THE ADVOCATE 235
VOL. 77 PART 2 MARCH 2019
RETURN TO USEFULNESS
Growing up in a household with an alcoholic mother was confusing. My
father travelled regularly for work. Memories of my childhood are plagued
with seemingly endless nights, listening to the failed footwork of my
mother navigating the hallways. At a very young age I decided for myself
that I must be doing something to cause her condition. This irrational sense
of responsibility grew with the years, and so did my central belief system
built on a foundation of fear.
Perhaps as a coping mechanism, I quickly became focused on competitive
hockey and soccer. I was comfortable with sport. I knew exactly where
I had to be, when I had to be there and what was expected of me. My mom
and dad both attended regularly. I truly valued this time with my parents.
My dad is a hard-working, loving man, and he set a very good example of
what to strive for in life.
Eventually, as a result of a shoulder injury and a failed junior hockey
attempt, my convenient distraction from fear came to an abrupt end. I
became restless, irritable and discontent. I quickly found a new solution to
ward off feeling this way: drinking and using drugs. But the relief was shortlived.
Each time I used, I lived with ever-increasing irrational fear.
I began mixing drugs and alcohol with extreme sports. This potentially
lethal combination of adrenaline and chemicals was now the only way I
could experience any relief from my obsessive thoughts and fears. Healthy
relationships became increasingly difficult to maintain as I became less
responsible, less reliable and less rational.
I was in serious car accident in 2008. While it was fortunate no one was
seriously injured, this event resulted in a criminal driving offence and a
three-year driving ban. This was a pivotal event in my life. I wouldn’t drive
again for nearly ten years. I couldn’t function comfortably in society sober,