Fighting the Elixir of Life


I was raised in a large city in South Central Alberta, the second of of three children.  I had one older sister and one younger sister, one who cherished me and one who loathed the ground I walked on.  Both my parents came from strong agricultural roots and soon I was to discover that the traditional “old school” teachings I received were incompatible with the social environment I would face outside the home.

I was a very emotional and sensitive boy excelling in academics and winning many awards for my efforts. When it came to sports and the social end of school I lacked greatly.  Being a very small boy I was subject to both verbal and physical abuse, learning at a young age to defend myself with my brain and tongue. This would unknowingly impact me for the rest of my life.  It didn’t take long to foster and establish an attitude of intellectual superiority.  This became very important to me as I used it as a defense to mask the feelings of inadequacy and rejection.  Other underlying feelings of hurt, shame, and confusion were also manifesting at a rapid rate leaving me with an overwhelming sense of fear.  I would soon find out that it was these underlying feelings that would spark the fire that would eventually turn me into a full fledged “chronic alcoholic and addict”

I was nine years old when I first discovered the “elixir of life”  I was already smoking cigarettes and during one of my parents house parties I saw the half full glasses of booze on the coffee table and went for it.  I was absolutely thrilled with the relief I felt after about three or four of those babies.  From that day forward I drank whenever possible and around the age of 14 I started to experiment with street drugs.  I got married at the age of 24 and was able to put down the drugs however, the drinking somehow continued to escalate.  By the age of 28 I had lost my family, my job, and was flat broke leaving me homeless.  I decided that I needed help and entered treatment for the first time.

I went into a treatment center for for a year, working the steps and hooked in with the community of AA. On this path I was destined for great things and managed to put together 12 years before going into business for myself.  I immediately went on the road working and my spiritual principles that I had found slowly started to fade.  I found myself rationalizing certain decisions I was making for what I thought was to better my financial situation, but my EGO had returned in full and before long I was drunk again.

This binge lasted for close to 6 years, with brief periods of sobriety through short term treatment centers. After many psychotic episodes, withdrawals, and near death experiences I was able to string along another year and a half of sobriety again.  Complacency kicked in again and I was now back into the drug scene.  I was saturated in an environment that was riddled with addiction and rather than change my surroundings, I joined them.  Once again I found myself part of sour relationships, legal issues, and financial troubles which brought me back to the streets.

Riddled with bewilderment and fear the spark of my higher power remained and I was led to Together We Can where I was greeted with open arms.  I was welcomed with wonderful compassion and understanding giving me the direction I craved in a safe structured environment.  This enabled me to embark on a committed journey towards sobriety, recovery, service, and beyond.  Only God knows what the future holds for me, but I intend to approach it with honor, dignity, and diligence so I can run complacency out of town.

Thank You Very Much “Together We Can”

God Bless All

Darren J

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