I never thought I would be an alcoholic and a drug addict. I grew up in a loving & caring home. I excelled in school. Like most young Canadian kids, I had aspirations of being an NHL hockey player. I had everything a young kid with his whole life ahead of him could ever imagine. But for some obscure reason, I never felt whole. I felt like I never fit in, I felt alone and different. I behaved certain ways to try and fill this void but nothing would suffice.
At 14 years old I had my first drink, and all of a sudden I was whole. I was confident, people enjoyed being around me. I had arrived. At 16 years old my abilities in hockey presented me with the opportunity to play in the Western Hockey League. I packed my bags and moved provinces to pursue my dream of playing professional hockey. Being away from the comfort of your home at 16 was intimidating. I went from having my parents supervising me, telling me to go to bed, to do my homework, to having no parental supervision. On the exterior, things looked promising. However, I was beginning to die inside. I was a daily drinker by 17 years old and beginning to experiment with drugs.
Over the next four years, there were numerous off ice issues which lead to many attempts from coaches and management to help straighten me out. This resulted in three trades in four years. That dream of playing professional hockey had completely faded. I attended one year of university playing hockey in the CIS on a scholarship, but due to my addiction, I failed out. That young kid, who was one of 22 players in western Canada to represent Team Pacific, who won drama awards in school, was completely gone.
My younger brother, who once idolized me, was absolutely terrified of his older brother. After retiring from hockey, my life lacked structure. My alcoholism and drug addiction set off a spree of constant trips to detox’s and treatment centres. My family and friends didn’t want anything to do with me. After a run in with the law, I lay in a detox, and figured I should give treatment one last shot. I called Together We Can, told them my story, and they believed they could help me.
I will be forever grateful for Together We Can. Before entering the first stage, residential treatment program here I was in the grips of a progressive, chronic relapsing, disease known as addiction. TWC not only armed with me the facts of addiction, but provided a safe, comfortable place to learn how to live sober. The program here allowed me to establish solid connections in the fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous, the community, as well as other men who are in recovery.
I grew up a high profile athlete, in addiction I lost touch with sports and recreation. Together We Can has numerous recreational programs, including my personal favorite; ice hockey, to allow people to begin living a healthy lifestyle again. After 90 days here, for the first time in a long time, I look forward to tomorrow and what the future has to offer.
- Nathan MacMaster, TWC Alumni and Volunteer