#wearenot9to5 is a series of stories about mental health & addiction from people in the hospitality, food & beverage service industry. We share these posts to normalize the challenges and decrease the stigma and shame.
Photograph: Les Williams (left) and Adrian Stein (right).
This piece was written for the alumni newsletter of Kettleby Ranch treatment centre.
Hello my name is Adrian Stein, and I am a recovering IV heroin/ fentanyl addict. The first time I went to treatment was on Feb 6th 2010. I went to Renascent, an addiction rehab centre in Toronto but I wasn’t ready and soon relapsed. Soon after I attended Kettleby Ranch from Sept 6th, 2011 to January 23rd 2012.
I have been clean and sober for 6 years. Not continuously, but I am clean and sober today. To me that’s all that matters...
I want to speak on what I think is a VITAL (life or death) factor when it comes to recovery, SUPPORT. In my opinion, the only reason I am alive today is because of the support I am fortunate enough to have in my life yesterday, today, and I have no doubt, tomorrow too. I want to speak on different aspects of support.
FAMILY: For me family is the most important line of support. Family offers unconditional love with little or no judgement. My parents and my sisters saved my life. I have no doubt about it, and for that I am eternally grateful.
Now, family can mean different things. Family can be your mother, father , uncle, aunt, etc. but there is another family in my life today too. The family I have from the 12 step fellowship I am part of are my recovery family. These people are just as much family to me as my bloodline, and have been KEY in my recovery. Without them, I have no recovery.
The friends I have today are all people whom I respect. I base my friendships on their morals and values , and ensure they line up with my morals and values. I live by TODAY. I think it is very important to surround ourselves with kind, caring, compassionate people. People who are honest and authentic. Previously the company I kept was the opposite of that, and these people proved to be anything but friends. One thing I have learned is that it isn’t the number of REAL friends I have, its the people themselves that make the difference. I wholeheartedly believe in the concept of strength in numbers. Today when an issue arises we help each other in anyway we can. No matter what. Many of these friends are friends I have made in recovery and who are in recovery themselves.
In my opinion, I have the greatest sponsor on the planet. His name is Les Williams, and he was the head councillor at the Kettleby ranch when I attended. Without this man, I would be dead. No doubt about it. This man sat me down, took me through the big book of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), and put it into a language i could understand. As well he didn’t care what my drug of choice was, to him the solution and process of recovery is the same, regardless of the drug.
One thing I resent in the program of AA, is that too many people tell us we don’t belong there because our addiction is to drugs. I am sure being turned away has killed some people. Personally I didn't find the type of recovery I was looking for in CA or NA but that is just me and there are also fellowships for drug based addictions.
Les has the opposite approach. He is the most non-judgmental, accepting, loving human being I have ever met. To me, he is the master and I am the student. Without him I wouldn’t be healthy and happy today.
I believe everyone has to personalize their program choice and recovery is individualized. What I have shared is only based on my personal opinion and experience.
Today I am happy, healthy and beyond grateful for Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH), Cornerstone Recovery, Trafalgar Residence Rice Lake and the Kettleby ranch. If anyone reading is looking for more information on what I did and continue to do to survive heroin/fentanyl addiction, please do not hesitate to reach out.
I could speak on this topic for an infinite amount of time, but I wanted to keep it simple and emphasize the support that has made all of the difference in my life. It's not about the amount of support, but the right kind of support...for me at least.
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Phone: 289-338-2070
A little more information...
I attended all 4 treatment facilities over the last 10 years. All are a big part of my journey. All are valuable resources for anyone in Ontario (Canada)
Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH): OHIP covered
Renascent addiction rehab centres: semi private (pay with some Ohip spots available)
Trafalgar: private (pay to attend)
Cornerstone + Kettleby Ranch: semi private (pay with some Ohip beds available)