I grew up on the Maskwacis reserve 70 kilometers outside of Edmonton with my mom and my ten brothers and sisters. During my childhood, I experienced abuse and was exposed to toxic relationships. The role models I had to look up to growing up were living a lifestyle of drinking and partying. Due to these influences and circumstances, I began to drink at the age of thirteen.
In my teenage years, I was known as a ‘social butterfly’. Everyone wanted to party with me because I was fun to be around and lacked boundaries. As my addiction grew, I started to experience psychosis and struggled with levels of fear that I didn’t know were possible. I was constantly in survival mode as every day I felt like I was going to die. I didn’t like who I was becoming or what I was experiencing and I felt trapped in this cycle of partying, drinking, and doing drugs.
There were many times that I found myself in vulnerable situations that would lead me into moments of desperation for hope. As I would cry out to God I would pray for Him to show me a sign. Without fail, every time in moments of desperation I would be met by divine encounters where a person would either say or give me exactly what I needed. This showed me that God was always with me, even in the darkest times of my life.
I had two daughters when I was experiencing a pivotal moment in my addiction. There was a moment when I was faced with extreme seizures from drug use and neglect of food and water. I felt as though the inside of my body was twisting and turning all around. I really thought that I was going to die. During my addiction, I had many near-death experiences but this time, I felt as though I was face to-face with death. This thought of not being the mother I knew my children deserved began to run through my mind. After the seizures stopped something clicked in my mind, and I knew that this was a turning point. For the first time, I felt this fight rise up in me so that I could be free from addiction because of my daughters.
I knew that I needed to go into detox so I started preparing myself for real-life change by getting my heart, spirit, and body ready. After completing detox I applied to the Calgary Dream Centre’s (CDC) community housing and shortly after applying, I was moving in. When I was homeless, every day was always a question of where I was going to sleep, what I was going to eat, or if I was going to be safe. I now live in the CDC’s Women’s Housing and I finally have a sense of relief. The CDC gave me peace in exchange of fear, hope in exchange of anxiety, and faith in exchange of depression.
Today I am proud to say that I’m working stronger than ever on my recovery. I am currently upgrading my studies to pursue social work so I can one day help people like myself. I am also pursuing parenting courses and prioritizing spending time with my daughters so I can work toward being the best mother that I can be.
I have come from feeling broken and hopeless, I believe that you too can find freedom from addiction. I know my story is not finished, so I don’t discount the process because the process is what shapes us to be who we are today. There truly is power in the process!