I grew up in addiction. My dad’s side of the family were all in active addiction. They encouraged drinking from a young age. I remember a family member filling up my cup when I was four with beer. No one stopped me from drinking it.
My childhood was filled with trauma and abuse. I started using drugs at a young age to numb the pain. When I turned 14, I started using harder drugs that gave me a false feeling of happiness. However, with those drugs came a lifestyle that landed me in jail a few times. I wanted to break the cycle of addiction for the sake of my son, but I couldn’t do it with the people I had around me at the time.
Eventually, after a few times of trying to quit using drugs, I felt hopeless. I truly believed the only way I could ever stop being an addict for good, was if I died. That changed when my friend passed away, and I watched his daughter grieve. I realized at that moment, I wanted to be around for my son. I wanted to be a good and present Dad, like my stepfather was for me when my Dad wasn’t. I went to a meeting right after the funeral, and a friend helped me get into the Dream Centre program.
I had been to treatment before, but the Dream Centre offered more than behaviour modification classes. They helped me face what was going on inside of me. When I was in addiction, I was an angry person because of all the past trauma I had tucked away inside and never dealt with. Coming to the Dream Centre, I found a safe place to release the pain I had been holding on to.
Here, they provided me with good meals, a community of people who understood what I was going through, chapel sessions where I was able to renew my faith and classes that not only helped me in my recovery, but in the rest of my life.
My experience here has been transformative. I came to the Dream Centre in a tightly wound cocoon, never feeling truly safe to break out of my shell. Here, I was able to break free and discover who I really am. I really am flying now!
Now, I have graduated from the Men’s Recovery Program and work at the Dream Centre as an Operational Support Worker. I have gone back to school and most importantly, have reconnected with my son. I’ve become the present father I’ve always wanted to be. It makes me so happy that my son loves me again!