By the time I was 14, life was already difficult. I was very impressionable and I had behaviour and impulse issues, as well as family and academic difficulties. Drug and alcohol use had become an integral part of my life. I liked the idea of escaping reality. It gave me a feeling of self-confidence that I just didn’t have when I was sober. I felt alive and invincible. But I knew deep inside that my substance use was a means of hiding and running away from my problems. I had to change.


When I heard about Portage, I decided that’s where I would go to try and change my life for the better. I was both extremely excited and stressed out at the thought of leaving my hometown of Caraquet, New-Brunswick and taking the plane that would bring me to Montréal. It may not seem like a big step for some, but for me, it was the beginning of a new chapter.


While in therapy, I learned to deal with my emotions and practice self-control. I acquired a sense of discipline and structure. I learned to understand and better accept my inner demons and to recognize my strengths and weaknesses, as well as my good qualities and my faults. Thanks to Portage, I found myself again. It’s really hard to face one’s own emotions, but every day at Portage provides an incredible opportunity to work on yourself and to understand and better accept yourself.


I don’t have any anecdotes to share because, for me, every day at Portage was special. I loved being there, even though I did sometimes feel like leaving. So, I fought on to the very end. Even now that I’ve finished the program, I still work on myself so that I can continue evolving along the path to recovery. Staying focused on my objectives and applying what I learned in therapy is what helps me move forward.


I want to thank my counsellor, Pénélope, for her unwavering support throughout my therapy. I am truly grateful to her and I want her to know that I am getting better every day. It’s thanks to her that I am still here today.


I know all the great work Portage does to help people with substance use problems. I would like to do my part some day by becoming an addictions counsellor so that I can share my own experience as well as the tools and techniques I learned about at Portage.


If you are struggling with a dependency, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Remember that you can live a substance-free life. You too deserve to live a healthy life, just like me. And Portage is there to support you.


The best is yet to come.

Thank you Portage.


Patrick, Adults Program, Lac Écho, 2020


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Sign me up for the following newsletters: