Developing Recovery Communities

David Pavlus April 12th Main Room

Founder Last Door Recovery Society

David Pavlus is the founder of the Last Door Recovery Society, a New Westminster non-profit organization that has been providing long term residential addiction treatment and adjunct family services for over 35 years.

David is a man who embodies both vision and the will to execute that which he believes in. His approach to all thing is life is equal measures of practicality and common sense. While others are still considering ideas David is well on his way to making his ideas a reality. While it can and has been said that David’s leadership style is unorthodox, the success of Last Door and its clients under his leadership is undeniable.

David has innate charisma tempered with humility and strong will; he is able to readily inspire others to his vision and excite them to action. He is man who is able to stay true to a course of action despite the incessant winds of change. Last Door itself is a reflection of his unusual leadership style. It is program filled with folks who produce excellent results while operating from the heart.

Some of the innovations David has brought forth in his 30 year career are nothing short of phenomenal and have yet to be successfully duplicated. An example is pioneering nicotine abstinence in all Last Door programs in 1998. David’s vision required an entire group of 25 clients and 10 staff the stop smoking and stay stopped, all at the same time. No patches or nicotine substitutes, just a vision and a leader.

In 1997 David opened the Last Door Youth Program for boys ages 14 to 18. Although many have claimed to be the “first and only” youth programs of their kind, Last Door Youth program actually is the first of its kind. David’s belief that youth can be addicted and deserve the support of a community of recovery has set innumerable young men on the path to successful and productive citizenship.

David believes families need to heal. Over the years Last Door’s family service shave grown. There are formal groups and weekend retreats but essentially, family is part of the recovery process from the start. Family members both give and gain support during their loved one’s recovery. Family Day held each year, is a testament to the family work done at Last Door.

David had a vision founded on his own experience that it takes a community to heal addiction. Thirty years later we witness the vibrant and amazing New West Recovery Community. This community is filled with people who believe in and support recovery and owes its underpinnings to David’s ideas and believes and his willingness to put his money where his mouth is. PRIDE floats, Family Days, Sports Days, sun run…these are all integral parts of the community founded on David’s adage that recovery should be and can be fun!

David is a man of action. He believes that people need purpose and dignity. As a result he had a vision for Last Door to offer a rural program to its community members. In 2014 Last door purchased a 40 acre site in mission BC that is now known as Keystone. This is a place of beauty and peace where hands are busy and hearts and spirits are fulfilled.

David believes in the people who work for him. He has trained hundreds of recovering people to work at Last Door and throughout the addiction field. There are Executive directors, Program Directors, outpatient counselors, detox workers and therapists who got their career start under his tutelage. David teaches his staff to strive for excellence and lifelong learning but to also enjoy their work lives and be fully committed to task at hand.

In the larger recovery community David is a sought after speaker. His voice of recovery is strong, clear and unassuming. He moves relentlessly in the direction of the solution and away from the problem. We can all learn a lot from David.

In 2019 at Last Door’s Annual General Meeting, David made the announcement that Jared Nilsson as the new Executive Director.

David Pavlus ICADC CCS