0-4 years old
Born addicted to heroin. Biological mother was 15 and a heroin
addict. Biological father was in his
thirties and of Italian origin. He left
as soon as he became aware that my mother was pregnant. My mother came from Khanawake a Mohawk
reservation just outside of Montreal Quebec.
No Caucasians are permitted on reserve, and Mohawks are not permitted to
date, marry or have children with non-natives.
As a result my mother was forced to move off the reservation. She did keep me for a while, but she had her
own problems. One night she had left me
alone in our apartment. I remember
climbing out of my crib, climbing up a dresser where I found a box of Contact-C
on top of the dresser. I remember
thinking they looked good to eat, so I did.
I remember being hurriedly wheeled down a glaringly bright hallway with
my mother screaming and crying at my side.
Then a large black thing was placed over my mouth. I now realize this was a stomach pump. I remember having electrodes of some sort
very painfully attached to my head. I
suspect this was to determine whether I had sustained any brain damage, and if
I had; to what degree. At some point
after this I was put up for adoption. I
went through 11 foster families before the age of 4 when I was finally
adopted. A Scottish family were the
ones to adopt me.
- Prior to being adopted, the last foster family I lived with had
attempted to adopt me, but the social service had denied their application
based on their age.
- At this same foster family I remember the only time I was ever
physically disciplined. I was given
a spanking with a belt due to my accidentally killing a baby duck
- 4-11 years old
- The day I arrived at the Brown family
residence I promptly hid under a table in their basement and would not come out
from under it. Their one biological son
did try to coax me out from under it for a short while, but my adoptive parents
never even came down to see if I was OK.
Their Dalmatian dog did come and sit under the table with me as I cried
and cried. To this day I prefer animals
went to school and always excelled academically. Behaviorally I was constantly in trouble for
fighting, swearing, and not doing as I was told. In grade 5 I was being bullied by another boy
in my grade. He ran at me and I moved to
the side and stuck out my leg to trip him.
He fell with his mouth open and wound up knocking one of his front teeth
out on the playground asphalt. The
principal wanted to expel me but the law in Quebec was that if you wanted to
expel a student under a certain age you had to find another school willing to
take that student. They were unable to
find one for me so I stayed on at that school.
My adoptive father was a police officer at work and a warden at home. Needless to say this incident infuriated
him. He sent me to my room for 2 months
except for school and meals. I refused
to go to my room and he screamed and yelled something or other. My response was; “you’re not my real father,
so why should I listen to you”.
retrospect I believe that this when he decided that he wanted as little as
possible to do with me. Because his
subsequent behaviors did in fact indicate that there was no love or nurturing
between us. Things got progressively
worse from this point on.
began hoarding cookies under my bed, and whenever I was sent to my room I would
gorge myself on them. This I now can see
was the first warning sign that addiction would play a big part in my
life. I began shoplifting magazines from
the corner store.
I also began running
way from home around this time. This is
when he began sending me to more foster families for short periods of time.
I was strapped during my first
4 years at my elementary school.
I remember being forced into a
stranger’s car after throwing a snowball at it.
He took me home and told my adoptive mother what I had done. Though he did not tell me that was what he
was doing. I was terrified…
I remember an incident where I
was playing with matches and a bush next to a neighbors house caught on
fire. I used their hose to put it out,
but flooded their basement in doing so.
Grounded for 6 months as a result.
11-15 years old
At 11 years old I was sent to a locked unit
for juvenile delinquents, despite the law in Quebec prohibiting anyone under
the age of 12 being put in one. I had
committed no crimes so I was given a six-month sentence under the youth
protection act. From there they sent me
to a youth shelter where I was introduced to other children who were young
offenders. While at this shelter I
became aware of sex and drugs, although I participated in neither, yet… My last evening at this shelter I was choked
unconscious by another youth also named Andy.
I was sent back to the locked unit until they found another place for
me. The place they found for me was for
all intents and purposes a children’s prison.
There I learned more about violence, and even used it against the staff when
they tried to put me in the hole for something or other. I was given another 6 months under the youth
protection act due to my adoptive father not being prepared to have me back at
his home. They tried putting me in a
succession of foster families in various municipalities. None of which ended well. Enter the judge and yet another 6-month
sentence. At this point I was sent to
Shawbridge Youth Centres. Here they had
several open units called cottages, as well as 2 locked units. I did fairly well here and I was sent to one
of their group homes in Laval, a predominantly French-speaking municipality
that is also a home base for the Hell’s Angels in Quebec. While at this group home the house father /
mother became convinced that I was using drugs and sent me back to S.Y.C. to
one or the other of the locked units for 14 days, known as a “zap”. It is important to make clear that up to and
including this time I had not used any drugs yet. This cycle repeated itself ad nauseam until I
was sent to a different group home also operated by S.Y.C.
At this point I was enrolled in a public high school where I did begin
smoking hash and pot. I also tried a
substance called rush but did not like it.
I also joined my first band at this time and we won a talent competition
held by the high school. Not long after
this I was expelled from this school for being on LSD in English class.
Back to S.Y.C. campus I went. At this point I went A.W.O.L every chance I
got; locked unit or not. During one of
my Zaps a friend whom I looked up to started a riot and when the S.W.A.T. team
breached the unit he used the top of a soup can to slice his wrist. He never regained the use of his left
hand. This made a big impression on me
as he was kind of like a big brother who looked out for me when other
adolescents tried to bully me. This
cycle of open unit, A.W.O.L. locked unit continued until my adoptive mother
called me and told me that if I behaved myself I would be taken to Disney World
Florida with the family. So I behaved
and did very well in school. I finished
English and French grade 11 while I was still in grade 8. I continued to do well until the week came
when I was supposed to leave for Disney World with the family. The day before we were to get on the plane,
my adoptive mother called me and told me that my adoptive father had decided that
I would not be going with them after all.
Due in no small part to his belief that once in the U.S. I would run
away and go to Los Angeles to pursue my aspirations of making it in the music
industry. I immediately went A.W.O.L.
and was again caught and brought back to a locked unit. When I was 15 years old I was brought back to
court and my adoptive father had the adoption annulled, thus I was now a ward
of the court. I went A.W.O.L. from the
courthouse that day. During this
A.W.O.L. I met and was befriended by the president of the “Ghost Riders”
motorcycle gang; who introduced me to freebasing cocaine. It was the best thing I had ever felt. I also met the love of my life at this
point. Tabatha. I still love her to this day. I got a job bagging groceries and an
apartment. I began using crack more and
15-26 years old
Unbeknownst to Tabatha I also began collecting welfare, because at
that time it was still possible to do this.
Our relationship flourished at first and we got engaged and moved in
together. I maintained my job, and
continued collecting welfare. However it
just wasn’t enough to support my growing need for crack cocaine. So one evening when I was 17 I joined a guy
in doing an armed robbery with an unloaded pellet gun. My relationship with Tabatha began
deteriorating around this time as my cocaine use was spiraling very badly out
of control. Although I don’t know why,
she hung on with me until the day I sold a stereo her grandma had given her for
her birthday, as well as her engagement ring.
That was it; she was done with me.
Around this time I was arrested for robbing a taxi driver. I was offered a 4-month sentence in exchange
for my testimony in regards to several other robberies I had participated in as
well the names of the other participants.
So at 17 years old I was sentenced as an adult, and sent to a
minimum-security provincial prison. I
began giving the officers at that prison information on the participants in
that prison’s drug trade and the ways and means with which they did so. 2 months into my sentence my adoptive mother
passed away from ovarian cancer. 2 weeks
later I was released on a humanitarian early release. At this point I went to live with my auntie
in a different borough of Montreal. I began
using cocaine again for a short while.
At least until I rekindled a romance with a girl I had fooled around
with as an adolescent. I was using her
to assuage my broken heart over messing things up with Tabatha. This was my longest relationship, however. We had a son.
Although I did not love her like I had Tabatha, I did try to do the
right thing by her. I loved my son for
sure, but cocaine and alcohol had a tight grip on me once again. I returned to jail many time during this time
due to my drinking and our constant fighting which led to me uttering threats,
which I had no intention in fulfilling, but the judge didn’t care. We split up for awhile and I moved back in
with my auntie. I continued drinking and
I began smoking pot profusely. It was paid
for by my auntie as a means of keeping me off cocaine; it worked for quite some
time. During this time I went to college
and earned a degree in computer assisted sound design. However by the end of my courses I had begun
using cocaine yet again. I had $4000.00
left over from my student loan and this very quickly went into my cocaine
habit. When the money ran out, I was
devastated to find myself homeless with my new girlfriend. She began prostituting herself to support our
drug habits and us. Shortly after she
had begun doing this I got hired as a drug dealer for some very bad
people. I did very well for them until
one evening when the Montreal police apprehended me with 75 individually
wrapped $20 rocks. I went to jail but
made an agreement to be released on my own recognizance as long as I provided
them with information, which would lead to the dismantling and arrest of the
individuals within the organization. I
still had to go to court on the P.W.I. charge however and the morning of my
preliminary inquiry my girlfriend and I boarded a bus to Toronto.
26-40 years old
While in Toronto we quickly found our way
into the drug circle. My girlfriend took
off for a few days with another guy.
When she returned we moved to Barrie Ontario. Again we found ourselves immersed in the drug
using populace of Barrie. At this point
she decided to become an escort, and I tolerated it. Although I was sure I was going straight to
hell for having anything to do with it.
At one point my feelings regarding her job became overwhelming and we
decided to leave Barrie for Vancouver.
We wanted to clean up and start fresh.
Our thinking was we didn’t know any dealers in BC, so we simply wouldn’t
seek out any. If only it were that
simple for me, but it is not. We were
very fortunate and got many rides on the way to Vancouver. The last fellow that gave us a ride said he
would let us out once we got past a certain neighborhood. I asked why and he replied that this
neighbourhood was teeming with junkies, dealers and hookers. Thinking that this area would also have
homeless shelters I requested that he let us out in this neighborhood. He shook his head and let us out wishing us
well… She returned to prostitution, and
I did something I never thought I would ever do. I became an intravenous drug user. Things got worse between her and I and we
decided to part ways. This left me in a
state of loneliness, the severity of which I have never experienced before or
since. Here I was a junkie, in a strange
city, with no one at my side or to turn to.
I was again terrified… It wasn’t
long before a drug dealing ring operating out of the S.R.O. I was living in
began sniffing around my door. Before
long I was selling dope for them, I wasn’t good at it though; as I was my own best
customer. I got beat up by one of the
gang members, and told that if I did not go into detox my legs would be
broken. I got in very quickly. While in detox I reflected on certain events
that transpired while I was working with these people. I acknowledged that they represented the
family I had always wanted, but I also recognized that my experiences had
tarnished the somewhat rosy view I had had of gang life. I have spent many years in and out of
recovery since making the decision to leave that life behind. I have always done well for varying periods
of time, but these periods have historically been followed by a still worse
relapse. About 10 years ago I was
diagnosed with HIV and Hepatitis C. I
went on my worst relapse ever. I was
determined to kill myself with drugs. I
did not though, and it was at the end of this relapse that I came back to a
recovery facility called King Haven.
This was one of the best summers of my life and I stayed clean for 11
months after attending there. Something
had changed; I was on fire for recovery.
After this I went to Cornerstone Manor recovery homes where I continued
to do well. So well in fact that I
became a paid cook as well as a head monitor who represents the authority of
the facility’s owner for the clients. It
was during this time that I accepted Jesus into my heart and was baptized. I also became an active volunteer for my
church, and even attended the church’s leadership training. I stayed at Cornerstone until they
closed. At which time a friend and I
opened Redemption House, a Christian discipleship recovery facility. Our egos clashed however and as he was the
financial backer of our ministry I was out on my ear. This affected me deeply. The house fell apart under his guidance and
it was rescued by our church and is now called Redemption Ministries. I went back to my addiction as a result of my
disappointment at this dream of mine falling apart. I stayed in my addiction for another 5 years,
accumulating for the first time in y 12 years a handful of charges including a
few theft unders, and one trafficking charge for selling a $20 rock to an
undercover agent of the RCMP in Surrey. .
Last year on March 122012 I was drugged and sexually
assaulted. The Surrey RCMP chose not to
investigate or pursue the matter. This
affected me in the most profound way.
Tired of this lifestyle, and very upset at myself for ruining my chances
at a pardon for the next 7 years or so I applied to Maple Ridge Treatment
Centre and was accepted pending my successful completion of Creek side detox
program. I have since come to many
decisions. Not the least is to never
again allow myself to be put into a position where sexual assault is something
I may be in danger of. This can be
accomplished by not using drugs anymore.
Dealing with my pain and hurts in a healthy way, instead of running away
from my feelings I talk about them with trained professionals, or with some
peers whom I trust. MRTC blessed me with
several of these individuals. I am more
determined than I have ever been to make all the necessary
changes I have been running from my entire life.
- I have always been unwilling to do things someone else’s way.
- I have always been too cowardly to face my realities in a
healthy manner, instead resorting to anger, depression, suicidal, drugs
- These are my old ways and they stop here.
- I am now willing to take and use good advice.
- To make necessary changes.
- To face my fears and feelings in a healthy manner.
- I practice humility now, and fully admit that I do not always
have the best ideas and someone else might know better or know something
that can help me.
- I can now admit that I do need help, and can accept it when it
is offered, and ask for it when needed.
- I have surrendered myself to the MRTC program based on the
bio-psycho-social model of recovery, also known as the wellness wheel.
- It is my plan to continue living this way and to become a
responsible and productive member of society.