January 7th
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Today I sit back and am grateful for where I am today. For me, my New Year starts today because January 7th marks my sobriety date. Today marks 4 years since I have left the haze and confusion that drugs and alcohol were leaving on my mind, body, and life. I like to reflect on where I am today because I made the choice to get and stay clean. I also reflect on where I would be if I hadn't made the choice to leave that life behind...

Living clean has given me the opportunity to succeed in my growing career, to be healthy, and to travel the world. I've accomplished things that never would have been more then a drunken conversation at a kitchen table at 5 AM; because I choose to live sober today. Ideas and ambitions are obtainable, and progress is more then just a dream or an insane thought while I spin in circles.

Addiction is an awful thing that affects not just the person who is trapped in its circular motion of living, but it impacts the people around you. Your loved ones get hurt just like you do, because they watch what you are going through and what you are putting yourself through. Once the addiction is triggered, many people aren't able to climb out of that hole or able to stop using. Stopping seems impossible, I know it did for me. When you want it, and I mean really want to climb out of the darkness, it is possible.

I want to say to any one who is struggling out there right now, it is possible to climb out. It's possible to turn your life around even if it feels like there's no way, I promise you I've been there. Feeling like there is no escape is lonely and terrifying. But you aren't alone, and if you want to reach out, I am here for you anytime.

S.B, 2019

The Doorway Comments
a promise to myself...
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A promise to myself…
I promise to love myself more than ever right now.
I promise to allow myself to feel in a HEALTHY way.
I promise myself I will control my anger.
I promise not to let myself fall back into the hole I just left.
I promise myself I will feel better tomorrow.
I promise myself I will not give up.

-Ashley

The DoorwayComment
What Happened To Christmas?
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How much money have you spent this month?
How about last month?
How much did you spend last December?
Anyone notice what I see?
No more money, it’s all gone.
Rent+food+Christmas=broke
Do you remember when you didn’t have to be rich to hang out with your
Family and stuff your face
And everyone expects presents, don’t they know what Christmas is?
It’s not about new toys or how big and shiny your tree is.
It’s about how much you love your mommy and how much turkey it takes to puke.

- Scrooge

The DoorwayComment
X-mas
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For X-mas I‘d like to see more respect for one another, less poverty, would it hurt for more giving than taking in life, especially at X-mas time. I see more people wanting more, taking more. I thought X-mas time was a time to appreciate loved ones, gather together and laughing, smiles, being grateful for life and family.

Unfortunately X-mas isn’t like that for everyone. Each X-mas time, less do I see families out and about skating, caroling etc. X-mas joy seems like it gets dimmer each year in some shape or form.  More people feel alone around this time of year, more depression within, more stress, the fact people worry about spending money, shopping for gifts, decorations, parking spaces, making everyone happy on that day under the tree.  Santa, it seems like people have forgot the true meaning of X-mas. X-mas is a time to give to others. I’m not talking about materialistic things. X-mas time is a time to stop stressing over jobs etc. It is realistic to make gifts from the heart. Anyone can buy gifts and mail them. If you truly can’t make it to family gatherings then give something from your heart. Take time out and phone on X-mas day and wish a merry X-mas verbally.

The best gifts of all are the smaller things in life. So Santa I’d like you to send this message.  The real true meaning of X-mas. Maybe people need a reminder that X-mas isn’t about the most expensive gift, or the most lights or decorations. It’s about love, peace, joy and most of all laughter. Everyone has at least one person that’s special that would make their X-mas a lot merrier.

Merry X-mas and a happy new year.

Remember the best gifts come from the heart not from your pockets.

-Rebecca

The DoorwayComment
When you Decide
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Time ticks slowly but surely,
 All you can think of
 Is how the tables are going to turn
 And are you on the right side
 This time around.
As you look at everyone around you
 In the same mind state
 And wondering who’s going to pull shady next
 It’s always a fight to watch your back
 N try to find those who got yours…
 Cause in the end
 Really all you can trust is yourself…
As that time ticks by
 You sit there and think
 What am I really doing with my life?
 I deserve better…
 As you see all the plots and schemes
 Going through everyone’s mind
 It’s a dog eat dog world
 You don’t want this…
It disgusts you
 To see your friends be like this
 And not have a care anymore
 And they won’t listen to you
 Because they don’t see what you see yet
 You can’t wait forever for them to realize you decide
So you pick yourself up
 And walk away from everyone and everything
 Looking back once to make sure
 You made the right decision
 And what you see is good people
 Wasting away
 Just a scene of total destruction
 And that’s when you decide
 I’m not going back…

-Anonymous

The DoorwayComment
Stranger
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Passing and lonely
Dark cold of night.
A window becomes the center
Of Stranger’s down casted sight.

This window, though frosted
Is warmed by something almost felt.
The scene that is captured
So warm it caused winter to melt.

Feet are now frozen
Stranger’s stiff and silent.
The colors of a life
Paint a portrait of how love is meant.

This precious moment holds
A stranger this night.
Caught by flames
Of fire and candle lite.

A moment enough to feel warmth 
Through the glass.
As a family shares their life
It seems as though time does not pass.

A fine feed of life
A meal is set.
Expressions of caring
Stranger’s eyes are now wet.

No special occasion
Just togetherness.
Tears now fill the eyes
Of a friend of loneliness.

Mother looks up
Seeing window no longer bare.
Other faces peer out
At the face frozen there.

Poor Stranger, feeling guilty
For intruding and such.
Tries to smile and nod
Hoping not to bother too much.

But a door opens up
Before escape can be made.
As a cloaked figure bids Stranger
Need not be afraid.

“Please come and warm up,
Have something to eat”
“Come inside, I insist,
Please have a seat.”

Hesitation is Stranger’s
Only response to this plea.
How could she be a part of
The scene that they see.

But insistence accompanied 
By the biting cold.
Stranger is speechless
But lo and behold.

Drawn to the fireside
Through the door.
As if destiny would not allow her
To be alone anymore.

So precious the world
When a family is yours.
And more precious a family
What makes a stranger part of theirs.

-Stranger

The Doorway Comment
The Cure for Love-Sickness
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It almost goes without saying that love is the theme we are confronted with more than any other these days. It’s rare to see a movie or hear a song that doesn’t include the theme of love. Romance novels sell by the millions. Television shows constantly portray love relationships. Commercials and ads give us the impression that if we use a certain product, then we, too, can be irresistible to that special person. All in all, the message that comes through the media is that if we are only loved, then we will be happy and life will be perfect. Sounds wonderful, doesn’t it?

However, the real essence of love is very different. There is something more wonderful than being loved. It is loving. In 20th century life, where there is such an emphasis of getting…..getting the right car, getting the right shampoo, getting the right job, etc. We have come to regard love as just another thing to be obtained. However, strange as it may seem, there is even more satisfaction in loving, that is, giving your love to someone else. The essence of love is doing something for another person’s benefit – putting a priority on their welfare. So therefore, it doesn’t have to be romantic at all. To benefit from the act of loving, you do not have to be in love with the other person, you simply have to prize their happiness.

Of course, with something so valuable in life, there are bound to be counterfeits.

We often mistake sex for love, but sex alone cannot bring genuine satisfaction, nor can it hold a relationship together on its own. We occasionally mistake admiration for love, and think that if people would look up to us, then we would feel loved and worthwhile. But this, too, never lasts. Sometimes we try to fool others into believing that we love them only in the hope that they will do something for us. But this is not real love, it is manipulation.

The best way to keep a healthy outlook is to follow St. Valentin’s example: Be Loving. By so doing, you will enjoy others’ happiness and feel worthwhile for contributing to their life. It’s a terrific way to feel good about yourself too. If you don’t believe me, try it. See if it works. I’ll be you won’t be disappointed.

-1989

The DoorwayComment
Freedom
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Overcoming a life of crime has been one of my largest obstacles. Coming up as a problem child with apparent disorders had put me on a crash course at a young age. Between the teachers and doctors hindering my positive growth, it put a strain on my outlook and respect I had for authority. As an only child, I looked anywhere for approval and guidance. Unfortunately as uncontrollable as I was the only people who looked out for me and I looked up to weren’t upstanding law abiding citizens. I’ve paid my dues and done my time. I’m still getting used to functioning in society and I have troubles from time to time, but it’s been three years since I was last incarcerated and I don’t plan on going back for anyone. No amount of money will make me risk my freedom again.

-Harvey Danger

The DoorwayComment
Exhausted by Pain
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 Last year I thought I fell in love. I quit my job and moved away from Calgary to stay with him. The first month was so perfect, he was so charming and kind. It was fantastical, obviously too good to be true, but I fell for it, hard. Even after I found out about his coke addiction, I convinced myself things were still a fairy-tale. It doesn’t take long to pick up a drug habit if your significant other is using. I heard my mother’s voice escape from my memories, I knew what she’d say, and I knew what I should’ve done. When he told me I had to be more careful because the RCMP had an open investigation on him, I should’ve bolted…. But you must understand he had brainwashed me to worship him, lest I get beaten. I ignored every red flag I saw, and I used the drug to numb the pain I felt the first time he hit me. Of course it all comes down the hill here, with me stuck at the bottom curled up on the floor. I remember how his kick felt as it connected with the side of my stomach, and how I stared at the carpet fibers for an hour thinking about how similar we were at that moment. Stuck in one place and constantly stomped on. I really was trapped at this point. He was convinced I was talking to boys on my phone and meeting with them behind his back, so he took my phone. I was only allowed to use it to text my mother and he supervised me, making sure I’d say everything was fine. All my stuff was at his house, and without my own car I couldn’t just leave. Fortunately, my mom is an amazing detective and started hatching a plan with the RCMP. She came to town one day and he let me see her for an hour. She told me she knew about the drugs and suspected more. She gave me a safeword to use on the phone, and that word saved my life. In the last month of hell I discovered a green pill on his bedside table. I asked him about it and he freaked out, refusing to tell me what it was. I eventually found out it was fentanyl. Later that week, we had a huge fight which resulted in him slamming my head against the microwave, throwing me against the corner of the wall, and pushing me onto the couch. He saw the blood before I did, and started apologizing and crying, begging me not to go the hospital. He cleaned me up and gave me a line of fentanyl. That line was one of the worst mistakes I’ve ever made. Since that day I constantly crave it, only avoiding it because of the terrible withdrawal I went through when I sent my mother the safeword three weeks later. I sent the safeword because he threw my stuff down the stairs, threatened me with a hammer and used it to destroy both my dressers, and finally threatened me with the shotgun he kept in his room. I ran outside with the phone hoping he wouldn’t shoot me on the street, and sent her the safe word. She had told me that if I texted her the safeword, she would call the cops and bring her truck and the neighbor’s truck to help move me out. Luckily the gun was an empty threat, he hadn’t loaded it. He was packing his valuables and trying to run. About 8 cop cars arrived to corner him in right as he started up his truck. Ever since him, I’ve struggled with my identity and I’ve found it difficult to care about myself. When I’m around people I feel isolated, because I don’t think they understand what I’m going through. I’m trying to act normal and feel confident but it is difficult when the truth is I am exhausted by pain. I will still keep moving, because I have to, and I hope this struggle helps me grow.

-Anonymous

The DoorwayComment
Past and Present
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When I was young
I was free, time was at a standstill.
Erratic behavior and immaturity surrounded me
Inspiration and energy were on my side.
Thoughts sprang to mouth,
Without a moment’s notice.
Others rarely listened.

I am older now.
My inspiration on a leash.
Energetic ideas still remain,
But my mouth now pauses in hesitation before speech,
As though others expect maturity.

I know no longer those carefree days,
The mindless hours spent daydreaming.
Time is now short, things have changed.

People now listen,
Only too closely!
Pressure and fear and failure
Are a constant threat.

Responsibility and decisions are now mine-
And mine alone.
Regrettably, I’m now an adult.

-Kevin, 1994

The DoorwayComment
Doubles
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Making Change happens when a choice is given. The wrong thought or action can take this ability and destroy it. Leaving you with not the desire to Make Change, but to give in to despair.

Remember the old game of dominoes the point of the game was to rid yourself of the numbered blocks but you could only place one down in the pattern started. Unless you had a double, then you were given a choice to change the pattern. Despair came when all you had were high numbers in your hand, with no opportunity to make a change in the pattern.

Recently, some friends and I were playing this game. It was all too much like my life. For as long back as I can think I’ve never been handed a double. Everyone I knew, in every turn of every game were dealt many. Thereby the pattern kept changing, moving in different ways, choices were always available. But not for me. I was always stuck with the same hand consistently. Now my slate is clean, now I am able to change the pattern. I make choices happen. Not that I didn’t have a choice before, I’m sure I did, it was just a wrong thought or action came into play behind it. I realize now, you deal your own doubles. I believe with this new turn in the game the pattern is changing for me.

Anonymous

The DoorwayComment
The Trans-mission of life
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The Trans-mission of life.  Ugly, Gross, Freak.  These are but a few of the hateful words spoken towards the Trans individual, and community as a whole.  Life’s not easy when everyone on the train constantly stares at you, curious as to what you actually are.  We are Human. No less than those who don’t share our curse.  The daily struggle for acceptance of the Trans individual is very real.  In other parts of the world, that is an understatement. Still, even in our very accepting society, groups still endure discrimination on varying levels.  Some verbal. Some physical.  Some are even fatal.  We must learn how to “fool” society to avoid inevitable, awkward and potentially dangerous encounters.  What happens when a Trans woman is told she doesn’t move very feminine? Or that she has a deep voice?  It slowly erodes her vision of her true self.  Forcing her to abide by social binaries.  

So before you start to judge anyone who is or may be Transgender or any of its sub-labels, just remember that we all bleed red, and all sleep under the same moonlight.

Anonymous

The DoorwayComment
Everything in life has to have a start
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 I thought it would be easy to write a story about going from living on the streets to being free of the streets.  I’ve been labeled as a “success story”, but I’m not totally sure that I am. I have a full-time job, my own apartment, and many more material goods than I did a year ago. But I’m not free of the streets. I’ve worked at my job for six months now, and I still don’t feel like I fit in. We had an incident at work a few weeks ago where some money and steaks were stolen, and fingers automatically pointed at me because of my background. I find whenever I have problems at work, I go to a popular hangout down town where I am accepted. I realize though, that I have come a long way since this time last year.   

I worked long and hard to get just this far, and in some aspects I have come a long way. My relationship with my mother is 100% better. I feel better, and I’m finally getting a lot of the things out of life that I wanted.    

I’m not completely away from the streets yet, but I’ve made a start, and everything in life has to have a start.

-Anonymous, 1989

The DoorwayComment
I want you to take into consideration...
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You are reading this right now maybe in your warm home, at work, or maybe on your way to lunch. Not taking into recognition how much you have and how easily accessible your daily means of surviving are.  I’m not saying you are taking things for granted, for all I know you’re a virtuous person, with a good heart.  When you showered this morning and had a quick breakfast, you didn’t take into account how lucky you were to have these things every day, you weren’t washing your hair or eating a piece of toast being thankful for what you have.  Everyone has seen the unfortunate downtown, whether they were drunk and making a scene, or wandering up to you asking for the change in your pockets.  A lot of the time you are startled by them, and maybe even scared.  These people don’t get to wake up to a warm shower, or to a warm meal, they have to struggle to maybe even consume something that day, even then it’s not enough to be healthy.  The clothes on their backs are their wardrobe, and money in their pocket wasn’t earned but from pity.  There are adolescents on the street these days who don’t get a warm bed or a loving family.  They don’t get to play sports. Every day is a day to survive and get by.  It’s really unfortunate how it isn’t their fault they are struggling to survive, most of the time they were brought up in a broken home, were around drugs and alcohol a lot, or their family just couldn’t provide for them any longer, and some didn’t even have a family to start out with.  If you haven’t seen a connection in the adolescent and usually older people who hassle you on the street, you should realize:  they start off as young people in youth shelters, and are usually broken inside and give in to drugs and alcohol.  They go on and on like this until they have lost all their ties, and they are alone in this world.  Struggling to have one decent meal, having issues so deep and vast that they have turned to drugs just to get by and ease the pain.  When a strung out person confronts you on the street asking for your well earned money, you are not thinking about what this person has gone through, you are maybe panicking and trying to avoid them at all costs.  I’m not saying you should give them money, for all we know they are just going to get a quick fix.  I want you to take into consideration that these people didn’t have the push to be successful, or the right people to turn to when they were in the dirt.  They didn’t have a loving family to teach them the right path, or the means to even get by.  They usually started off as teenagers who were viewed as criminals and druggies, who had no one to talk to about their issues, so never did.  They kept going the only way they knew and ended up alone.  I was on the streets for a bit of my life, yes me.  My mother passed away when I was very young and until then I was always around drugs and my abusive father.  I was soon taken away and put in foster homes where I was also abused and not cared for.  At a young age I knew I was a smart kid and I was going to amount to something and I knew none of these people were going to help me.  I was soon on the street fending for myself and also struggling to get by.  I was forced to sell drugs and steal and commit crimes just to survive.  I always had good friends I could go to but lost a lot of them because I fell into drugs and alcohol, but why?  I knew those would never get me anywhere, but why did I always feel so much better when I was high or drunk?  I knew there was a tie in these two so I sought out a psychologist to help me figure myself out.  This man told me I’ve bottled everything up in my life and I used drugs and alcohol to ease the pain I’ve kept down inside all these years.  It all made sense to me now, it was maybe different for some, but I knew I didn’t want to end up like my mother or dad.  I was inspired by this man and realized what I wanted to do with my life.  I wanted to help people like this man did and to do this I needed schooling.  I knew I could get there easily so I aced high school and was easily accepted at the U of C where I am now majoring in psychology.  It doesn’t always just take someone to assess you and help you with your feeling, it’s a major turning point where you change paths and get on track.  Youth need a turning point in their lives…

-Anonymous

The DoorwayComment
Bandwagon
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I’m recently back on the bandwagon and in the NA program. Granted it’s only been a few weeks but I’m doing it and that’s what counts most. Basically what I’m trying to say is no matter what ppl may say behind your back, no matter how many peers doubt your success, no matter how many obstacles may challenge your persistence – don’t back down!

I’ve been falling off and getting back on this bandwagon for as long as I can remember but I know as long as I keep at it something is bound to give. Look at it this way – if you keep trying, something might ‘click’ & ‘stick’. If you stop trying and persistence doesn’t persist then where are you? – in the same dead end place you were before you even tried – nowhere!

I could go on rambling about the many reasons that not giving up is what counts but I’m afraid this would turn into a book. So I’ll close on this note: ‘My worst day clean is always better than my best day using.'

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Mom
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MOM
Did you know a mother is the most important person in a girl's life?
Well what happens when a girl's mom isn’t the mom she's supposed to be?
What happens when a girl's mom is dead inside?
Leaving the girl to always worry and wonder how much longer her mom will last before she dies on the outside too?
I have the answer to these questions.
It hurts.
Your heart feels like it is being torn to shreds every time you think about it.
It's painful.
The pain's so excruciating that sometimes you wonder how you're still surviving. Sometimes you just want to jump out of your own skin, and run as far away as you possibly can.
It's sad.
Sometimes you cry. And sometimes you can't, because you've already spent all your tears on it.
Sometimes you feel so alone.
Sometimes you just want your mom to tell you everything will be ok...
Sometimes you wish you would wake up and it would all be a bad dream.
But you won't. And it isn't.
When it's hard to get out of bed, I still have to. When it's hard to go to work, I still have to.
When it's hard to live for myself, I find it in me to do it anyways. Because I have sisters. And they need me right now.
So I live on. Life goes on. And I make the best of it.
When my Mom falls deeper into addiction, I work harder on recovery.
Because that's all I can do.
Is survive and stay strong

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31 reasons why I am grateful to be clean
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1. I can love myself again
2. I can be there for my sisters
3. I’m healthy
4. I have a choice about the things I do
5. I have my own place with no roommates
6. I have money in the bank
7. I have emotions again
8. I can take custody of my sister when the time is right
9. I’m not dying
10. I am capable of respecting myself now
11. I can buy nice things
12. No hospital trips
13. No trips to the holding cell
14. I have a clean house
15. I can follow through with my plans and my goals
16. I quit smoking
17. My family doesn’t have to watch me destroy myself anymore
18. I can keep my promises
19. I have a decent job
20. I have my physical appearance back
21. I believe in myself again
22. I take proper care of my Kitty
23. I have nice teeth
24. I have nice clothes and tons of shoes!
25. Ppl aren't stealing from me every time I turn my back
26. I can say to myself "I did it!!!"
27. I can connect with other humans again
28. I can sleep every night
29. I pay my own rent and bills
30. I can spend Christmas with my family
31. I can do anything in the world now that I am clean

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Dear Mother,
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Dear Mother,

Thank you for never being anything but on my side and doing what was best for me, even when I didn’t believe that you weren’t doing it to spite me. I’ve come to see that you were always right. I’m sorry for my cruelty and I hope you can find it in your heart to forgive me. Thank you for letting me learn things the hard way, but also thank you for always knowing when I needed you most and never turning your back on me in those times. There’s nothing more that you could have done to try and save me and I’m so grateful that you’re understanding that I’m not ready to get better. I love you mom, forever I’m in your debt.

Xo
-Daughter of yours, 2018

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A Poem I Wrote in Treatment
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There was nothing good about you
You tore me apart
You hypnotized me
You were my answer to all my faults

I'll never forget what you did to me
The pain and grief you caused
I can't believe how blinded I was
To see right past all of your flaws

At first you were a miracle
I was fooled by your disguise
You murdered my friends, you were murdering me
And I still stood by your side

If something was wrong,
You were there for me
No matter where I was,
Who I was with
What I was doing
What I had done...
You were there...

No matter how good I felt,
Or how bad I felt
You
Were
Always
There.
You never left my side...

Until I said goodbye.

I never expected what you did to me
When I chose to say goodbye...

You left me
ALONE BROKEN
CHEWED UP HELPLESS
SPAT OUT BETRAYED

You left me feeling DEAD inside

You did this to me
We were supposed to be friends
You stabbed me in the back

Well friend, I promise you one thing only.

I chose life, not METH

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