My journey with mental health and addictions has been a roller coaster. For most of my life, I was able to stay away from substances that can be harmful. But when life got tough, those were the go-to for me to help me cope.
I first started using drugs in my home town of New Glasgow, Nova Scotia. It began innocently enough—just marijuana and drinking alcohol with friends on nights out. But then things reached a tipping point and quickly progressed to regular partying; doing cocaine and crystal methamphetamine (ice) before long.
All of this led to an eventual dependency setting in. Shortly after, I started to exhibit signs of depression and extreme anxiety. I remember thinking no one understood what I was going through or how much pain I was in on the inside. In doing so, it pushed me further into darker places which only made things worse. The good thing was that at least I recognized that something had to change; my addiction was controlling my life.
It wasn’t until last year that I took the necessary steps to get clean and sober with the help of my family, friends, employer, and mentor(s). To get here it took a village; surrounding myself with people who were willing to support me through this journey because there are still challenges in living an addicted life—even without drugs and alcohol being involved—that must be addressed early on!
I’m grateful for having gone through this process as it taught me a great deal about myself including how resilient we can be if given just half of a chance. With resilience comes understanding; understanding that we are all unique individuals embarking upon our own journeys whether they include addiction or not!