The Best Feeling
June 16th, 2017
I first started struggling with addiction in grade nine. My mom wanted me to come to treatment and get help since then, but ‘’I didn’t have a problem’’. For my grade 12 year, I decided the answer would be moving to Ottawa to live with my Aunt and Uncle and my three cousins. For the first 2 months I was maintaining going to school and work everyday until I met, ‘’friends’’, there that were one and the same as my, ‘’friends’’, in Kitchener. I also got in over my head as I hadn’t been in school in almost a year prior and I registered for four University classes, which I started falling behind in before I knew it. That’s when my principal at John McRae suggested I go to Wynwood alternative to earn credits at my own pace and potentially at a more appropriate level.
I started in Life Skills, which was a mandatory class to start at Wynwood. It was a two month course and yet again, for the first month and a half I did extremely well. I was on time everyday, completed homework, handed in assignments punctually. Until the last two weeks of the course when I started making, ‘’friends’’, again and got right back into my old drinking and drug habits. My teacher who I had a solid relationship with, watched me slip as well as Marla, my Rideauwood Addiction Counselor. Meanwhile my home life was falling apart too in the midst of all this. As well, my ‘’friends’’ were just using me for money, drugs, sex or whatever the case may be. When I realized right before Christmas that I had no money saved up, no real friends, no family that was pleased with me, no self esteem and everyday was a bender… I knew I had to come to Dave Smith Youth Treatment Centre. My family was more optimistic knowing that I’ve finally recognized I had a problem and wanted to get help for it, however there was still that doubt in everyone’s mind that I wouldn’t go through with it. After the Christmas break I moved out on my own and things got worse before they got better. Sometimes I didn’t even know if I wanted to follow through with going to treatment because I was having ‘’fun’’ and had the most freedom I’ve ever had in my life. On the other hand, sometimes I felt like my life was on pause and I’d be stuck forever. I was only going to school to see Marla to work on the process of getting in and when I wasn’t at school I wasn’t able to be reached. Although despite what I just said, I knew even in my using mind that I wanted more for myself.
From the second I arrived at Dave Smith I felt more at ease like this was my actual fresh start. All the girls were really friendly which made me feel welcome. While I’ve been here, I’ve learned the three steps in ACRA, healthy communication and I’ve been applying it when talking to my mom and others within the house. I’ve also been working on my assertiveness skills and they have come a long way. I now feel confident in my ability to say ‘’no’’ to people when I’m uncomfortable with what they’re asking and that also plays into my self esteem, I feel good about myself when I’m able to say how I feel in a respectful manner. Also, my goal was to get 4 credits while being here and I’m now leaving with 6 instead, that makes me feel capable and sets me on track to graduate in the winter. Another one of my goals before I came in here was to run everyday on the treadmill which lasted the first month and then I started to decrease the amount I worked out, finding more of a healthy balance for myself. Also I can finally make my mom proud, and treat her how she deserves to be treated because I am happy with myself and don’t feel the need to take my anger out on her because she’s never done anything but try to help me so it’s time I start giving back.
I will take away from the program all these valuable skills I’ve learned and how my therapist, teacher, and the counselors are so empathetic and helpful. Before I came into treatment I didn’t know who I was, I did things because others wanted me to or because I wanted to be more like them or wanted them to like me more, I had little to no self confidence and I was very passive aggressive, I’d let things happen or give in to things I didn’t want to and feel poorly after. Leaving here I’ve never felt better. I know who I am, what I stand for and what I want out of life. Moving forward I plan to remain abstinent and I am hopeful and excited for my future. I cannot wait to make new positive, healthy friends and enjoy life. This summer I am doing an aesthetics course that will count towards my high school diploma and in September I am going to an adult learning centre to finish my last credits to graduate. From there on I will work until the following September and that’s when I plan on going to Conestoga College to take the two year Social Service Worker program to touch other adolescents lives how Dave Smith has touched mine.