Canadians making a difference here

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the Derrys
John and Jane Derry.

A special Canadian couple makes a difference

article and photos by Geordie Seed

Serenity Vista addiction recovery and rehab center is a unique concept, in a thoughtfully chosen location, run by special people who are positively transforming the lives of others. The location — Boquete, Panama, and the people — Jane and John Derry. I had the good fortune to spend time with this genuine and sincere couple to learn about the oasis they call Serenity Vista.

The Derrys could have opened a rehab center in their native homeland of Canada, or chosen any country in the world, but five years ago they decided on Boquete, Panama. With a large English speaking community where they felt welcomed by the gracious Panamanian people, coupled with their philosophical belief that optimal addiction recovery should include holistic restoration of body, mind and spirit, Panama came out on top with its safe, relaxing, serene quality of life and abundant tropical natural beauty.

With careful and diligent respect of Panamanian laws, Serenity Vista Inc. was duly incorporated in Panama in 2012, followed by an official Notice of Operation and granting of work permits.

A unique approach

Serenity Vista is not your traditional over-priced concrete jungle “Alcohol and Drug Rehabilitation Center.” It’s a holistic, affordable, welcoming and tranquil family-owned and operated rehab center, where the owners live and eat with their guests. Jane and John have succeeded in creating a very experiential program through a foundation based on regularity, routine and spiritual guidance. They do this by providing a family setting that simulates real-life for their guests. The recovery program includes exercise, such as yoga, spa visits and weekly off premises outdoor excursions and dinners in town as a group.

Guests of Serenity Vista are encouraged to embrace recovery with the H.O.W. paradigm denoting Honesty, Open-mindedness, and Willingness. Through a variety of professional counseling and holistic therapies available in Boquete, guests receive a robust recovery experience with extensive one-on-one individualized attention in this home-like setting the Derrys have created.

We are so passionate about what we do. It is always a gift to be able to share the miracles that happen at Serenity Vista. We believe we are just channels through which the Universe can do its work. Our real job is facilitating.
Jane Derry, Serenity Vista

The Derrys believe that addiction can manifest from severe internal spiritual angst. And by addressing body, mind and spirit, total sobriety/complete abstinence can be achieved. Their holistic and multi-dimensional program is designed to heal the individual, not simply remove one addiction. You may be thinking that these are powerful statements, but considering that John and Jane have been in recovery for 19 and 20 years respectively, they are qualified authorities on the subject.

pressure valve
Serenity Vista.

Sense of community

One important attractor to this region for the Derrys was the existence of a current 12-step English-speaking recovery community. Since sobriety success is heavily dependent on being involved with recovery groups, having the ability to integrate with fellowship that already exists is a nice accompaniment to their program. Combine this with their various weekly off-premise excursions in Boquete and throughout Panama, and it’s evident that exposing their guests to the community around them is of major importance. Considered the top rehab program in Panama, Serenity Vista is not only attracting Panamanians to their program, but foreigners as well.

“The best is yet to come, and it is here now,” is one of John’s favorite quotes. He elaborated by saying “This phrase epitomizes what we know about recovery and spiritual awakening. When a person is fully committed to, and working the 12-Step/Holistic recovery process, everything in a person’s life will change. The changes in outlook and attitude and hence outward manifested experience of a magnificent life are really nothing less than extraordinary.”

Enriching lives

It’s clearly evident that Jane and John didn’t create Serenity Vista as a business opportunity to become rich. Rather, they did so out of passion and the firm belief that their unique approach would empower, enhance and enrich the lives of those who walk through their front gates. As I was leaving our interview, I felt a sense of calm at having been in their presence. It became clear to me that their guests who achieve complete sobriety, will be well on their way toward a more meaningful and fulfilling life.

 

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