Experience, Strength & Hope by Rob B
One of the earliest memories I have as a kid was feeling not part of somehow. But I discovered an affinity towards the girls at around the same time as I started using. Being socially inept as I was, having drugs and money to spend on girls seemed to be the ways to gain acceptance. Partying and using were more of a priority and the only thing I looked forward to. Eventually I guess my first wife saw the writing on the wall, and left. Things got really bad for awhile. I discovered a new drug of non-choice, and from the first hit I knew I was addicted. I skidded along bottom like that for maybe another 6 months, unable to control the use of that drug, but trying to just the same.
So, begrudgingly, scared, suicidal, I quit using on June 25, 1994, and ended up at the Last Door in July of ’94 after having been kicked out of another house. I knew nothing about recovery. Hadn’t even heard the term “recovery” before quitting. I just knew that I needed something, anything, to make the pain of living stop. Recovery has turned out to be that thing. I learned about recovery and the 12 Steps at the Last Door. I learned about what real friends are during my treatment, and what it means to be a part of something a little bigger than myself. Back then Last Door (the house) was a little more rustic. The old kitchen was quite worn out, but man, did we all chip in with the cooking. Every time I peeled a potato, I remember that kitchen.
I quit smoking at 6 months clean while at Last Door. We used to be able to smoke out in the garage. I am so glad I’m not a slave to that habit any more. I also had to be special & different, even in early recovery. In the morning i’d go to AM/NA, back for group, have lunch, do some more group, write my steps, have dinner, go to a meeting, then go home at night when I lived with Mike P & Gail F, renting one of their spare bedrooms. I felt pretty secure though with my living/treatment arrangements, and never felt “not part of”.
Today, at 7060 days clean, I attend NA meetings regularly, have an awesome relationship with my sponsor, sponsor a couple guys, I’m involved with NA service, continue to write on the Steps, albeit slowly, and generally stay involved with recovery. I even had the courage to move to Calgary in ’99 to escape the Vancouver recession. I never in a million years thought I’d live anywhere other than BC. But the move has been fortuitous. Went to my first Alberta Door Alumni Reunion last year in Red Deer AB, and enjoyed meeting all the Alberta alumni, and have started hanging out with a couple of them and becoming friends.
Life isn’t perfect. I’m going through another divorce. I’m kind of aimless at the moment. But, by being in recovery, I’m supported, cared about, listened to, and have no worries about staying clean, sane, and alive. Recovery has taught me that.
Thank you Last Door; directors, counsellors, fellow clients, alumni, and my recovery family. You saved my life, and continue to enrich it, and I’m forever grateful.
Regards and hugs, Rob.
Clean date; June 25, 1994.
Two years ago when I first came to the Last Door I was broken and destitute. I had burned my life to the ground and hated everyone and everything about my life. I was a 53 year old man addicted to crystal meth. All I wanted to do was die but I was too much of a coward to kill myself. I had been clean at one point for 10 years but had never really worked the NA program or AA program properly and the result was me relapsing and using. I was at such a low point that I was lying to the people I loved and stealing from friends to get high. I was doing things again that I had not done since my twenties. I was broken mentally, physically, emotionally and most of all spiritually. I had two people I knew that worked at the Last Door, Giuseppe and Don. I made a decision to contact the Last Door and ask them for help. It would be the best decision I have ever made in my life.
So the morning of October 12, 2011 I checked into the Last Door Recovery Centre. I would like to say that I took to the program there like a duck to water but that’s not what happened. I was the most self centered needy person in the house. I would sit in the lobby of the middle building saying I wanted to leave. I was like a broken record no gratitude at all for what the staff was offering me. Finally one day I said again I wanted to go and Danny asked me if I had ever had fun there. I knew I had but I lied and said no. He responded by telling me in a very explicit way to then go. Somehow he got through to me. I realized that day, that I was being offered a great opportunity. I got up after that and went to group were I started to listen. Once I was willing I learned about myself and how to become a responsible adult. I started to practice the program the way it was meant to be. I had the best person as my counsellor Blair May (The Boss Man) . Blair taught me how to be an adult in the world and not to take but give back. He treated me better than I had been treated by anyone in a long time. With the love and caring of Blair and the rest of the Last Door staff my life started to change and it was slowly becoming a purposeful life.
Two years later I look back and realize that the Last Door gave me my life back. They taught me to be there for others and the importance of service. I had no self-esteem when I arrived and today I can say that I have plenty. I care about people today and I want to be there for whom ever needs me. Today I try to live by spiritual principals and take a constant inventory of myself. I’m not perfect I’m only human, I still have struggles in my life, but when times do get tough I know to go back to my basics! I consider the last Door my home today and even moved back to New Westminster because It was where I needed to be. I have an amazing group of people in my life that all live a life of spiritual principles.
The best part of my clean date is that it is so close to Thanksgiving and always will be. This year I will be remembering how thankful I am that I was offered this amazing opportunity and that the staff at the Door never gave up one me, even when I wanted to.
Thank you Last Door Dave and Louise
Clean date October 12, 2011
The last 90 days of my addiction had the biggest impact on my life and included stealing a large sum of money from my parents and crashing my car while drunk. It was a blessing in disguise because that’s what landed me in a treatment centre.
My time at the Last Door changed my life in a way I couldn’t believe. Although I was stubborn as a doorknob I figured most addicts coming into a treatment centre wouldn’t be the sharpest tool in the shed so thanks to my case worker, clients and all the staff never losing energy in me, i was able to learn how to live clean. I was taught ways to stay clean and to apply spiritual principals in my life as well as the steps to which would evidently keep me clean.
Life now is much better than I expected; the Last Door staff helped me build a foundation for a new life, they helped me find a place to live and how to hold a job down. Before I was clean I couldn’t last a full week without calling in sick to work; now I’ve proven my work ethic to my employer and I am now a licensed apprentice and about to get enrolled into school.
I have more energy and self-esteem than I have ever had while I was using, and i can enjoy going to concerts without feeling the need to get high or drunk only because the way my life makes me feel now is a high that no drug can amount to. I’d like to thank everyone at Last Door and NA for taking part in saving my life and hope to see everyone soon.
Sincerely, the most handsome man in Vancouver
Clean Date: January 4, 2012
I came to Last Door June 19, 1997…..
Before Last Door…..
My Addiction had me by the throat, my thinking was distorted and the values and beliefs my family instilled in me were a distant memory, replaced by a loyalty to a disease that almost cost me my life. I won’t bother talking about how bad it was because if you are reading my reflections you already know….
People who look on Last Door’s website do so because someone told them, if you really want to get clean, go to Last Door….
As I look back for me the most important aspect of my recovery has been Merry and I raising our two daughters and to truly reflect the impact Last Door has had on me, I leave you with their words in regards to what me being clean has meant through their eyes….
Morgan AKA Mo – Age 12
What “clean” means to me, “My dad, Todd, is an incredible and loving father, but if it wasn’t for the support from Last Door and the 12 step community that he received I don’t know where I’d be today. The 12 step community has changed my father’s life. He got clean 4 years before I was born. If he hadn’t, he probably wouldn’t have met my mom who was getting clean at the same time. I have a wonderful life and I’m glad my dad is who he is today. My step-mom, Merry, is also in the program and so is my step-dad, Michel. My family has been tremendously impacted by the power of the 12 step community. My love for my father has grown over the years and thanks to the 12 step community that’s possible. My dad is now inspiring and helping other people in need.” Mo
Angela AKA Pooky – Age 21
“I’ve known Todd almost my entire life and I have seen how passionate he is about the program. When I was younger I didn’t quite understand why my parents went to meetings and were involved so heavily in giving back. As I got older I learned to appreciate and respect them for all that they do, because my life would not be the same if my parents were still locked in their addiction. I have gotten to where I am today because my parents are clean and they support everything I do. When I look at Todd I see how strong in mind and in spirit he is, and I admire him for that. He is so special to me and I am incredibly proud that he is 16 years clean. He’s my role model, Thank you Todd.” Pooky
Last Door will always be my home, it will always be the place I refer to when asked where I grew up. To say I’m grateful is an understatement…
I thank Last Door for the years they have invested in me, all the past and present staff for the years of dedication, commitment and vision to help the new guy…
Forever Last Door
Last Door Forever
I want to express my gratitude to the Last Door for showing me a new way to live! After four and a half years of recovery, I have a fantastic life! I recently received the Competitive Boys Coach of the Year Award at Port Moody Soccer Club. By applying spiritual principles to my coaching, it was also the third year in a row that the teams I coach received awards for competitive and successful play. Today I get to be a positive role model in the lives of my own boys and many young players who are passionate about the beautiful game. Today, my life is happily fulfilling, as my sponsor jokes, the problems I now have are, “how to manage my ego and the abundances” I am blessed to now have in my life. As Dave always says, “Cadillac problems”!!
At the Last Door I became part of a recovery community that has helped me become a person I am pretty happy being. Words don’t really seem to do justice to the journey I have experienced into becoming finally “good with myself”. What I can say is that I now really enjoy the pathway of life rather than focusing on the destination, and that’s because I have been shown a solution that gives me the tools to not only survive life but for the first time in my life, thrive. I needed the Last Door to keep me safe and show me the way to NA, the truth is it wouldn’t have worked any other way…..
I had been bouncing around various recovery houses and treatment centres for 5 years with some success along the way. I had a taste and knew that a better life was out there but I had no idea how to get there on my own. Defeated after my last relapse I decided to give the Last Door a try.
I soon realized that recovery could be fun when I met some like minded people who shared similar interests with me and got a chance to share my passion for mountain biking with others while I was in treatment. I went to group, did lots of written work and enjoyed the many recreational events Last Door offers.. but my best times were taking new guys downhill riding for their first time when there was some free time.
6 months later I left Last Door but unlike other places I had been too, I was always welcome back any time. Today I am living free from my past obsession with drugs.
I recently was able to finish my college education at BCIT and I like being an active member of New Westminster’s recovery community. I am 2 years clean now and a contributing member of society, a worthy father and a good family member.
Thank you Last Door for helping me find “a new way to live”.
Clean Date: March 15, 2011
My Clean Date is Aug 7th 2011
My life before I cleaned up was far from reality. I was a guy who talked about what and where I wanted to be, although I was never willing to put in the work to follow my dreams. I was that guy looking for the easy way out.
I had built a solid career and some great relationships over the years while having some success. As my using progressed everything else was affected in a negative way even though I was the last to admit it. I started taking people and life for granted. I lost respect for others and most importantly myself. I started stealing to support my addiction and before long I was lost and in some serious legal trouble. I had let all the people I really cared about down and lost their trust.
I came across the Last Door. At first I struggled with the Program and couldn’t wait for the time to pass. But through applying myself and doing the work suggested I quickly found myself engaged in the people and the Program. I became inspired and wanted to inspire others. I never thought my life was going to change the way it did. I was just looking for some days without using back to back and I thought that would be enough for me. I didn’t expect to get a life and make some great friends at the same time. My last month in treatment I started a coarse at Douglas College. Four months went by real fast and by the end I almost wanted to stay forever.
Myself and 3 other guys from treatment who I consider to be some of my best friends moved into a house together. It has been a very interesting year and a half to say the least, but overall my life has been steadily getting better. I can say I’m proud to be clean, and proud of what I have accomplished in that time. I have really enjoyed being able to be apart of the Last Door as an Alumni over the last year. I have so much gratitude for them and the support they give me. I really enjoy being able to come back and teach Martial Arts with guys in the house. Putting in the work and doing the things suggested.
I’m currently living my dream – I recently had a Fight where I was able to have my family, friends and some Door Boys come out and support me. The most gratifying thing since I’ve cleaned up is for my family to to say they are proud of me and I’m representing the family name well.
THANKS LAST DOOR!!!
My name is Blair and I am an addict,
I grew up with what every kid dreams of; a loving family, friends, playing sports, I had hobbies. But I was also picked on, the brunt of many jokes, ridiculed and beat up. I was beat up almost every day from Grade 7 till the end of Grade 9. I was angry and alone.
I started hanging out with people younger than me and started breaking the law. I would move cities in hopes of a new beginnings at every new stop, but so did my addiction. He had plans for me. I was in Kelowna in 1999 and my Mom and Dad helped me come home to go to school and work in the family business. I did great in school and I was also taking drugs while in school. It was 2005 when I first admitted to my parents that I had a problem. I went to treatment and used every weekend. I lost my job at my parent’s tugboat/watertaxi company and relocated to Calgary. Addiction, crime, homelessness were the three words that were my profession my beliefs of myself were that of; alone, scared and dead.
It was late October 2006 and my parents had tract me down through a private investigator (I had been in Calgary Remand for 4 1/2 months prior). They called me at the homeless shelter and said they were coming over to take me out to dinner.
I looked into the mirror at myself and began to cry. “Look at myself, look at what I have done to myself”. My parents and I had that meeting and they had some letters from home. Needless to say they bought me a bus ticket back home. One way of course. If I showed up at the bus station I wanted help and if I didn’t well don’t call us anymore. It was October 23, 2006 and I got on that bus. I got into Vancouver and my parents were there to greet me along with my childhood friend Nik. The next day was to be the defining moment of my life.
It was October 24, 2006. My first day clean! I made a phone call and talked with Dan M. of the Last Door. He said to come by tomorrow and check us out. I remember the next day my parents dropped me off and we had our parting hug at the base of the house stairs knowing that in time this house, the guys were going to help change me. I reached the top of the stairs and a giant of a man grabbed me and said “My name is Pete Q, welcome home. I looked behind and saw my parents crying, smiling and walking toward their car. From this day forth the transformation began.
For the next six months I worked Last Door’s Program like my life depended on it. Cause it did. My sponsor Pete, guided me through and the boys in the house with their energy showed me a new way of life. So many memories were created at Last Door, the Door Slam, the many dances and fundraisers, the Lions playoff game (and Galers’ 60,000 person wave), groups, amends, coffee’s, movies on Tuesday’s at the old Uptown theatre, meetings, clean time , all of this was huge in me finding myself. Over time it got easier taking more clean time as the years wore on.
I left the door in November of 2007. By March of 2008 I owned my own condo on 12th and Queens, had a full time job and a steady girlfriend. This clean life really works! Little did I know it was only beginning.
Over the next four years so much has changed. My parent s hired me back at the family business. I have gone back to school twice for Addictions Counsellor and Operating a Marine vessel. I met my wife in the rooms of Narcotics Anonymous and we own a townhome in Surrey with our 7 month old daughter. I learned to play the bagpipes three years ago and had played in a military pipe band for two and a half years and finally today after two years of dedication and persistence and working my program and the program of NA, I am a proud member of the Canadian Armed Forces. I was in Montreal for 14 weeks of basic training and am now posted in Borden, Ontario for the next 18 months. I have been through deaths of Grandparents, loss of jobs and family emergencies, but I have always used the tools I learnt from the Last Door.
I owe my life to the program of Narcotics Anonymous and to the boys past, present and future of the Last Door!!
A special thanks to Dave P. and Micheal P. whose powerful groups made me the man I am today.
THANKS LAST DOOR!!!
Clean Date October 24, 2006
Before I went for treatment I was losing my sanity. My life was full of misery, isolation, and loneliness. I denied that I had a problem and I denied the fact that I needed help. I lied, I stole and I cheated. I threw away a two year marriage because I was unwilling to do anything about it. I had pushed my friends and family so far away, that I thought it was easier to just not contact them, then it was to actually tell them what I was doing. I began avoiding all non addicts; I started belittling all the people who had normal lives, families and hobbies. My life became narrowed and my only concern was confined to the daily maintenance of my disease.
On September 22, 2011 I had hit my rock bottom were my insanity had finally risen higher then my walls of denial. I felt forced to get honest about my disease I phoned an old friend of mine that I knew had gone thru treatment. He picked me up from Kelowna and brought me straight to a meeting in New Westminster called “winners” where for the first time in my life I stood up in front of two hundred plus people and said “My name is Lance and I’m an addict. I collected a hug and a white key fob and then sat in fear, listening to people share about their stories, and thinking to myself “is this it? Is this what it’s going be like for the rest of my life”?
After that meeting I was taken straight to the Last door, where I was welcomed with a lot of friendly smiles and tons of energy! I was so overwhelmed from the day I already had, now all of the people, all the new names, the new faces, the fear, after laying down to go to sleep for the first time at Last Door, it felt like a big weight had been lifted off my shoulders and that everything was going to be o.k….. It felt like home….
It didn’t take me long to make new friends, real friends, something that I didn’t have when I was in my addiction. My feeling of loneliness immediately started to ease, there were people around me laughing, having fun, living and enjoying life, their new life, life in recovery. It was hard for me not to get inspired, I wanted what they had, so I surrounded myself with the people that were doing recovery and felt I had become a part of something. I built a support group and got myself a sponsor. My sponsor guided me threw a set of steps and my support group held me accountable for all my actions. I stayed in primary treatment for six months and then five months in secondary treatment. In that time I learned how to live with spiritual principles like honesty, willingness, kindness, compassion, and acceptance. I have gained self esteem, morality, integrity, and dignity. Instead of isolation I have found fellowship. Rather than constantly trying to get by on my own limited power, I have developed a conscious contact with a power greater than myself I had found a new way to live.
Thanks to the Last Door for getting me up to the starting line for my new life in recovery I am grateful to have had the opportunity to have stayed at the last door and I am proud to say “I am a door boy”. The Last Door is where I got my heart back, it is where I learned how to be a better son to my parents, a better brother to my sister, a better uncle to my nephews and I am truly grateful for that.
My name is Lance P. and I am a recovering addict; my clean date is September 23, 2011