really appreciated how easy it is to feel comfortable around him.

Casey Jordan (Sunshine Coast Health Centre — Powell River)

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