Most of my childhood was spent in India. I grew up in a loving and joyous home. I had everything a child could need. My mother was an elementary school teacher, and my father was an officer in the army. Though my father was often away for work, I shared a strong connection with him. His presence always felt like a strong security blanket surrounding me, he made me feel safe.
As a child, I dreamed of becoming an officer in the army, just like my dad.
That dream died when I turned eleven, and my father passed away unexpectedly. The years to follow were hard. Our family started to struggle both emotionally and financially. I lost that sense of security I had always felt as a child with my dad around. I felt emotionally hollow. I struggled to connect with other loved ones around me, because I was afraid to lose them too.
My mother’s side of the family lived in Canada, and we moved to be close to them when I was 16 years old. I was excited to be in Canada so I could begin a new chapter of my life. I had several cousins who were close to my age, and they helped make my transition to a new country smooth.
It was in high school when I started using drugs for the first time. I would smoke marijuana to fit in with my peers. I thought it was normal for people my age to be doing drugs. After high school, I continued to use drugs while partying.
I watched two of my good friends pass away within a year of each other. It was around this time I started using harder drugs. Despite the pain of losing my friends, I didn’t think that the drug use could be connected to past trauma. I thought I was just using them to have a good time.
I became what you would call a “functioning addict”. I held down a job, had a home and was connected to family. However, I was becoming more and more dependent on drugs. I realized I might have a problem, so I enrolled in a treatment centre. I thought it would cure me of my addiction and I could come back home and live normally.
Not even 24 hours passed after I completed the program before I was using drugs again. I thought I was strong enough to control it. However, it ended up controlling me. I blew through my savings, lost my job and my relationship with my family became strained.
I felt like my life was not worth living anymore. I called up a family member to make amends and say goodbye. After speaking with them, I hung up and found some train tracks. I laid down on them, waiting for the train to come and end my life.
Thankfully, the train never came. The police did instead. My family had called them because they were worried about me. They took me to Alpha House where I detoxed for several days. While I was at Alpha House, I met someone who had applied to come to the Dream Centre. They encouraged me to apply as well. At this point, I had nothing to lose. I called up the intake coordinator and was enrolled in the Men’s Recovery Program right away.
There is something about the Dream Centre that made me feel loved right away. I saw total strangers care about me, despite my past or defects. My case manager helped me realize I was worth saving. I was taught how to look within myself and face my inner pain.
I’ve learned here that I am loved, and that I don’t have to do this life on my own. Recovery is not easy, and I’m grateful I’ve learned how to ask for help when I need it. I used to see vulnerability as a sign of weakness, but now I’ve realized it takes strength.
I’ve since graduated from the program and am six months sober! I currently work and reside at the Dream Centre and spend my time helping others find recovery. Though I am in my late thirties, I’m basically restarting my life!
During my time at the Dream Centre, I have discovered new dreams for my future.
I dream now of becoming an industrial mechanic, of owning my own home again and hopefully one day finding someone to settle down with. I’m learning that stepping into your dreams requires you to be intentional about day-to-day living. I ask myself each day, what am I doing now that will get me one step closer to realizing my dreams?
One of the steps I am taking is to go back to school this fall so I can begin my mechanic training. I always dreamed of going back to school, but I was not motivated when I was on drugs. I’m very excited to move forward in my future and help others like me along the way!