Alumni of the Month December Dylan J

Alumni of the Month

Thinking back on my life I realize that from an early age I tried hard to feel accepted from my peers but never really felt like I was. I was always drawn to dangerous things and to people who were negative influences on me. I grew up in home where my parents supported me no matter what and gave me everything I could ever ask for and grew up in a nice area. Went to church with my parents every Sunday and participated in sports and activities on the weekend. Yet I still chose to draw completely away from that into this negative lifestyle that seemed so glamorous at the time. The first time I ever tried drugs was at the age of 11 and I don’t think I will never forget that moment all my worries just seemed to wash away. By the time I was thirteen I was using every day, nothing could stop me. I had so much to lose and I gave it all up for drugs. By the time I was fourteen I went to detox for a week and could really see the strain it had put on my life but thought that after a short stay in detox everything would be fine. But just going to detox didn’t work.


By the time I was sixteen I was living on the streets with nowhere to go. I remember walking from some park to go stay at an old friend’s house that lived very far away. I collapsed in the bush not even half to his house as I burst into tears feeling a true sense of defeat and desperation and it cut deep. After that moment I pushed on and continued to use drugs. Shortly after I had a run in with the cops and ended up in the drunk tank. The next morning I got picked up by my dad who I hadn’t seen in months, him seeing me like that was one of the worst days of my life. I still look back on that day and get emotional. Soon after I decided to go to detox again.


When I got into detox I was broken and sick and had no sense of direction. Felt empty and no compassion for anything or anyone. Worst of all I hated the person I had become and couldn’t even look at myself in the mirror. Addiction had stripped me of my dignity and pride and left me as an empty shell. I started my recovery journey up north in a one month program which didn’t do much for me. After two failed treatment attempts I realized there might be a different way to live. I finally decided to go to Last Door’s Youth Program. One of the biggest things I struggled with the most when I got in the Youth Program was thinking about how much damage I had caused my family. I was scared to call them because of how much guilt I had with the way I treated them. After a few months of treatment I finally gave my family a call and invited them for dinner (which I cooked) and read them a gratitude letter. As the process went on I started realizing how much my parents cared. I used to think they were the enemy now they are my best friends, all because the Youth Program gave me a positive environment to get to really know my family again. Going to the Youth Program was the most monumental decision I’ve ever made in my life. Going there gave me purpose in life and taught me how to live life clean. It’s a second family to me. I gained new friendships with peers I respected and I went back to high school and got my basketball career back.


I spent a year at Last Door’s Youth Program; the staff there are genuinely caring people and put so much time and energy into me. I took my one year cake and it was really emotional. I burst out crying in my dad’s truck on the way home. Today I live my life with integrity not to say I don’t wander but who doesn’t.  I am currently five years clean and a productive member of society. I could not have done it by myself. Like the program says never alone. I am forever grateful to Last Door and the New West Recovery Community for helping me find who I was.. Thank you so much too everyone who had been there for me along the way, you know who you are. At my five year cake I was surrounded by friends and family, seeing the pride on my dad’s face today means the world to me.


Dylan J

Clean Date November 16, 2009

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