I’m a native of North Vancouver where I began my early years as a young child destined for a good life supported by my loving parents and grandparents. Growing up I was an isolated child due to my weight problems and not socializing with children at a young age. I always strived on doing things on my own and never really fit in with other kids at school. I subjected myself to eating and watching T.V. rather than playing with other kids. I never felt comfortable in my own skin. I learned to lie at a young age to impress the others around me. As much as I wanted to feel a part of, I was unaware of the how my actions and behaviors were pushing me further away from having good friends. Even from a young age I demanded a lot of attention from my family, always seeking out love and happiness.
I lacked all responsibility as a young boy and when things didn’t go my way I was a tyrant causing damage to all those around me. As I grew older and in high-school, I jumped between many groups of people trying to find those that related to me, but no matter what I did, who I tried to be, or the endless lies I told people, I could never fit in with them or myself. I began a part-time job in my teens and found a group of people who “enjoyed” my company……at least I thought. I allowed others to take advantage of what I had because I finally felt apart of something and now I had friends. It was at this time in my life where I was introduced to drugs.
Drugs began as a social thing. From once in a while, to every weekend. Then a couple times during the week until it became a daily habit. The pattern was the same for the type of drugs as well, eventually leading to hard drugs. All the while I neglected to see the danger and harm I was creating in my life to my family and myself. As the disease of addiction took over my life, I became less of a part of my family’s life and society. Important holidays, birthdays and even deaths of loved ones I was not to be found. Addiction had me at the grips and I was in need of help. I had tried to help myself through relocating in different towns and cities, to meeting other woman who I thought would help me live clean. No matter what I tried, nothing worked and wherever I went my addiction stayed with me. Drugs took everything away from me. Family, jobs, money, cars, and an unborn child eventually leading me to the down-town east side with no other place to go.
I had tried a previous treatment attempt for 42 days without any luck. The day I left treatment I got loaded and I was back to doing what I always did, except this time it was worse. I degraded myself much more and attempted suicide for the first time. I needed help and didn’t know where to look. Through the assistance of another NA member I was introduced to the Last Door Recovery Society unaware that this member was also an alumni of the house! It was here that I had an opportunity at life again. Through the knowledge and related experience shared with me by the supportive staff and clients of The Last Door was I able find freedom from active addiction. It was here that I learned about the twelve steps of NA and the true meaning of friendships. The Door taught me how to live with honesty, morality, integrity, responsibility and dignity and assisted me with re-uniting with my family and begin building loving and meaningful relationships with them and myself.
Living at the Last Door was an amazing experience. Endless laughs, outings, connecting with friends and their families. It was an exciting time. Everyday brought on new experiences and joy to my heart. Without the assistance I would not have gained the necessary tools I need for my everyday life I enjoy immensely every day. I have much gratitude and appreciation for what was given to me and am blessed to continue to be a part of the house as an alumni member. Today watching others getting their lives back fills my heart.
I just celebrated my second year clean from all mood and mind altering substances. I have become a pillar in my family’s life! I have an amazing group of friends today who all strive on doing the next right thing. I’m back in school today pursuing my dreams of managing a hotel through VCC. Life today is better than I could have ever imagined it to be. From the bottom of my heart, I cannot thank The Last Door Recovery Society for its time, energy, compassion and empathy towards my life in recovery. It’s because of all of you that I have what I have today.
Alfredo, Clean Date February 19 2010