Hello, my name is Dee Dee and I’m a grateful recovering drug addict.I grew up in what seemed to the outside world as a put-together family. I started experimenting with drugs and alcohol at age 12. When my parents split up in 2010, I moved in with my mom to the Okanagan. I realize now that she did the best she could on her own with what she knew. I became a troubled youth and was acting out in all kinds of ways. When I was 19, I finally graduated high school. I was pregnant and in a serious relationship. The night after my grad ceremony, we had a house fire and we lost literally everything. Once I lost the house, that serious relationship ended. I took my car with what I owned and moved back up north to my dad’s. I ended up getting an abortion and moving in with a new partner shortly after. After the move I started using heavily, and by the time I turned 20, I was fully physically dependant on hard drugs. On May 30th 2015, my dad lost his battle with colon cancer. Within 2 months of that on July 12th 2015, our family friend who I considered a sister, also passed away. I wasn’t present during these events. I went to treatment in 2017, but that didn’t work for me. I tried geographical change, I tried “white-knuckling” it by putting myself on a plane to the States to visit my sister, but I couldn’t stop or control my using. For anything, or anyone. In 2018 I got involved with the courts. I lost my licence. I was in and out of jail. I was constantly on the run doing crime, spending my time with people who didn’t have good intentions for me. I did anything to support my habit. Eventually I lost everything I had gained. I spent most of my days on the streets or in the middle of nowhere in my trailer. Off grid. Alone and isolated. I wanted sobriety but didn’t know how to ask for help. I ended up just giving up, my body gave up too. I was found on the streets in the cold, undressed and unconscious. I was in the hospital before coming to Westminster House. Westie House from the start, accepted me with open arms. They didn’t have room in the adult houses but the staff accompanied my arrival date and placed me in the youth house for a few days until I was able to move into the main house. I was a shell of a human when I arrived. I didn’t know how to feel my feelings. I was never taught how to deal with grief and loss or express my feelings in a safe environment. I’ve been trying to numb them for so long and run away from myself. Westie House gave me a safe environment to identify my feelings and to express them. I was able to be vulnerable, connect with my peers, and have made some real friendships as a result of that. The opposite of addiction is connection and I quickly gained that connection. Westie House doesn’t keep us in a bubble being confined to the property. We can go to appointments, to NA meetings, to local events happening in the community, or just to the park to enjoy the sunshine. I spent Christmas here and my birthday. I felt more special during those occasions than I have felt in such a long time. I stayed in primary care for 4 months. I’m currently living in the transition house. I love the after care in this program. The doors have opened up for me with continued support and staying connected with the newcomers to the House. I’m grateful that I can now share my experience, strength and hope with them. Recently I’ve been employed by Westminster House, and have so much gratitude for the opportunity. I am so thankful for my life today, my family and friends. Thank you Westminster House for giving me my life back and teaching me how to be a contributing member of society. Dee Dee F.