My name is Charlie S. I am a drug addict and alcoholic. I come from a native reserve on the east coast of Canada and am a product of the Residential School system. That system hurt me in many ways while they tried to “convert the savage” to Christianity. I spent from 1958-1962 in that system. I was then fostered out many times due to my constantly running away, disregard of authority and mistrust of everyone. I found alcohol, and it became my escape from the hell I lived in at the age of 11. Physical beatings were commonplace.
Around 1966, I ran away from the foster home and went in search of my brother in Ottawa. While living with him and his wife, I learned about drugs, bike gangs and crime. In 1968 we traveled to New York City and enlisted in the United States Marine Corps. My brother assumed the role of my legal guardian and I was in. I had finally found a place where I truly felt I belonged and had a purpose. I served for 13 months in my first tour and 10 in the second before getting severely wounded and coming stateside. I served another 2 years in a non-combat role before my discharge.
Once again I was alone and had no place I felt I belonged. Over the following decades, I drank to excess to forget all the horrors of Vietnam and survivors guilt. I tried to stop many times but couldn’t. In Nov of 2012, I tried to commit suicide. A year later, completely broken and near death from the alcohol, I reached out and asked for help.
I came to Sobriety House Nov. 15, 2013 and went through the treatment program doing everything that was asked of me. The program and caring counsellors helped save my life. I spent 7 months in the second stage there because I knew I had to be in a regulated and safe environment if I wanted to stay sober. I attended the “Aftercare” every Monday evening during that time. Knowing I needed more time in a regulated environment, I moved on to another transitional house for 10 more months, maintaining my sobriety and close connection with Sobriety House. I achieved 52 weeks of aftercare in 52 weeks; a personal goal I had made for myself.
Having achieved 365 continuous days of sobriety; I moved on to Chapter 2, learning how to live in recovery. 18 months into recovery, I moved to my own place, starting Chapter 3, living independently.
I continue to attend Aftercare and stay connected with Sobriety House, never forgetting how much they have given me and where I came from. I never forget my last day of drinking and how sick and helpless I was. I visit Detox with members of my Home Group of AA and share with the people there trying to recover. It is very comforting to know I can go to Sobriety House anytime and be welcomed. Some of the gifts I have received are humility, gratitude, patience, acceptance, doing Service and being able to honestly share some of my story with others to perhaps give them some hope on their journey towards recovery.