“I was 19 when I got to Dave Smith and I enjoyed the program from the very beginning. It was very welcoming, and all the staff are invested in their work. It was a good, positive environment for me to step into.”
When I was in high school, around grade 10, I started using. Over the years, it progressed. I was just in a really bad place. I was struggling with my mental health, dealing with depression, anxiety and a pretty severe eating disorder. I was also in the midst of transitioning from female to male. Using was a form of self-medication.
After high school, I decided to take some time off and try to figure out what I wanted to do with my life. I kind of lost track of where I wanted to be and got into quite a bit of trouble. I landed myself in the hospital quite a few times due to over-intoxication. I was really not doing too well.
I was also getting into a lot of arguments with my parents that were getting more and more aggressive. I was kicked out of the house on a number of occasions. It got to the point where I was getting so intoxicated that I couldn’t function at work, and I couldn’t live a normal life. One night, I got into an argument with my parents that got physical and a bunch of property was damaged. I ended up getting sent to the hospital. When I woke up there the next morning, I started to think, “What am I doing to myself? Is this really worth it?”
From there, I ended up going to detox and stayed for about a month. The withdrawal was not pleasant. While there, I sent out a bunch of applications to different treatment centres, and Dave Smith was the first place I heard back from.
I was 19 when I got there and I enjoyed the program from the very beginning. It was very welcoming. All the staff are very invested in their work. It was a good, positive environment for me to step into. It was a bit anxiety provoking at first because I wasn’t sure what my goals were, but I felt very at home there from day one. There’s a lot to be said for Dave Smith being a youth-focused program. That really helped. When I was in detox I was with people who were up to 60 years old, and it’s kind of hard to relate to them.
Live-in treatment at Dave Smith was a good option for me because it limits your access to all the temptations that are out there. The staff at Dave Smith helped me stay away from that stuff for longer so I could process what I needed to process and get my head in the right space so I could move forward. It gave me a foundation so that when I got home, I could cope with the things that triggered me. Pretty much every group at Dave Smith helped me. So did the skills I learned in therapy. And all the pro-social activities we did – like going out for hikes and shooting basketball – helped me start associating having fun with things that don’t involve getting high.
All of us at Dave Smith were also very fortunate to be able to connect with Dr. Robert Milin, the consulting psychiatrist, as a lot of programs don’t offer psychiatric services. He is an expert when it comes to helping young people with addictions and mental health, and he really helped me feel better by assisting me in finding the medications that were right for me and my needs.
My parents also really benefited from the support they got from Shannon, the Family Therapist. They grew up in a generation where therapy was not normal for them, but from the first month, I noticed positive changes in the way they were talking to me. Before I went to treatment, they had a hard time addressing me as male as opposed to female and coming to terms with my transition. Things changed once they started talking to Shannon. They both did some pretty hard work, and I think me being away from home also gave them some breathing space to figure things out.
I’ve been clean now for almost 11 months. I’m doing a lot of pro-social activities like playing sports and going to the gym, while also eating healthy to fuel my body properly. I’m taking online courses now to become a certified personal trainer, and once I’m ready, I’ll go back to work. I’m also taking music lessons (I play guitar and piano).
There isn’t a day that goes by where I don’t think about my time in treatment in some way, shape or form, because I really did enjoy it. I wouldn’t be where I am today without Dave Smith. I think anybody who has the opportunity to go to the new centre once it opens is absolutely blessed. It’s going to be something pretty special.
Kadin is a graduate of the Dave Smith Youth Treatment Centre.
There’s been a lot of progress made on the new build!
112 Willowlea Road,
Carp, Ontario K0A 1L0
Charitable Registration # 88992 6242 RR0001