I don’t remember much of my self-destructive journey with drugs and alcohol but I do remember waking up in a hospital after an overdose that almost ended my life at 19. At the foot of my hospital bed my father had his arms wrapped around my mother while she wept. I wasn’t sure if her tears were tears of fear, relief or anger.
Lying there, I really didn’t know how I’d gone from a happy go-lucky young girl entering grade nine to someone who had almost died of an overdose near the end of high school. I didn’t know how to tell my parents all the things I had kept from them. How could I tell them that I had been dealing drugs to support my habit? That I had a boyfriend who had been abusing me? That I had been raped while high, twice? Could I tell them that one of those rapes left me pregnant? Or that I had abused alcohol and drugs so much that I lost the baby?
Lying in that hospital bed was one of my darkest moments. What I didn’t know that morning was – with the love of my parents and the support of the Dave Smith Youth Treatment Centre – I could reclaim my life before it was too late. But my journey to wellness wasn’t an easy one. I resisted help, I thought I could manage on my own. What I realized was that I couldn’t or, I wouldn’t.
Last December, my gift to myself and my parents was a stay in a detox facility. That’s when the light went on for me. That’s when I knew I had to put my life in the hands of the Dave Smith Youth Treatment Centre. I arrived at their front door on New Year’s Day 2017. During my time at the Dave Smith Centre, it really sunk in that I could live a more positive, hopeful and healthy life. Learning that I wasn’t alone meant the world to me. Being cared for by people who never passed judgement but also held me accountable was exactly what I needed. My mind became clearer, I let go of my anger and sadness, and my future became something I could plan for again
Part of my fresh start at the centre was discovering my purpose. I know that there are other teenagers today that are going through what I went through. I know that there are other loving parents who live in fear of losing a child. I’ve regained my relationship with loving parents and my older sister who never stopped loving me in spite of what I put them through, so please don’t give up, no matter how hard it is.
I’m now in college with the goal of becoming an addiction counsellor like my heroes at the Dave Smith Youth Treatment Centre. One day I hope to be changing lives like Sue, Amy and all the others at Dave Smith. I want to make the same kind of difference. I’ve realized that people like you, who generously support the Dave Smith Youth Treatment Centre are an important part of my story. Thank you for helping to change my life.
Will you join me in making a difference today? Your donation of $25, $50 or more could change a young life. It could even save a young life. I can’t imagine a better holiday gift.
Thank you for letting me share my story.
I HOPE YOU HAVE A HAPPY HOLIDAY SEASON.