I was at the lowest part of my life. I had lost my job, my home, friends and family and MYSELF. I would go on benders for months. I would drink until I passed out only to wake up and do it all over agin. I really wast doing well and everyone earound me saw it but I didn’t. I kept going hard and I felt like I shouldn’t be alive because I felt worthless, and hopeless. I didn’t see my worth. I was slowly destroying myself.

After a while, I reached out to some supports back home and it was on again, off again, as I would slowly disappear from getting to the point of accessing help. One day, something woke me up – likely my body shutting down. I didn’t want to live like this any longer so I messaged my support person and told her that I wanted to go to detox. Off I went to detox and shortly after went to a transition house. While I was there, I looked at treatment options to get much-needed help. A support person told me about Nimkee and I decided to apply. After a few weeks, I was accepted to the program and hearing that made me really happy!

It was about three weeks before the program at Nimkee started and I ended up living with a friend after leaving the transition house and relapsed. Only this time, I ended up in the hospital in a pretty sick condition and I was beat up and ended up in the drunk tank. After this, I still had one week to go till treatment and I got cold feet and nervous about treatment and started drinking again and again ended up in the hospital. To make a long story short, I was sabotaging my goal of getting better and missed my intake date.

Luckily, Nimkee was waiting for me and held my spot. I was still very nervous and scared to go. The Nimkee staff picked me up and talked to me the whole time back to the Centre. When I arrived, it wasn’t scary at all! They had nice welcoming supper for us the first evening and everyone was like family- I knew I was in the right place, right then and there.

Starting from the first morning after breakfast, we smudged. I had never really smudged and learning about that and the medicine teachings were enlightening for me. We had a lot of teachings, which I did not know about. One of the guest speakers that came in showed us hunting tools that our people used back in the day which was really cool. It made me proud of who I am. We were taught our roles as indigenous men to start and look after fire. We learned lots of fire techniques and different ways to make a fire. As part of our traditional roles, we also learned how to make shelter, make snares, tie knots for survival, and cooking over a fire. To top it off, I got to be a firekeeper at a full moon ceremony.

Part of my healing included lots of counselling. I had this and more at Nimkee. I met with an elder each day and the cultural workers here where I could understand and unburden my past trauma. Part of this included also seeing a pyscho-therapist at least once a week during my time here. That was hard work all together, but I was committed to my own healing at this point.

Traditional ceremonies and visits from elder and knowledge holders who provide teachings, ceremonies and other events for us was indescribable. This is because they are really connected to the universe and spiritually connected. I felt like I could ask anything and they would describe a story – which I was left to think about or provided an answer to a question I didn’t even ask. I participated in sweats weekly which really put me in a good frame of mind for the week. All this was an amazing part of my journey.

All of the programs and services that Nimkee offered to me, I always learned. I can’t believe how much I learned. I learned to love myself and at the same time, to deal with my issues. I can talk to all the staff about anything. You can feel safe and comfortable to open up. I didn’t realize how much fun you can have being sober (lol!). All the humour felt good. Life was good. This is the first time I felt like this in my entire life. I had so many déjà vu moments and I was told that this means I’m on the right track…

Having people tell me that “I have potential” really lifted me up. This happens quite frequently at Nimkee with all the people lined up to provide help. Today, I realize many things. I’m so happy to have come to Nimkee. I’m now four months sober and grateful everyday for sobriety. I’ve learned to let go of a lot things that have nothing to do with my present state. I was fixated on my past harm and all the pain I endured. I learned to forgive others and myself in a healthy way and move forward.

Right now, I’m participating in a training program as part of the aftercare which they extended to me after I completed the program. I am putting my all into the training and I am seeing my steady progress and I’m proud of myself for how far I’ve come. The workers at Nimkee did see my potential, they believed in me and supported me every step of the way.

It’s amazing that I had made so much progress during my time at Nimkee. I learned to find peace within myself and stop being so angry. When you put equal effort in, you get rewards. I use this in my everyday living now- being independent and working towards my goals, knowing in my heart that I have the good medicine to continue my wellbeing.

I do not regret coming to treatment. It’s helped shape me into a better version of myself. I love myself and I am so proud I got out of that lifestyle. The staff really helped me out a lot and saying thank you is not enough for all the Nimkee staff. I wanted to get out of my addiction and I did. I put 100% into the program because I wanted to- no one forced me. My experience was life-changing because all the teachings were applicable to me all the time.

Creator knew I was meant to be here at Nimkee and I’m glad I came. I’m going to continue to live a happy, healthy and sober life.

~JP 2022

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