Before Portage (How I started taking drugs/alcohol and why)
I started using drugs because I thought it made me more valuable to other people. When I didn’t use, I was lonely and had no friends. I had no self-confidence and I kept to myself. A few people in my childhood hurt me deeply by intimidating me or by just not caring. I started using because the people I was using drugs with felt like a family, and that’s what I was looking for at the time. I understood very quickly that getting high gave me an edge I didn’t have otherwise. People would speak to me more. I was told I was pleasant to be around, and that’s all I wanted. I was basically getting high to feel loved.
Portage held a workshop at my school. I was interested in attending, because I realized I had a drug abuse problem. The workshop, given by the Community Relations Director, really got to me, because I felt trapped in a vicious circle.
What led me to call Portage or how I was referred
Portage held a workshop at my school. I was interested in attending, because I realized I had a drug abuse problem. The workshop, given by the Community Relations Director, really got to me, because I felt trapped in a vicious circle (read The Treacherous Pitfalls of Drugs and Alcohol). It became obvious to me when I broke away from a very unhealthy, two-year relationship. At that time, my parents didn’t even know I was using so much that I needed therapy. It’s the Portage team and counsellors that helped me go through all the required steps.
My first days at Portage
Entering Portage was challenging. I was afraid because I lacked so much self-confidence and I expected the worst. But as soon as I got there, I was welcomed by the admissions team, who really care about our well-being. The female residents were also very welcoming. The first days were difficult, because I had trouble integrating the community. But the girls and the counsellors helped me a lot (read Counsellor at Portage: Belonging to a Therapeutic Community). I received all the support I needed and realized that the other girls were there to help me.
How long I’ve been at Portage and what has changed
I’ve been at Portage for five months, and I’ve changed so much in such a short time. I learned that I can’t please everyone so I’ve started to assert myself more and be less affected by what people think. I’ve worked on my self-esteem and my self-confidence. I can now go to schools to build awareness among youth, and I get involved in Portage’s outings to get me out of my comfort zone. I really improved my relationship with my parents.
I’m positive about my future. I’ve rediscovered sports and it’s a passion I really want to hold onto. The end of my program is fast approaching and I’m thinking about attending Cegep.
How I see the future after completing the program
I’m positive about my future. I’ve rediscovered sports and it’s a passion I really want to hold onto. The end of my program is fast approaching and I’m thinking about attending Cegep (editor’s note: Cegeps are general and vocational colleges in the province of Quebec). I used to be too afraid of people to even consider it. But now I’m proud of who I am, and have the confidence I need to advance in life. I also know that my relationship with my parents will be healthy and trustful, thanks to the values I’ve reconnected with at Portage.
Finally, where I think I would be without Portage
Without Portage, I’d probably still be stuck in the same vicious circle. I needed help to get out of it. I’d still need to have a boyfriend, and I’d still be stuck in a dangerous, destructive relationship. I’d have no joie de vivre. I’d probably be the unhappy girl I have been for the last six years.
Sarah-Ève, Resident at Portage Saint-Malachie