Spiritual Rags to Riches
I have spent my entire adult life addicted to substances of all kinds. It was my way of coping with childhood traumas.
My ego-centric interpretation of circumstances and events that occurred in my younger years left me reeling with a mind-set of self-absorbed victimization and oppression. I did not purposely adopt this state of delusional thinking patterns or intentionally choose to become a lifetime drug addict & alcoholic.
From the early childhood trauma of my father’s suicide in the presence of my family; the childhood domestic abuse from a step-father; onto the streets of Toronto to be trafficked in sexual abuse by the age of 13; I found myself using hard street drugs and alcohol to escape the reality of existence. This certainly was not the life of loving and caring humans the Holy Bible described. I learned of the corruption of mankind fast. It became a rapid catch 22 cycle almost immediately. I used substances to numb myself to the reality of allowing the things being done, in order to gain the money required to get the street drugs needed, to numb myself so I could further allow the things that needed to be done to get the money…..and onto the roller coaster of insanity I jumped.
By age 15, I was moved from Cecil Faser Reform School into a Teen Psychiatric Facility to be diagnosed as “Emotionally Disturbed” only to be further abused by a counsellor employed there. By 16, I was doing time at Montieth Correctional Centre, transferred from young offender to adult at age 18.
Needless to say, my life was set before me without much control or direction. I was a drug addicted criminal & menace to society, and a massive failure at every relationship that I encountered. I had zero faith or trust in humanity at any level. This went on for 40 years, deeper, harder, faster.
In my conclusion, drugs were a means of survival and every day a fight to stay alive.
Believe it or not, I managed to live through 40 of my 54 years as a misguided, tunnel visioned, angry, selfish, drug addict and alcoholic. I took on many personas of character depending on which crowd of users I chose to hang with, in whichever city I was in. On the run from town to town, looking for someone I knew I was, but could not find. Wherever I went, there I was…and I had to hide from who I thought I was supposed to be. From the first chapter of Charles Dickens “A Tale of Two Cities”, “it was the best of times, it was the worst of times…epoch of incredulity, etc”.
I finally reached the absolute jumping off point in 2018. I could no longer continue living the way I was living and I did not know how to fit into the created society of work, eat, sleep, repeat. There was nothing left but to follow my father’s foot-steps. Ironically, or spiritually, depending on your outlook, a little girl reached out to me at this very time and said “I want to know you dad?” I remembered having a child or two somewhere throughout my turbulent existence but they had been far removed long ago. Yet here was a message before me. How could I allow this young life to know me if I did not know who I was myself? This was the crossroads, and this is literally where Crossroads, Thunder Bay became my greatest stepping stone to a chance at authenticity.
I reached out to them via the detox centre in the city where I was. Their response was that if I could find my way to Thunder Bay, I would be given a bed at their Recovery Centre. The only stipulation was that I also had to have a date booked for a Treatment Centre. After booking at Sister Margaret Smith Centre and confirming a start date in December of 2018, I was in Thunder Bay Detox on October 31st 2018 and in Crossroads Recovery home on November 1st.
The process was probably the most trying and difficult thing I’ve ever done for myself. Learning how to allow others to help me was a huge risk. I had been burned deeply for most of my life. Here, at Crossroads, and through the exemplary professional staff at Sister Margaret Smith Centre, I came to believe in a power greater than myself. Over a period of a couple of years I began to learn that some people were in support of my best interest and that there were a few good people left on our earth.
During these years, I rejoined the essence of life. In fact, a large part of reconnecting with life was due to the pristine natural beauty of Thunder Bay and the surrounding environment. From Ouimet Canyon to Kakabeka, and Silver Falls; from Pigeon River to the Sleeping Giant; From Lake Superior to Hazelwood, Oliver Lake and all the inland waterways, and the veiny rivers of earth’s life giving blood. I found my natural existence as a part of life and no longer apart from it. Between the spectacular sunrises and sunsets, the fresh crisp air, the large forests and massive water, I was alive again.
I began to see how contributing to life was a simple psychic change needed to alter the state of perception I had adopted from a young age. The energy I was emitting was attracting like energy. So upon the next invitation, I chose to try rejoining humanity and society as well. Because I was a little hesitant of most people, I worked with a counsellor who directed me to a place called Roots to Harvest where I could contribute to life without having to be in direct contact with most of human society. By literally getting back to the ground and the earth, I regained humility as a being, where life is deserving and provided simply because we are participating in the contribution to it ourselves. My energy and my psychic perspective began attracting a more positive and growth producing energy. It became evident that my worst decision as a sober person far out-weighed my best decision making abilities when high or drunk. WOW! What a concept!
Without a doubt, Thunder Bay and the community of people I have become acquainted with have proven to be what I needed to experience in order to stay alive. There are always critics and nay-sayers, but for the most part, this landscape of natural wonder and the humble, honest and friendly people I have surrounded myself with have literally changed and saved my life here.
On an ending note, I just want to say that I am sincerely and regrettably deeply sorry that I did not have the capacity to be a better man for the best part of my life. Many people were hurt by me in many ways. The only possible way for me to truly show my remorse is by living one day at a time doing the best I can, to do the next right thing. They refer to this as a living amends. Secondly, I am more grateful than words can express to the people in this community that have had the patience and tolerance to allow me to grow up slowly. It is still a long journey to social maturity.
Finally I’d like to leave you with the knowledge that my daughter and I are in contact weekly. We connect through social media; mostly when she wants something; which is an absolute privilege for me to provide. She is getting to know me as quickly as I am getting to know myself. It is a beautiful thing to grow alongside my child. Thank you, Thunder Bay.