Perseverance and Determination

This is the story of the journey that saved my life:

I had always enjoyed partying ever since I was in high school. I started using when I was about 17 years old. I gradually moved on to higher doses and stronger drugs. Over time, I became addicted to several substances and was heavily into drugs by the time I turned 28. Amphetamines and cocaine were my preferred substances. For several years, I managed to keep functioning despite my dependencies, but when I was 30 my substance use triggered schizophrenia and I fell into a psychotic state and a waking nightmare.

I was in a psychotic state for nearly four years. I would take drugs, stop taking my medication and return to the hospital on a regular basis. Despite everything, I always remained hopeful that there were better days ahead and that I would somehow manage to overcome my dependencies. I went to college and worked when I could. It was extremely trying. I was unhappy and thought every day about dying. About ending it all. At 37, after I’d finished studying, I found a job that paid really well and then became even more heavily addicted. Every day was a living hell, always wanting more drugs and trying to cope with a mental health problem that wouldn’t go away. So, I decided to stop using completely and go into treatment. Someone I had met years ago had told me about Portage and what a great place it was to work on yourself and overcome an addiction.

I called for information and found out there was a treatment program for people who have both a mental health disorder and a dependency (Mental Health and Addiction Centre). I contacted the resource person and went for a visit. I immediately felt at ease and knew it was the right place for me. It is designed specifically for people with concurrent mental health and dependency issues. The staff are more understanding, and the activities and schedule are geared specifically to this clientele.

It's thanks to Portage that I was able to successfully complete my 10-month therapy. I then decided to stay a Portage's supervised apartment for a year and a half to become stronger, adjust my medication, be part of a group, get support, and practice what I had worked on during my treatment program. I went back to university to finish my bachelor’s. Today, I don’t have any regrets about choosing to do the complete Portage program because that’s what I really needed.

I now have my diplomas and a job that reflects my skills. I am also working on my master’s degree, all thanks to Portage, to my own determination and optimism and to the life goals I always held on to.

Thank you Portage.

Samuel, Mental Health and Addiction Centre, 2017


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