My name is Jed, I was born in New Westminster 27 years ago. My parents decided to home school me and my younger sister Catie, so our family re-located to Peachland in 1990. I had a picturesque childhood where I was encouraged to pursue my interests in history, music, the outdoors, woodworking, and most importantly (at the time) hockey. We attended church for a number of years and were active in an intimate home-school community in the Central Okanagan. I had the opportunity to attend elite hockey schools, music lessons, and fishing retreats and we also made road trips to visit family across the Lower Mainland and the Gulf Islands.
In Grade 9, we decided that I should begin attending public school so I could pursue sciences. As I grew up in this fertile environment, I began to repress my feelings and isolate, choosing to listen to music alone in my room, instead of interacting with friends or family. I felt insecure at public school and accepted being picked on by my class-mates. When I discovered alcohol at the age of 16, I immediately absorbed it as the missing piece of my personality.
Once I graduated from high school I dropped out of my Bachelor of Science and began working. However I drank to black out every weekend, abandoning my family and any friends who did not drink. It did not take long for the drinking to spill over into the weekdays, and I had pride in my philosophy that as long as I showed up for work the next day, I wasn’t doing any harm. This was far from true as I pushed all of my passions aside to feed my growing addiction. While I as drunk I tried drugs that I had no intention of touching sober, and began to supplement them into my lifestyle. I drove drunk on a daily basis and degraded my values to an alarming degree. Anyone who expressed concern I pushed away especially my family.
Finally the point arrived where I was living in a basement on welfare, living in harmful conditions and using daily in vain to attempt to fill the ever-growing void I felt in my heart. After a family intervention, I decided to move back to the Lower Mainland to stay with family and attend counselling. I was abstinent from drugs and alcohol for 2 months until the emotions released by the counselling became too much for me to handle. Finding that my using could not cover the shame and guilt I felt, I knew I was at a crossroads, commit suicide, or ask for help. I followed a tip from a friend and called the Last Door. I visited the facility and was overwhelmed by the empathy and positive energy that I felt, so I decided to invest myself into their adult program.
During my 8 month stay in treatment, I found that there were others who shared my shame and frustration, and who were learning to improve their lives by taking responsibility for their addiction. I wrote the Work Exercises, attended Narcotics Anonymous meetings daily, and built intimate friendships with the other members of the house. Through the support I received I was able to use the exercises to finally put into words the emotions that I had repressed for my entire life, and begin to amend my behaviours through taking positive action.
14 months later I am a supervisor at a landscaping company, I have regular and meaningful contact with my family, and I have a great apartment with my wonderful girlfriend. My family traveled down to New Westminster for my 1 year clean celebration in November, capping of the most successful year of my life. I am grateful to the Last Door for helping me to shape myself into a functioning member of society and helping me make good on the potential that I have always had.