Finding the strength to stay clean, stay sober in pandemic isolation

By | April 13, 2020

I’ve spent years being sick, suffering from a disease that has been killing a lot of people for years. 

It’s called addiction. 

My obsession for drugs and alcohol hasn’t stopped. 

I’m just learning how to address the issues that in the past caused me to fall into the same cycle, and the same self-sabotaging behaviours over and over again. 

It’s funny — my whole perception of life has shifted. Even how I recognize myself — and realize that my affection for my old lifestyle has changed.  

I realize that the reflections of my past — the mental, physical, emotional and spiritual scars that have been inflicted —are a part of my story.

Finding my place in the world

I am now finding my identity in a world with so much corruption, where addiction and criminal activity is all around me. 

The way I see it, at a young age, you’re shaped and molded to live a certain way. 

Parents and family members always guide you in a direction to protect the family —  don’t let anyone know what goes on in a household. 

The image of the family is the foundation that “everything is all right” — even when it isn’t.

In April 2019, the CBC’s Marcy Markusa listened as Jeremy Raven, right, then an inmate at Headingley Correctional Centre, shared his story. (Donna Carreiro/CBC)

I was forced to live a double life and pretend that I was happy — when the reality of the matter was that I was scared.

The freedom of being able to go out and see people that matter have been a huge part of my recovery.– Jeremy Raven

The screams, the fights and the abuse damaged me. 

Abandoned, neglected, longing for a better life, I found the warmth and the guidance of older individuals from the neighborhood. 

The guilt, the shame and the self-pity now overwhelms me — in a world that surrounds me with alcoholism and drug addiction.

Recovery during COVID-19

And now, social distancing has affected so much in my life. 

You see, the freedom of being able to go out and see people that matter have been a huge part of my recovery. 

There are new ways of communicating with groups and social gatherings, but none of them are like actually being in the presence of people who have helped me on this journey.

The fear of getting sick or others getting sick weighs on my conscience — so I’m not wanting to leave the house. But as a result, I am alone and lonely.  

I truly feel for the people that have been affected by the virus and their families.

My heart goes out to you.

This column is part of  CBC’s Opinion section. For more information about this section, please read this editor’s blog and our FAQ.

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