November 21, 2013
How do we help those who are addicted?
How do we understand addiction?
The story of a strong First Nations 2spirit man who has been living in recovery, one day at a time, for over 2 years. His story explains his life experiences and how we in society can help those who suffer from addiction. (Photo by Joe Coca)
"No one grows up thinking “I’m going to become an alcoholic or an addict”. It seems so easy to believe that all people have to do is stop drinking or taking drugs to solve their addictions.
To me, that is an easy answer for people who don’t really care.
I grew up looking at what was around me and thought, “I will never be like that.” I did not want to become the stereotypes of First Nation’s people.
Then as life progressed, I began to cope the only way I knew how. Unfortunately for me, the coping abilities I had were the ones I learned growing up. I managed to obtain a post secondary education and work throughout my life. My one true friend was always alcohol, something I could always lean on, which turned out to be my own worst enemy.
I could go over all the horrible details of my life and the trauma that has brought me to this point. However, I’ve come to the understanding that my sense of healing is far greater than the pain.
There were many tools that have brought me to my place in the healing recovery process. These tools will not look the same for every person. I am not going to tell you that recovery was a walk in the park or sugar coat it by saying how amazing it has been.
Life is not a fairy book ending.
I don’t consider myself to be the First Nations kid that grew up poor and came out on top. All I have to do is look around me at family and friends to find far greater stories of triumph than my own. The traumas and hurts still happen in my sober life.
This time I finally have the ability to know that I am worthy enough to seek out solutions.
I will say that in addiction you cannot see the strength of your own denial. So, to, in addiction you cannot see the strength of love that is waiting for you in recovery.
For people who are reading and wondering “how do I help people with addictions?” You can start with what is inside of you and that is the gift of empathy."
My healing journey has encompassed many forms of help that have assisted me. Overall, his desire to be healthy has been the prevailing factor in his recovery. My story is like so many other people suffering from addiction and the message of empathy is a message for all of us.