Around 6 a.m., still high on cocaine, I crept into the travel trailer parked on my mother’s front lawn the morning my stepfather died. Shortly after, I was interrupted by a knock on the door. It was my brother. “You need to come inside, he’s dying,” he said.
I walked into the house to see my mother crouched over my step father telling his unresponsive body she “still loved him.” I sat in the chair next to his bed in the living room and held his hand. He squeezed very lightly. My head was down as I began to tear up. I can distinctly remember sniffing my nose as one does while crying and being able to taste the cocaine. Every sniffle I made from the tears of holding my dying stepfather’s hand increased my cocaine high. I let go of his hand to wipe my nose and never touched his living body again. He died right then. I grabbed his hand again but he didn’t squeeze back this time. He was gone.
Not my “rock bottom.”
A short time after, I found myself close to death. After a long day and night of partying, I came home to my in-laws. My partner and I were living with our newborn daughter. I spent the day drinking with “friends” until I needed more. I consumed more alcohol and more cocaine and then I decided to try something new: oxycodone. Twice. I stumbled into bed at 5:30 a.m. My partner was sleeping with our one-year-old daughter. I began snoring obnoxiously to the point my partner took her phone out and recorded me. Later, she would tell me she wanted to show me how obnoxious my behaviour was. After a few seconds of recording, the snoring stopped and so did the video. I stopped breathing and went into cardiac arrest. My partner screamed for her mother to come take our baby out of the room. She slapped me, poured water on me, and still, I was unresponsive.
She called 911 and performed CPR on me until the paramedics arrived. They showed up and administered naloxone. I woke up the next day in the hospital with only my partner by my side. I was released from the hospital on Father’s Day. My partner’s family had plans to get together for supper at a restaurant. As I watched my daughter play with her cousins outside, I wondered how different her day would have been if I didn’t survive.
Not my “rock bottom.”
I would continue this behaviour for another six years. Finally, on January 3, 2020, I went to rehab for the third time. I have been drug and alcohol free ever since. That’s 481 days, one year, three months and 25 days, or one year, three months, 25 days, 15 hours, 47 minutes, and 35 seconds… but who’s counting?
“Don’t wait for or expect a “rock bottom,” they don’t exist. What does exist is you. You are worth existing, and you are worth love.”
I am currently employed at a harm reduction centre as a peer educator where I believe I can make a difference in some way. I have changed my life around completely. I have lost 51 pounds through DDPYOGA, exercise, and healthy life choices. I have taken control of my life and now help to inspire others to take control of their own lives.
The moral of my story is this: don’t wait for or expect a “rock bottom,” they don’t exist. What does exist is you. You are worth existing, and you are worth love. I am now on my third year of marriage with my loving wife who has been with me by my side for 14 years, and we have two beautiful, smart, and loving daughters.
Never give up. If there is a breath in you, you have a chance to change your story.