My life before Portage was chaos. I wasn’t living, I was surviving. I experienced perinatal bereavement, but never really faced up to it. Then my father passed away and I completely lost my footing. And so began my descent into hell. What followed was an interminable succession of stupid, ill-considered decisions that destroyed everyone I loved.


In an attempt to forget, I turned to substance use. But to no avail. Caught in an infernal spiral, the more I attempted to escape, the less relief I found. And the more I used, the more I realized everything I had lost, the less enjoyment I had and the more I resented everyone. When the father of my first three children passed on in March 2021, I lost all hope of ever having a fulfilling family life. His death prompted me to take back control of my life and, by November 2021, the idea of entering Portage’s Mother-Child program had taken root.


By January 2022, I had started the process to attend Portage and there was no going back. On March 28, 2022, I embarked on the most amazing journey towards a new beginning. The Portage program helped me develop the competencies that are vital to maintaining a positive lifestyle and taught me about the importance of positive peer pressure. Thanks to the program, not only did I stop using, but I stopped smoking cigarettes too. It taught me how to allow myself to be vulnerable and to trust others, which was extremely beneficial to me.


I completed my program on February 7, 2023. Since then, I’ve moved into a Mother-Child community housing facility, where I continue to work on myself. Since attending Portage, I’ve adopted a positive lifestyle, gotten my driver’s licence, completed the MIRE employment reintegration program, settled my debts and completed an intensive course at college. Moreover, the DPJ (Youth Protection) has closed my child’s file.


I’ve finally established healthy, significant relationships, and freed myself from dependency once and for all.


Never live in the shadows again.


Thank you Portage.


Vanessa, Mother-Child Program, 2023

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