Alumni of the Month September 11 Don D

I am a first nations man who grew up in a northern town in Manitoba. I was faced with a lot of trauma and adversity mostly involving my family, alcoholism, abuse and death of loved ones. I tried drugs at the age of 14 and my life immediately changed. Drugs gave me friends, helped me overcome my teenage awkwardness, and eased the pain. My attendance, marks, and attitude in school changed immediately. I was living on my own at 14, paying my own way and didn’t see it as a problem, my friends thought I was cool cause I always had dope.Don D

I ended up moving in with an adult. The only condition was I go to school. I was expelled many times for selling and using but somehow graduated. I went to chef school in Winnipeg, did not complete due to partying. Moved back up north got a job at the mill then really started partying. My house burned with my best friend. I was devastated; no amount of drugs eased my pain.

I moved to Winnipeg joined a band and toured the country, got married and moved to Vancouver with my addiction close behind. I started using again and ended up homeless.

I was told about the Last Door in detox. I had no idea what this was or how much of an impact it would have on my life. It was close to my family so I thought I would give it a try. Upon walking in I knew this was something special, people cared and listened. It wasn’t long before my kids were sleeping over. I was encouraged to play my music. I had new friends and a sense of belonging that I never had. I was introduced to Narcotics Anonymous, and the twelve steps, a cornerstone to my future and ongoing recovery. Through this process, the help of councilors and the group I was able to overcome some of the emotional pain that burdened me for most of my life. I became ok with who I was and where I stood in the world. I was able to sleep at night, wake up and face the day without using drugs. True freedom is what I was given and I am forever grateful.

Today my life seems like a dream, nothing compared to the nightmare I used to live in. I am a father to my kids in Airdrie, Alberta. I visit them at their mom’s house whenever I please. They are happy and well adjusted. I am currently attending college at Nicola Valley Institute Of Technology taking a first nations holistic approach to addictions counseling and getting straight A’s. I hope to get my Masters someday. I indulge in my passion and tour the world playing music professionally, living my dream, I never imagined. I am becoming a man my parents, kids, family and community can be proud of. I just wanted the pain to end and got the world because somebody believed in me. Thank You.