Alumni of the Month June 2016

Alumni of the monthMy name is Eric V., and I can honestly say that The Last Door saved my life.  Never in a million years would I have thought that my life would have gotten to a point of where it did.  My testimonial goes to show that no matter what background you come from, who you were in the past, what you did, what you used, or how you lived your life, that the feelings and the behaviours are all the same.

Before coming to The Last Door I would rarely drink (sometimes as infrequently as once every 2-3 months) and had only ever used drugs three times in my life.  My addiction was playing video games, watching online video game streams, and Netflix.  All these things I saw others doing and never would have thought that they would become unmanageable for me.  Up until the age of 18 my life was still in control.  I was enrolled in University for Engineering, I was responsible financially, and I had many social connections in my life.  The instant I had the first glimpse of independence and the freedom to do whatever I wanted, my life started to spiral downhill.  It started off slowly with me not completing one assignment or skipping one class, but that soon progressed to me avoiding all responsibilities.  I stopped going to classes altogether, avoided my friends, and isolated in my room; only leaving to get the occasional meal or to use the bathroom.  Following that pattern I flunked out of university only to return home depressed and with a sense of helplessness.

That was my first look into me being an addict.  It took me another 7 years until I was able to accept who I was and to start using that term to describe myself.  Over those 7 years I had lots of ups and downs.  Mostly down.  A story I use to explain just how bad it got for me is to describe what my average day in addiction looked like.  I was still living at home with my parents at this point in my life.  I woke up around 6am to get ready and to head out for work.  I would make a show of noisily getting ready for work to signify to my family that I was leaving the house and heading to work, sometimes even saying bye if someone was awake.  I would get into my car and begin driving.  While I was driving I would phone into my boss and tell him that I was sick, or whatever excuse I was using for that day, and that I would yet again be unable to show up for work.  I would continue driving until I got to a parking lot behind the municipal dump, a place that rarely saw any vehicles come and go.  It was as isolated of a spot as I could possibly find.  I then proceeded to watch Netflix and Twitch.TV (an online video game streaming website) for the rest of the day on my phone.  When it was getting close towards the end of my “work day” I would get out of my car and go to the trunk of it.  Here I had a bag of sawdust that I would sprinkle on myself to make it look like I had been working hard all day (I worked in a wood shop).  I then would proceed to drive home and tell my family how good of a day I had at work and what I was working on.  This went on for quite some time.

Somehow I was able to keep employment through lying and manipulating the situations to always portray myself as the victim.  Eventually my life progressed to such a point that I was unable to continue going on the way I was.  I did not want to continue living my life, but did not have the guts to do anything about it.  I was ready to accept help if it was given to me but I was not quite ready to reach out for it.  Through one of the talks I had at work, where I was given an ultimatum to seek professional help, I started talking to someone professionally.  I started out by filling out questionnaire after questionnaire.  Each test spit out the same result.  I was a drug addict without the drugs or alcohol.  This is where I slowly began to stop resisting and started to accept who I truly was.  I was the referred to a place out in Vancouver that could help me with my problem.  That place was The Last Door.

I phoned in to The Last Door and started talking to someone on the phone and I heard a story.  A story of someone who, like me did not have a problem with drugs or alcohol, but had come through for video games. His name was Kurt and he is the reason why I decided to go to a recovery house full of drug addicts.  I am so grateful for Kurt and his story as well as The Last Door, because without him and without The Door, I would not be where I am today.

April 15th, 2015.  That was the day when I came to The Last Door I had no idea what to think at first.  This was a brand new place, where in my mind I was still all alone with no one who could relate with me anywhere near me.  It did not take me very long to understand just how wrong I was.  I began telling people my story and listened to theirs.  When they would talk I felt like they were telling my story but just changing small details around.  It gave me goosebumps.  I have never felt such an overwhelming sense of belonging in my life since coming to The Last Door.  I was constantly searching throughout my life to describe the void I had, and only by coming to treatment was I able to start working on filling it.  I have developed so many connections with those that have helped me along the way and I like to think that I have done the same for countless others as well.  The Door has so much to offer for all aspects of recovery and what is needed to fully support someone and their loved ones through all aspects of addiction.

I don’t ever really feel like I have left The Last Door.  Upon completion of primary care I was given support through transitioning back into everyday life. One of the benefits of The Last Door is that once someone completes treatment, they get to keep their key to the house.  They can come back whenever they want to hang out, to play chess, to receive support, or for whatever reason they might have.  Every week I go to the Wednesday night alumni group, and I try to come by the house whenever I have free time to volunteer by helping make lunch for the guys at the house or to spend time getting to know those that are new.  The Last Door will always feel like home to me.  I feel blessed every time I get to the house and I open the door with my key.

Coming to treatment is honestly the best decision I have made in my life.  If I was given the chance to change my past I would not change a single thing.  Everything that has happened in my life has brought me to where I am now and who I have become and I can honestly say that I love my life today.  That is what matters after all.  Thank you to all those at The Last Door that have helped me get to the point of where I am today.  I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for you.  I am honored to be alumni and am so grateful for all the potential

I now have in my life from being one.

Eric V, clean date – April 15th, 2015