Portage gave me my voice back
Growing up I was around drugs a lot. One of my brothers started using when I was 6 years old. He didn’t know how else to cope, I watched his lifestyle destroy him and my family. He got arrested when I was 12 and he now has a life sentence. I swore to myself I would never run to drugs no matter how hard things got.
When I was 15 my mom would give me weed to help with my anxiety, I quickly became dependent, and I’d beg her weed every night. I was going through a lot mentally and a lot of my childhood trauma started to come up. I couldn’t function without weed, it caused psychosis and the only time I felt normal was when I was high.
My addiction escalated to harder drugs which I hid from everybody. I used everyone around me for money and drugs. I put my family but especially my mom through hell. I’d manipulate my mom to get me drugs and at first, she would give in but the time I was 17 (almost 18), she couldn’t do it anymore and I couldn’t either. I tried to get sober on my own multiple times, but I was never able to do it. I thought I would be a drug addict for the rest of my short life.
I finally agreed to go to Portage after refusing for 2 years. My admission date was May 11th, 2021. I was absolutely terrified. The drive there was the most anxious I had ever been. When I got there, I was fine for about an hour then I started crying and I couldn’t stop. I cried for about a month and a half of my program.
All day everyday. I was broken, I didn’t even know who I was anymore. I walked with my head down low, and I didn’t speak to anyone. I tried to manipulate the staff and my mom into letting me come home. I hated everyone and I felt very alone. Eventually I started to come around to the idea of being there, but I still had my reservations about the place. Once I started working the program, I saw the progress. During my program I lost a lot of weight and I felt healthy. I became very close with the staff and some of the other residents.
About 4 months into my program, I started to really see the personal growth I had made. I started to become confident with who I am. In my addiction I lost interest in all the things I enjoyed doing. Portage helped me find myself again. I was able to use my voice and I pushed past a lot of my fears. I thrived in a leadership position and that surprised me because all my life I was very quiet and shy. I felt shutdown most of my life, but Portage gave me my voice back. It’s the first place I’ve ever felt like I truly belonged.
I transitioned December 4th, 2021, I thought leaving Portage would be the easy part but it was quite the opposite. During my program, there were multiple times where I would sit on the floor and cry to go home. But the day of my transition? I sat on the floor and cried because I didn’t want to go home. Since I have been out of the program, I have had to put a lot of work into maintaining my sobriety and mental health. I completely changed my lifestyle. A lot of people think all you have to do is get sober and you’ll stay that way, but you have to change everything. You can’t hangout with the same people. You can’t go to some of the places you used to go to. Everything has to change.
I recently reached my 2 years sober, May 11th, 2023. I would have never been able to do it without Portage. I call into Portage every single day, I go for back in touches at least once a month and I attend every single aftercare. I love Portage to pieces, and I don’t think I can ever thank them enough for everything they’ve done for me. At Portage, I met all the close friends I have now. Portage gave me my life back and I will be forever grateful for that.
Regan, Adolescent Program, Cassidy Lake, 2021