Looking back on my life, it’s pretty easy to identify my lowest low.  Although my addiction did give me plenty of low moments to choose from.

I was hiding in the woods after going on one of my biggest benders.  I had been missing for 48 hours and my family and friends were out looking for me – they feared for the worst.  I could see emergency vehicles searching for me from where I was hiding.  I remember nearly overdosing more than once in those woods.  I hadn’t eaten or slept in three days.  I was using copious amounts of cocaine and barely surviving. My heart was thumping in my ears and I could feel my body failing me.  I had nothing left - no drugs, no money, no options.  I didn’t know what to do so, eventually, I came out of the woods and started walking towards home.  My stepfather was out looking for me, he saw me and picked me up.  This isn’t the first time this had happened – I had been on a downward spiral into my addiction for six years and I had gone missing before.  But this time my stepfather seemed really scared. Growing up, he and I butted heads a lot.  And to see him that upset about me – it was
the first time I felt something in a long time.

When we got home – my stepfather told me that he had done some research and found out about Portage.  He said this was my best option but he also said if I wanted help – I would need to make the call myself. I was 19 years old and I was really terrified.

That call was the first step I took away from my addiction.  The first step I took to save my life.

That was over 14 years ago.  And while it certainly hasn’t always been easy, once I discovered Portage and its amazing staff, I had a foundation to get better.  The time I spent at Portage enabled me to be who I am today.

My life now is better than I ever thought it could be.  I am truly happy – it’s like winning the lottery every day.  I’ve found the love of my life in Tara – who is the perfect balance of sweet and fiery and doesn’t let me get away with much. I have a great relationship with my two kids.  And I love my job.

Although I’m in a much different place in my life, not a day goes by that I don’t think of how thankful I am to Portage and its staff.  They were relentless working to help me – someone they didn’t even know.  They gave me my life back.  Without Portage, I don’t know where I’d be.  I won’t ever be able to repay them but I share my story as much as possible to carry it forward and hopefully help others.

My biggest mistake was hiding my addiction and not talking to someone about how I was feeling for as long as I did.  If you are someone who is affected by addiction, I urge you to reach out and talk to someone.  And give Portage a call.  You may be scared to call at first like I was but remember, you are in control.  You can just call to ask a question or to reach out for help.  The next step after your call (or calls) is up to you.

One Response to “Joe’s Testimonial”

  1. Aaron Simard

    Well done and keep fighting. ❤️It was Aug 28 when I made the decision to try and call it quits. I committed myself to a Calgary mental hospital and been on this battle since. Thanks for being honest about your battle. God Bless


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