“My name is Luc Desjardins and I am 59 years old. I attended the Lac Écho Adult Program in 1990. That’s more than 30 years ago now! By the time I started the program, I had absolutely no self-esteem or self-confidence left. I had become antisocial and had a serious problem with authority. I just couldn’t take my place in society. I’m a sensitive person, and drugs and alcohol became my means of evading my emotions, my guilt and the trauma inherited from my youth. Because of my lifestyle, I lost out on several opportunities, which in turn led to intense feelings of guilt. Yet I projected the image of someone who is self-confident, arrogant, impulsive, quick to anger, manipulative, and unwilling to back down from anything.
My stay at Portage was particularly long and difficult. I learned to recognize and take care of my feelings, manage my internal conflicts and work on my leadership skills. These are probably the tools that helped me the most. Learning to live within a community and being respectful of others have always influenced how I live my daily life. I learned to identify my strengths and to work on my weaknesses. Positive thinking is very important to me and I don’t take anything for granted.
In addition to completing the Portage program more than 30 years ago, I have been working for the organization for 25 years now. I’ve worn several different hats over the years and even changed provinces. I am a firm believer in rehabilitation and I sincerely believe that Portage provides an opportunity to break free from all substance use. I am happy to say that my job allows me to help others invest in themselves and learn to use the tools provided to cope with life on a daily basis.
Portage gave me an opportunity to take control of my life. It was a rewarding experience that I will never forget. I am still in contact with several people who were in the same program as me. We have forged strong friendships and kept in touch over the years, whether they’re in Canada, Italy or Portugal.
To Lucil: Thank you for being my best friend!
To Sonia: Thank you for believing in me!”
Luc, graduate of the Lac Écho Adult Program, 1990