Addiction leads to some pretty dark places. I have seen them first hand. For years my life was a never-ending cycle of unhappiness that bordered on unbearable. I was suicidal and close to death a number of times.
The first seed of recovery came to me through AA. For a while I was a revolving door of sobriety. I would stay clean for awhile and then return to drinking and using. Each time I went out it was as bad as ever. Still, I never fully committed to recovery. I continued to hold out hope that I could drink or use normally. By that I mean in a way that wouldn’t destroy me.
For a while I thought a geographical cure would fix everything. I left the continent to start over in a place where no one knew me and I could leave the baggage of my addiction behind. It didn’t work out that way though. Drinking soon consumed me and everything fell apart.
When I was finally ready, the help I needed was right here in Calgary. I called my AA sponsor the morning after my last drink. He was an Alumni of 1835 House and recommended the program here. I emailed the House, got the five days of recovery I needed, and came in for an interview.
I spent 108 days at the House and it fundamentally changed my life. It changed the way I think and the way I conduct myself. The friendships I made here were real and continue be a significant part of my recovery. Before I came to the House I didn’t really have good friendships. I feel overwhelming gratitude for these amazing gifts.
One of the many things that slipped away from me during my active addiction was the opportunity as a young person to discover a meaningful career that fits who I am at my best. I fell into a trade not because I loved it, but simply because I needed money and my drug dealers friend had a vacancy on his job site. I never felt it was my calling or that I was living up to my full potential.As my recovery evolved I moved into transitional housing and remained part of the 1835 community. I started working relief shifts at the House and volunteering at the Drop-In Center. I looked into school and started to make plans for a career change. Seeing how people at the House come back to life as they recover was my first glimpse at how gratifying it would be for me to work with people in recovery. I wanted to pass on the same gifts I had received to the new guys.
When the phone call from 1835 House came it actually took my breath away. I am so grateful for the opportunity to work here as a Counsellor. Some mornings I still wake up and can’t believe it. When I walked down the stairs into the House that first time, I never would have believed how much my life would change, or how good it can be.
1835 House Counsellor