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A place to call home

Selfie photo of Wade.

I’ve struggled with alcohol addiction for most of my life. It took me on a wild ride, and it wasn’t good. I started drinking when I was quite young, and it became a problem when I was about 25 years old. It was interfering with my life: I’d find myself in dangerous situations with no memory of how I got there. And it affected my relationships, too. Even my brother told me that he’d had enough of me. I left my hometown for the first time when I was 19 to move to a different province for employment. Since then I’ve been back and forth many times. I’ve never been able to hold down a job—every position I’ve lost is because of alcohol.

My housing situation has always been precarious, too. I’ve moved around a lot because I get kicked out of housing due to my addiction. At one point I had to spend a few nights in a homeless shelter, but I’ve been able to stay off the streets because my parents have helped me out when I really needed it.  

I’ve been in and out of various treatment program and always do really well when I’m at the centre, but I have a lot of trouble keeping it up once I leave.  

I recently stayed in a United Way-supported shelter. They let me stay for two months, even though they usually only allow a 30-day stay. When it was time to leave they helped me find a room to rent. Once I was set up, I went back to drinking and almost got kicked out of my new place. Thankfully my support worker intervened and convinced the landlady to let me stay. It was at this point that I realized something had to change. I was so sick of moving around and being a disappointment to my daughter. It was time for me to grow up.  

The program I was put in touch with at the shelter helped me achieve my goals, and I’ve been sober now for eight months. They also support me in other ways: they call to check in, they make sure I have food by helping me get to the grocery store or food bank, and they ensure I get to my medical appointments. They’ve helped me immensely. I’d probably be homeless right now if it wasn’t for this agency. Because of them I’ve never felt better than I do now, and there would be a lot of other people without hope, too, if it wasn’t for this program.  

Since the COVID-19 pandemic hit I’ve been staying at home and only leaving to get groceries. I’m thankful that I live with seven other people, because I haven’t felt too isolated. And I’m really glad to have the program. They check in on me to make sure I’m doing well, and I know that if I need anything, I can give them a call.”

- WADE
United Way program participant