My name is Douglas, and I’ve been with the Dream Centre since October 2018.
My addiction started in junior high, and by grade nine it was in full effect. Drinking was what set me over because once I was drunk, I stopped making rational decisions. Anything you put in front of my face I was willing to do. I loved the thrill and it also became a source of belonging.
For a while in my childhood it was just me, my mom, and my older sister. We were getting by, and for the most part it was good. But then my mom settled down with someone who wasn’t the best role model, and there was always fighting.
It was around that time I started pushing away from my family and got comforted by my friends and the lifestyle I was living. When I went home, it just felt like I was sleeping on a bed. It didn’t feel like I was actually going home.
When I turned 18, I got a lot of money and bought my own place. You can imagine the parties. My house became the spot everyone went to after school and on the weekends. There was no supervision so we could do anything.
For the next seven years all I did was party. I guess I was just really good at it. I was constantly in and out of relationships, in and out of jobs, and in and out of places.
Then one night I messed up really bad. I got black out drunk downtown and had some charges brought up. You could say this was my wake up call.
My ex-girlfriend’s mom let me stay with her for five days. During that time we watched the videos on the Dream Centre’s website. I remember there was one in particular that stood out to me. As this person was sharing his story and what he had gone through, I couldn’t stop thinking ‘That is me. That’s my life.’
I broke down and knew that was where I needed to go. The next day the phone call was made and I entered their 49-Day Recovery Program shortly after.
When I first came to the Dream Centre, I felt like I already knew everything. I thought I had everything figured out. Thankfully, my case managers challenged me. It was uncomfortable because they told me all the stuff I didn’t want to hear but needed to hear.
I had been partying in order to numb what I was actually feeling. Once the alcohol and drugs weren’t there, I started to feel all these emotions.
I needed to find other ways to fill the gap that partying once filled. Gaining healthy relationships, getting connected in the local church community, learning how to be a kid again, and regaining my passion for basketball have all been huge pieces of my recovery.
I used to love having fun – playing sports, jumping on the trampoline, home free tag, running around with my buddies. I lost all that in my addiction. I always had to be this tough guy, so learning to let those walls down and just have a good time has been incredible.
I remember going on a hike while I was in the recovery program. We got up to this waterfall and my friend and I decided to climb to the top of it. It was thrilling to get up there and fully experience the moment. A while later I ran into this same friend and the first thing he said was “Douglas! Do you remember the waterfalls?”
I think those sober memories are so powerful. They stick with you throughout your journey of recovery and can really help when you find yourself in a challenging place. I’m thankful to be making new ones every day.
From where I started to where I am now, it’s crazy how much I’ve grown. The Dream Centre has impacted me in so many ways. The biggest thing about this place is that if you want to change, then you will come here, and you will change.