“I come from a storybook of bad things. It was pretty rough — lots of drugs, crime. My mother had addiction problems. Seeing her drugged up was difficult and I didn’t want to bring people to my house. But my father was a good man. He was the rock of the family even though I didn’t get to spend a lot of time with him. He worked hard at what he did and never drank.
I’m dyslexic, which I didn’t understand at the time, and I had a total lack of confidence in myself. By the time I was 12, I was going to nightclubs with my uncles. I started smoking pot and went on to hard drugs. I was sexually abused as a young boy a couple of times and was using drugs to mask my feelings.
I was incarcerated several times during my life and I got to a point where I just looked at my youngest son and said, ‘This is getting too close to home. This is it, I’m finished.’ I made one of the best choices — to change. I wanted to break the cycle for my three sons.
I only learned how to read in my 20s — I taught myself. The Calgary John Howard Society really helped build my confidence and give me the tools I needed. After I got my industry tickets, I put out five applications and, within a week, I was getting everybody calling me up. It was quite amazing. I now run a truck in the oilfield. It’s physically demanding and you have to be able to troubleshoot. My fear has always been not succeeding, but I went out and worked and it was rewarding.
I work a lot, and I actually like myself now. I’m good at what I do and I’m reliable. Work has removed me from negative activity, which I found has really helped me, and I’ve continued to grow and improve in this environment.
One of the things I’ve learned is that addiction is a battle every day. I’m alive, and going to work is what saves me.”