In my youth, I struggled with addiction to drugs, but I managed to get all the way through my twenties keeping my drug abuse hidden and in check. I even managed to get myself into a relationship. After five years of being incapable of loving myself, my addiction and self doubt had disabled me from loving someone else, either. My girlfriend was beautiful, pursuing a successful nursing career and full of love, but it didn’t matter.
As time went on, I ended up needing major surgery on my Achilles tendon. Afterwards, I abused my painkillers until I was hopelessly addicted and depressed. I went through the methadone maintenance program, but my problems only got worse.
I hated myself, especially for all of my lies. I sabotaged any hope of saving my 8-year relationship with my girlfriend. Then I began to smoke crack cocaine. I spiralled further than ever into a hell of my own making. Finally, after my family had discovered my addiction and I’d stolen thousands from my girlfriend, I jumped on a plane and ran. I devastated everyone I knew, and I disappeared.
Eventually—when I’d lost all hope and didn’t care if I closed my eyes and never opened them again—I found myself at Kelowna’s Gospel Mission. It turns out that God works in mysterious ways. There I was, years after high school, tired of living, and resting my head in the same place that my childhood friend, Chris, was working to make a difference!
The morning after I arrived, they couldn’t wake me. They put me on bedrest and I slept for the next five days. Finally, I regained the strength to eat breakfast and stay up. That’s when Chris pulled me into his office, like an angel sent from heaven. “Look,” he said, “Is there anything I can do to help?”
The lessons I learned at the Gospel Mission have been integral to getting clean and staying clean.
Well that was it, I broke! With tears streaming down my face, I told him everything. The worst part was, I felt like I deserved it.
Chris listened and started to sort out the pieces. He worked closely with me and I started getting a little stronger each day. I reached out to my family again and started to repair burnt bridges.
Then a miracle happened! I felt a flicker of hope inside. After months of rebuilding, I finally felt strong enough to move to an intensive six week residential treatment centre nearby. Chris and I discussed at length the fact that I had done treatment before. We looked at some second stage treatment houses and contacted the one I currently live at, to coordinate the rest of my treatment. More success!
So now, looking back, I have been sober for a year as of May 4. Although I still struggle daily, I am cautiously optimistic that I may never use drugs again. I have hope for the future and I’m starting to believe that I’m worth saving. For the first time ever, I have an opportunity to rebuild my life, and lessons I learned at the Gospel Mission have been integral to getting clean and staying clean.
Thank you, Kelowna’s Gospel Mission, and please never stop giving the gift of hope back to those of us who thought it was lost forever.