Submitted by Our House
On Monday Sept 12, four members of the Our House West Coast Society in Surrey, BC, traveled to Esterhazy to speak to the High School grade eight classes about drugs and addiction.
“We are all born with a bright sunlight in our souls, it’s when the clouds roll in, that our sunshine slowly dissolves away” is the way Our House Surrey Resident Billy Cole describes addiction and how it can grab hold of one’s life.
Billy continued “I always felt abandoned as I was born in Prince Albert to a mom with alcohol issues and a dad who left me, so I was put up for adoption.” Raised in Moose Jaw by his new adopted family, Billy still didn’t feel like he fit in anywhere and ended up a loner. At 18 years old he started down the road of addiction and spent many years living on the streets or hitch hiking to nowhere. Not able to deal with the pain and loneliness he felt, he found his “higher power” and the Our House which taught him it was OK to love himself and learn to be happy. “I want to thank Norm Sharkey for opening the doorway to help me see I was worth loving.”
Gerry Oake, house manager and director at the Our House Surrey introduced himself by describing his childhood growing up on the east coast. “Keeping secrets leads to self hate, misery and eventually drugs” he said as he went on to describe how events in his childhood led him to living life on the streets of Toronto before finding the Our House in Ottawa.
Jordan Smith formerly from Winnipeg, also grew up very angry blaming his parents and siblings for everything wrong in his life. “I had tons of anger and resentment and even questioned my sexuality. I kept it all inside and that led me to dropping out of school and to start using drugs.” His brother moved him to B.C. for work to help him try to turn things around but that only provided him with more money and more drugs causing him to spiral out of control, ending up in a hospital fighting for his life. “I’ve been at Our House a few years now and am still learning about myself everyday.”
“I was born addicted, my mom drank and did drugs and as a child, I remember my dad shooting up heroin at the kitchen table” In and out of foster care for 16 years Elizabeth Lavallee lived in 25 foster homes, some of which she was sexually, physically, emotionally abused and starved. In High School, desperate to fit in and giving in to peer pressure, she started drinking daily, turning to drugs and prostitution, eventually ending up with two children who now are also currently in Foster Care. “I don’t want this cycle of addiction that I went through as a child to continue on for my children. I need to break this chain of insanity” Elizabeth says the Our House encourages you to talk about yourself and share your pain with fellow addicts. “I have arrived here because I can no longer escape from myself. I have finally come to understand that I am the problem, not others. My secrets keep me sick and hopeless. Through being open and honest with other addicts, I can stop being the angel of my dreams and the devil of my fears. I can become real and free, this is my reality” Amen!