SIX YEARS ago I woke up in Vancouver detox knowing my life as an alcoholic and drug addict was over. I didn’t know what my new life would look like, but I knew it was time to start living it.
My final bender lasted 5 weeks when I only meant for it to be a couple hours of relief. This is the power of addiction. I wanted to stop every day and could not. I spent 3 of these weeks on a psychiatry unit and that couldn’t even stop me. This is the power of addiction. I behaved in ways which destroyed parts of the hearts of my family, my boyfriend at the time and his loving family, and scared many caring friends. This is the power of addiction. I lost the boyfriend, the place I called home, and most of all, I lost any self-respect and felt disgusted and ashamed of myself. This is the power of addiction.

I knew I would not make it in Vancouver, so I decided to board the greyhound after detox to this place I’d heard of in recovery communities. It was called “Kelowna”, and it would be a temporary place to live while I worked at recovery. Little did I know, I would come to call Kelowna home for several years, and build a warrior family around me. This is the power or recovery.

This past year has been… well, honestly, worse than anything I’ve experienced in the decades prior. And yet, today I shed tears of gratitude for it. This is the power of recovery. Today I reflect on how broken I was, crying very different tears, in the detox centre; today I reflect on God’s grace and mercy which carried me through another entire 365 days.

My life today is far from perfect, or even idealistic, and is still full of hardships and yet I continue to triumph over the struggles. This is the power of recovery.

The power of addiction can cripple the strongest and kill the most vivacious. I have seen both. Over, and over. But the power of recovery is stronger. I still grieve daily for the many friends whose lives have been taken by addiction during my time in recovery, and daily I rejoice in helping people find the power of their own recovery.