Village of Hope Stories – Patrick


“I can’t put into words how much Dave Smith helped me. Without them, I’d probably still be struggling with addiction. Now, I’m studying welding in college, something I’ve wanted to do since I was a kid.”

My substance use started in high school. At first, I was smoking marijuana, but in grade 10 and 11 I started using heavier drugs like Xanax. It progressively got worse. In grade 12, I dropped out of high school halfway through and I went to work in construction for a little while. I stayed sober for that. But then I ran with the wrong crowd of people, and then that’s when I got back into addiction.

From my perspective, I felt like I just had a rough time growing up, with all these things going on around me. I lost people too, including a friend who died in a car accident, and that didn’t help. I struggled with depression throughout high school, and all these things led up to me making the wrong decisions. I was using drugs to numb my emotions and my thoughts – to keep them away. I knew it wasn’t good. It wasn’t the right way to cope.

I was using a lot of downers, including heroin and fentanyl, and I was hanging around with the wrong people. I knew it was a bad idea, but with the addiction talking, I did it anyway. After a while, I realized this was not the life I wanted to live, so I started looking into treatments. That’s when I found Dave Smith.

I talked to my friend and tried to get her interested in treatment, too, but she said, “nope”. I had to make the right decision for myself, so I called them. I learned that they would have an opening in the next few months and were willing to take me in. Dave Smith was the only place I called, and I was pretty happy about it.

Before I arrived at Dave Smith, I was really nervous. Even as we were driving in, I told my parents I didn’t want to do this. But they suggested I just try it. My first day there, I started to calm down, to settle in. I was still feeling very anxious because, to be honest, I didn’t know what was going to happen over the next three months. I didn’t know if it was going to help me or if I was going to be wasting my time. I was nervous about being away from home and in a brand-new environment and then the addiction was also talking, telling me, “Why quit now?”
I spent a lot of my time at the Centre writing stuff down, figuring things out and having an inner dialogue with myself about problematic situations. I was not self-aware at all in high school. I had to learn to set my own rules and boundaries for myself and to respect them.

The staff at Dave Smith are great. They’re really easy to talk to, and their problem-solving skills are amazing. They definitely helped me out in developing my own – having them show me how they go through the situations I went through. They helped me learn to ask myself, “Is this really a problem right now? Or is this not that big of a deal?”
I participated a lot in the group therapy sessions and they were very helpful. Just hearing other people’s stories and knowing you’re not the only one going through something. It’s motivating to hear other people’s stories and help each other out.

I didn’t want to leave when the three months ended, but the aftercare was really good. It was good talking to my counselor. He was a great guy and it was nice to have a chat every week so he could see how things were going and to make sure I was still on track with my goals. I wasn’t sure I would be able to do it on my own, but having that support afterwards really helped me.
I also went down to the dock every day to fish. It’s something I did a lot with my dad when I was a kid, and I enjoy it a lot. It’s so calming. I can sit there all day and I don’t have any worries about anything.

I can’t put into words how much Dave Smith helped me. I’d probably still be struggling with addiction to be honest with you. Now, I’m studying welding in college. It’s something I’ve wanted to do since I was a kid. I have one more semester to go and then I’ll be done.

There are really good people at Dave Smith. The staff are open-minded. They are there to help you. That’s something I think all the new people coming in should know about

Patrick is a former client of the Dave Smith Youth Treatment Centre.


Grand Opening May 2024!


112 Willowlea Road,
Carp, Ontario K0A 1L0
613-594-8333 ext.1201
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