My addiction started when I was 13. It was really a lot of peer pressure – you know everyone was doing it and I didn’t really fit in, so that’s how I fit in.
I didn’t have a good childhood at all. Right from the time I was born it wasn’t good. It was abusive – verbally, mentally, and physically. Now I look back and I guess I was lashing out.
I started out with what everyone does – pot and booze. I ended up quitting school just before I turned 16. I started working and I just partied. That was it. Then I hit about 20 and I got into harder drugs. That almost killed me – literally.
I managed to quit that on my own, but instead of choosing recovery, I turned into an alcoholic.
I drank and drank and drank. Every day I went to work and then on my way home from work I’d pick up beer or whatever. It was just a way to cope.
I broke off from everyone – family, friends. It continued all my adult life. I guess I was covering up what I went through when I was younger because until I came here I never talked about it – never.
My partner at the time was four days due with our child when she moved to Red Deer and cut off contact with me. I carried on drinking, and then everything fell apart towards the end of that year.
I had given up. I didn’t care about anything.
I eventually got in trouble with the law. It all happened pretty quick. Thankfully, through a court program I was able to serve my time at the Dream Centre. So on July 5 started the 49-day Recovery Program.
The day I got here it happened to be the Stampede Breakfast. There was so many people around. I thought “what am I getting myself into?” I almost took off. Thankfully, instead I walked through the front doors and stuck to my guns.
Since then the change has been night and day.
It was almost right away. My second day here I got to sit through a graduation. Seeing the connection that takes place in this building helped big time. I still wore my ruggedness for a while, but then something flipped one day and yeah, now this is me – happy.
I can be without a mask now. I don’t need substances or any of that stuff to make me forget my past because I realized getting it out is actually helping me.
I’m thankful for my life, this place, and just thankful I can actually be happy for once, because I went my whole life feeling miserable to its nice to be able to finally smile and mean it.
I’m just over a year sober, and it’s thanks to this place. I absolutely owe everything to the Dream Centre.
I’ve been able to forgive myself for stuff, forgive other people for stuff and in return I’ve gotten forgiveness as well.