What is hitting bottom for a drug addict? Do addicts need to hit their bottom before getting help? Ending up in the hospital or sitting in a prison cell — the bottom? It’s different for everyone. Many live as functioning addicts for a long time before realizing they need help. And drug addiction knows no bounds and can enslave anyone from the educated to the non-educated, and Christian families are not always exempt.
This is the last interview in the series. Tristan is an articulate 27-year-old young man from Bermuda who graduated from the 12-month program at Teen Challenge in Winnipeg, Manitoba.
1. What is your family, job, and education background?
I have a mother, but my father passed away in 2011 from cancer. My mother struggles with alcoholism and drug addiction. I was employed in the insurance industry. And my educational background is a Bachelor of Arts in economics. I’ve done first year law.
2. What one thing contributed to your drinking and drug use?
Peer pressure and insecurity.
3. Were you affected by alcohol or drugs growing up? If yes, how?
My mother was a drug addict and an alcoholic. I grew up in a divorced home. I never had a constructive environment to grow up. I didn’t know what a family nucleus was or anything like that. I got off track at a young age. I started using marijuana when I was 15 and started using hard drugs when I was 18. I’m now 27 so I was addicted to drugs for 10 years of my life.
4. What was the turning point where you realized you were out of control and needed help?
In 2011 I nearly died. I overdosed on drugs and woke up in the hospital and stayed there for 7 days. They found an enzyme in my heart which was indicative of oxygen deprivation. And that was a traumatic experience, and well before that I was using hard drugs regularly and my life was in a bad place.
5. How did you hear about Teen Challenge?
Sandra Butterfield, whom I would like to say thank you to, heads up a Focus Group in Bermuda, and I give her heartfelt thank you for introducing me to Teen Challenge.
6. Have you attended any other rehabs before Teen Challenge?
Like I said I attended Sandra Butterfield’s Focus Group for a short period of time and also went to the men’s treatment centre in Bermuda. But not for very long.
7. What would you like to share with loved ones who try to help but find themselves helpless?
Stop enabling. Don’t support them financially. Don’t give them a place to stay, don’t give them free food. Tell them it’s rehab or the highway. Thank you uncle Peter.
8. Can you share some dreams you now have for your future?
I would like to play professional soccer. I would like to get back into the insurance industry. I currently am in full-time ministry. I would like to get better at the base too. I just got Canadian citizenship which I’m very happy about so I don’t necessarily have to go back to Bermuda.
9. What is your favourite Bible verse and what it means to you?
It comes from Ecclesiastes 5:7. It says “Talk is cheap, like day dreams and other useless activities. Fear God instead.” I like this verse because it’s all about ….it’s a mindset like you have to fear God and you have to believe in God to fear God. You have to be motivated to live a Godly live. And I don’t like sacramental people and I don’t like people being fake. I think it’s time for me to grow up and take responsibility for what I’ve done and the verse really sticks out to me. I like it.
10. Why did you decide to work with Teen Challenge?
It’s just a nice sanctuary between being a student and maybe going on to find employment outside of Teen Challenge. I committed to being a student for a year. It’s just what I know in the last year. I’m in a new city and just got my Canadian Citizenship and I’m working on getting my driver’s licence. So it’s a really practical safe way for me to rest in life for the moment.
11. Do you see yourself getting more education in Canada?
I would like to. I have aspirations to finish my LLB and get a Masters degree in economics. I’m starting to show interest in Kinesiology and health and nutrition and stuff like that. At the same time I would like to coach soccer. I may be too old to play soccer, but I’m not letting go of that dream though.
12. Anything else you want to share?
Teen Challenge is a great organization to work for. Throughout the year I’ve made relationships with the pastors there and leaders. It’s really nice and I’m part of the choir and the outreach team. Pastor Terry has really helped me and brother Steve he’s got a great vision for what’s going on. He really believes in my future, and it really helps to have these strong Godly influences in my life.
Thank you Tristan for sharing your story. It gives hope to others.
Some Links below:
A graduate of Teen Challenge in Winnipeg: Lottery winner former addict loses fortune but finds solace in helping others
Winnipeg Centre: Adult & Teen Challenge Central Canada
National: Teen Challenge Canada