Our Alumni ShareTheir Stories

Darren’s Story

My name is Darren and work as a truck driver at a mine. I recently self-disclosed to a severe cocaine addiction, and went into rehab at the Sage Treatment Center in Kamloops. I want to give a real heartfelt thank you to how my employers treated me when I was at the lowest point in my life. When I called and told them that I needed help he held out his hand and started the process in motion. Because of the compassion and understanding extended to me by these three people, along with the great care and tools that I received at Sage I’ve been given a chance to build a new drug free life and I will beat this addiction. I would recommend that my employer keep sending our people to Sage as I believe there is no better treatment center in B.C. It has been featured on the tv show “Intervention Canada” four times and has some of the top people in the field of addiction recovery. They saved my life for sure, and have helped many more fellow employees. For this I will be eternally grateful to all of you.
I want to speak on behalf of the addicted worker in the workplace and as a grateful recovering addict, who works at the mine. I want to speak for the many employees at the mine who are still in active addition, because they are the quiet ones that are too afraid to speak up. I consider myself a good man that is active in my community (Kiwanis Club of Kamloops, Boys & Girls Club, Big Brothers & Big Sisters and I coach high school football as well), but my addiction took me to some pretty dark places. I did things like lying, cheating and stealing that hurt myself and many other people that I never would have if not for the addiction. For this reason I have a lot of guilt and shame, and can tell you a lot of others feel this same way. He is helpless in a vicious circle that keeps repeating itself.
His addict brain convinces him that everyone will turn on him, he’ll lose his family, friends and job. His brain is messing with him so bad that it convinces him the only thing to do is to stay quiet. I know that my addict brain was trying to kill me but I couldn’t see it. It convinced me the only person I could trust was me and in reality look what that got me. I wish I knew years ago what I now know, that there are people out there that really want to help and know how to do it.

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J.L.’s Story

I’d like to offer some of my experience with regard to my stay at Sage. I remember how nervous I was while waiting at the Greyhound station for Sue. Once settled in her car, I noticed I was still pretty frightened but knew that I was doing the only thing I could to pull out of the monotony I called life! I arrived late in the evening so settled in to my room and chatted with my only roommate at the time. I was at ‘home’….Right from the very first day, I was exquisitely challenged on every level! The teachings given by loving and caring staff combined with a rigorous approach to writing my steps and open sharing with my dear new friends transformed me.

I worked very closely with Sue and the other counsellors and overcame many very deep routed issues. Purging my pain and bonding with some very beautiful souls in such a spiritually rich environment was completely life changing for me! Today finds me 4 months and 25 days clean and not a minute goes by with out enormous gratitude for those who assisted me in reuniting with my inner self and finding my comfy place in our lovely Universe once again! Sage and her staff are gifts from God! My heart bursts with love for you all!

T.K.’s Story

Sage Health Centre helped me to pick up the pieces of my life that were crumbling around me. I was looking through an alcoholic haze and had lost sight of everything that was important to me—family, friends, a 25 year career in teaching, the freedom to drive due to a DUI—but mostly I had lost my self respect.

The people at Sage were compassionate, supportive and helped me each day to develop the tools and the belief in myself to begin to rebuild my life again.

The process of recovering from an addiction is a kind of a de- and re-construction. You look inside, examine each individual piece, toss out the useless, rehabilitate the useful and put yourself back together again. The staff understands the struggle of dealing with the many issues of addiction. Being part of an AA program is an important part of the ongoing recovery process. It’s about going through the steps and taking care of yourself. One day at a time has turned into almost 2 years now! I have my self respect and my life back. Thank you Sage!

—T.K.

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C.’s Story

I was picked up at the airport and excused myself right away and went to the bathroom and vomited in the sink. Between passing out while vertical and my reluctance to try again, I would never have made it there on my own. When asked how I was, all I could come up with was “sick”.

After 8 days of sleeping and reading, also trying to eat again in the calm safety of detox, I was “dragged” shaking and sweating to Sage Health Centre. Actually almost kicking and screaming.

I was afraid, of failure, of how my disease wasn’t  ready to give up.

I wanted to stay and I wanted to run, but I didn’t run.  I tried to be polite through the admitting process. I felt a lot more knowledgeable than the student social worker that admitted me, my impatience was tempered by a mothering instinct, I was a nurse being nursed. Truly a superiority complex mixed with an inferiority complex, another symptom of my disease.

I was relieved to be shown to a comfortable room for my bedroom. Perhaps I could stay after all. I ventured to the cafeteria, good food and people introduced themselves one by one, a small enough group that actually noticed me.

The program ensued. I felt a sense of being part of this group right away almost, however reluctant I was. My intellect was challenged by the lessons and insights. I remained ready and willing to challenge right back, and I did. I was met with responses that were always encouraging and validating. I looked for and never once heard any negative response to a person’s contribution to the group process sessions. At this, I only upped the ante and actively participated even if only to find a loophole or argument. My opinions were again validated, steam settled and I listened and watched. Lots going on, to relate to and to learn from.

Always the group was left with something to think about, and me in it, began to ease out of my self protective mode, and into the comfortable routine. Thinking, writing and participating, going to meetings almost daily, yoga and meditation all took time, and I began to get quietly better. I especially liked the meditation, no harder than daydreaming, it provided me a way to get in contact with my own sense of inner peace. I would need that inner peace to face challenges ahead, and I drew on it as I took what I was learning and experiencing to heart. I found a peace that I could access instead of the mentally kicking and screaming alcoholic way I entered the Centre.

I grew, however reluctantly I had begun, an enthusiasm and comfort found me. I learned and put into practice some coping skills that had eluded me in past years, always the drink was my solution, but not now. I began to draw on my counsellors for their support and knowledge. Open door policy I was told, and I tested that theory out more than once. Still the challenger. I was met with acceptance and wisdom. And, above all, honesty.
recovery
I cultivated my inner peace and access to it, finding calm in moments of fret. I started to think of myself as ‘in recovery’ and sober, clearer , stronger.  Looking back now, sober 4 months and 19 days, I remember the goodbye hug from my counsellor, who called me ‘sister in recovery’, that makes me feel pretty good. Panic is gone. I still attend meetings and counselling. Recovery is a process , not an endpoint. Also gone is the intense shame and guilt, in it’s place is a sense of belonging to a group of very brave people who through honesty , openness and willingness have entered into a better life with better choices. Thanks to Sage.  Oh and an endpoint. MY husband read this, and said to me, ‘It’s a good thing that you had Sage to go to then isn’t it?’  Hindsight, whew, and, yes.

—C.

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K.’s Story

I knew for quite some time that I had a problem with alcohol. Inside, I knew. Outwardly, I denied it. I was functioning, working, socializing and thinking about keeping up appearances. I felt in control, most of the time. Of course the occasional lack of energy, enthusiasm for life, tardiness for work, and bouts of depression, were of little concern… then. In my mind, I was just living life to the fullest.

What I failed to realize was that, I was just full of it. Full of alcohol, full of denial and full of fabricating stories to suit my purpose. I was pretty good at all that. What I wasn’t good at, was being honest with myself. Recognizing the mental anguish of the routine I had drafted for myself. The constant preoccupation with alcohol. Structuring my day around my drinking activities. Slowly, every aspect of my life was centred around drinking. It consumed every waking moment. I developed a ritual of ticking off my mental checklist. How much was in the fridge, how much would I need after work, over the weekend, what if someone came over, would I have enough, did I really want to share, I hope they bring their own, better yet, I hope they don’t come at all.

It was not that I wanted all my alcohol, but that I needed it. Whatever would I do with myself if I didn’t drink? There was always something to do, but nothing I wanted to do… but get to that familiar place. Of course eventually, I had to drink alone, because no one else could do it as well as I could. I could tell by the look on their faces, that they didn’t see mass consumption as a special talent.  I fancied myself as the master juggler. Juggling work, friends, family and functions. Fact is, I really wasn’t juggling, I was just guzzling. I thought myself to be quite a master magician. Magically performing in my sub-standard way, the duties that were required to get me through the day and back to that familiar place.

Eventually, I withdrew to the point of… now you see me, now you don’t. The isolating was becoming the comfort zone. Still, it didn’t seem all that bad. Who was I hurting? I wasn’t bothering anyone. I was minding my own business, and they damn well better mind theirs! I was beginning to cop quite an attitude. But I had every right. After all, they had one too, and I wasn’t particularly happy with that. I didn’t seem to have a problem telling them what they could do with that attitude of theirs.

Again, what I was failing to realize, was what the real problem was.  Life has a way of opening up our eyes and our hearts. Life gave me Grief…. and a lot of it, in a quick succession. The deaths of 2 siblings, a mother, a father, an aunt, and a best friend. My drinking almost took me… to join them.

That was not my plan… that was what the disease had planned. Physically and mentally. My time had come. Time to lay with the dead, or walk with the living. I had to make that choice, while I still had a choice to make.

That is where my journey to recovery began.  The early stages of that journey led me to Sage Health Centre.  It came highly recommended, and it seemed to be the right fit for my needs. Since I possessed more than one issue, I required a diverse counselling process. I did receive that… and so much more. More than I imagined I would, or could absorb. I reached out to them, and they reached in and pulled me out. Out of the dark, out of the blue and out of my grief. I learned what the word grateful means. Something I hadn’t felt for quite some time. Joy consumes me now… and for that, I am thankful. No longer, “the diamond in the rough”… I shine!  That’s what they told me when I left, that’s what I hear when I go back, and that’s what people say when they greet me. That says to me… they do good work… yep, they do!  And for that… I am Grateful.

—K.F.

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C.M.’s Story

Sage Health Centre has not only saved my life… but has given me the opportunity to live a life beyond my wildest dreams. The staff here is not only loving, compassionate and understanding, they are like family.  I have learned more about myself and addiction than any book could ever teach.  The experience and knowledge I have absorbed here is beyond my years. I have so much gratitude for this place, I can’t emphasize enough how they’ve changed my life in so many ways. I’ve never seen so many wonderful people work so well together. They are a team, they are a family and they are improving the lives of others each and every day!  Thank you, Sage, for bringing my dreams to light and for believing in me and for giving me the opportunity to live a happy and healthy life full of love. A beauty!  Thank you for making miracles happen in my life.

—C.M.

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J.’s Story

When I went on sick leave for MS in the fall of 2008 my addiction sensed that my daily routine which I maintained for years was gone.  It was then that I started drinking in the morning and within six months I was a totally broken individual that lived to drink and drank to live.  With the intervention of my employer, I found Sage Health Centre… the groups gave me a greater understanding of myself and my addiction…
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K.J.’s Story

*warning long read!* This is my story of battling addiction! If I could save just one life from addiction after this story I’d be greatful. I’m currently 3 months and 23 days clean of everything. I was an alcoholic in my early days out doing everything drinking. Then I started being an idiot everytime I went out. Started ruining alot of relationships with friends and such. Friends come and go, so I continued on drinking my life away. Finally I hurt someone I cared a great deal about. I hadn’t remembered anything like the thousand other times. I finally got introduced to a drug cocaine. I felt powerful, hyped, numb relaxed. but most of all it solved my problems with blacking out. I thought this could save me from being an ass hat. It would save me from ruining friendships I thought.For the next few years also battling depression. Work was stressful pour myself a drink I deserve this. 2’6 a night. Urg fighting with friends pour myself a drink. Life sucks pour a drink. I’m so happy let’s get a drink. Im so hungover make some drinks to fix it. Boom wasted. Always upset with everything was my excuse to drink and use. Every emotion carried by using and drinking. But I still don’t have a problem. It’ll be diffrent next time I go out. I’ll control it. But like every other time I’d lose control of myself. Now I’m blacking out while I used. Being even more of a horrible friend. Life sucks. Putting myself in financial debt. Rents due at the end of the month. But it’s payday and it’s the weekend! I don’t need to put money aside I’ll pay it off with my next check. Oh visa bills in also hmm I’ll use the whole next check to pay everything off. Then it just kept going. I kept telling myself I wasn’t an addict. I don’t have a problem an addict is this __________. I still have my job still pay my rent before it’s due. It’s just a age phase. Everything will be diffrent if I find a girlfriend. Boom met a girl head over heels in love with her. Slowed my drinking to just the weekends, for awhile. Finally it was just to much constant fighting.breaks ups get back together I left to rehab to get her back and to get my life together also. Everything was going well. Then a huge stress bubble appeared 7 months clean &sober I though well I’ve been good this long going to the bar just playing pool drinking pop and shots of redbull drugs were in front of me and I said no. In my mind I thought i could go out again.i can control it. then I went out and relapsed Wow did everything spiral out of control fast. And once I had one in me I couldn’t stop. Fighting with friends. I ruined my relationship with my best friend and she left. And sure going out the first few times was good. Didn’t get drugs. Didn’t black out just overall controlled. It only took a few days before I was full blown ol kenny again. Constant black outs. When I’d be going out I’d black out quick my friends would be like wow kenny can’t handle anything haha. Little did anyone know I would wake up at 8am and start drinking at 9am a couple 2’6’s down i should sober up and eat. To the bar and heavy drinking. And didnt eat much go see a few people and be like yep this is my first 2’6 Slowly it just led me to drinking in my room listening to music depressed and scared to go call for help and say I’m relapsing so I kept going. Isolated in my room drinking 3-2’6 this is only all on weekends. I needed to escape suicide had to be the way. Soon after that my last hang over was like every other they were the worst cold shakes sweating uncontrollable shaking puking. This would last days. Then my company sent me to rehab again. This is where I surrendered my life. I went for me because I needed to save myself. now i understand I can’t just have one. It’ll kill me if I do. I found a group of people who struggle with the same battle I do. Those people helped me with my recovery. We support each other and would do anything for one another. I’m slowly fixing myself up and it’s a continuous process of bettering myself and understanding myself. Yes there still is hard times but I rather go through these hard times clean and sober. Then to go back into my addiction where my life’s unmanageable. I’m happy when i wake up and I’m happy when I go to bed. Life’s been amazing these last few months I’m taking everything very serouis because its my life I play with. Grateful for another 24 hours of sobriety. I definitely won the lottery.There’s hope! Everything’s not hopeless. If you want to meet my friends I’d love to introduce you.

Sage Health Centre offered me a very unique program, they knew which direction to guide and assist me in “doing life” again without my drug of choice…If addiction is making your life unmanageable, you will honour yourself by attending Sage Health Centre.

—J.

 

Thank you to all our alumni who have shared their stories and experiences.