I Don’t Have to Be Here. I Want to Be Here.

Jan 20, 2014 by

Darwin JpegDarwin Y. is a 60 year old, frustrated, self-confessed hard-core alcoholic.  He tells his story that he is the eldest male of a family of 4 sisters and 2 brothers. He was born in a little town just west of Ottawa – Arnprior. His Father was a Pentecostal Minister there and his Mother taught Sunday School.

Darwin’s Father dabbled in several businesses outside of his ministry and this meant the family relocated first to Stittsville, then to Kemptville and finally to Ottawa.

Life growing up for Darwin was socially difficult. Darwin found himself on the outside of his peers and so, for companionship he turned to the wrong crowd.    He admits he was first drunk at 12 years of age and he was also introduced to cocaine shortly afterward. He left school after grade 10 and applied and obtained his mechanics’ licence.  Darwin worked very hard but he also drank to access including rubbing alcohol and cocaine was eating up his pay cheque each week.  The secret to abstaining from substance abuse for Darwin was work, work, work but that only succeeded for so long.  The yearning for alcohol and drugs just pulled him back in.

At the age of 30, Darwin realized he had hit rock bottom.  He was caught shop lifting in an intoxicated state and was arrested.  Here Darwin wound up in a jail cell going through the horrible withdrawals of alcoholism.  He was sick to his stomach, sweating as though he were fevered and could not stop shaking.  That is when Darwin knew that alcohol had won its battle with him.

When released from jail, Darwin once again secured employment and continued using.  By now he was renting and losing apartment after apartment because every cent he made was used to buy drugs and alcohol.  Finally, after several stays in other shelters in town, Darwin made his way to the Emergency Men’s Shelter at Shepherds of Good Hope.  He got to know the staff very well, especially as he volunteered to strip beds and do laundry with them. After months of friendly chats, the staff suggested that he become part of the Managed Alcohol Program under a harm reduction strategy.  Darwin thought about it and asked when he could be admitted.  The staff replied, “In 10 minutes”, and that is exactly what happened.

Now in this program, Darwin has gained weight, has his diabetes under control and is generally much healthier.  He is frustrated with the fact that he had not known about this program before.  “Things would have been a whole lot different in my life if I had known about Shepherds of Good Hope sooner” he said.

Darwin considers the program his home.  He says, “I don’t have to be here.  I want to be here.” He feels like everyone is connected like one big family.  Here he is accepted for exactly who he is.  He is safe and included and he knows that no one judges him by his addiction.  Best of all, Darwin has made a concerted effort to cut back on his consumption because now he has a reason to.  His family cares.

Darwin is one of the more fortunate to have found help when he needed it.  Won’t you consider supporting people like Darwin who were lost and now have found themselves?

It can change a life.

Darwin would like to thank YOU, our amazing supporters for helping him live a life of dignity.

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