“My family didn’t want anything to do with me. They kicked me out of their lives, as good of people as they are. It was the greatest thing they could do for me and themselves”. Looking back, Brian understands the boundaries his family built throughout his drug use. “I was out of control. I had lost my car, I started selling my household items, I had to get rid of my apartment and I was downtown on the streets,” he shared. Though he began seeking sobriety around the age of 25, he could never manage to stay clean for long.
In 2018, Brian was in a detox treatment centre where he met someone who told him, “You could really use a place like Quintin Warner House”. “I remember him looking at me and saying those exact words. I said, ‘Okay, sure.’ I knew I needed more help so I signed up”.
While waiting to begin the addiction treatment program at Quintin Warner House, Brian slipped back into using drugs. “I just started using with reckless abandon,” he said. “I actually barely made it to Quintin Warner House”. The day before he was supposed to leave for London he used all of the drugs he had and fell asleep. “My dad kept calling me because he said he would drive me as long as I was going to treatment. He actually hunted me down, found me, threw me in the back of his car, and drove me to London… I found my way to detox and then came to Quintin Warner House”. Though there were boundaries between Brian and his family, they loved him unconditionally and did not give up on his recovery.
Brian’s experience at Quintin Warner House was unlike any other. “They’re actually there for you. They actually care,” he said. “On a daily basis, they get you into a structure. You start eating three meals a day, you go to the gym every day, you do therapy at the same time every day. You get into a routine, and then they start to talk to you about how you handle stress and emotions,” he explained.
Reflecting on his time in the program, Brian is grateful for the skills and tools he learned to help manage his emotions. “One of the biggest things was seeing the reality of who I am as a person and that includes my assets and the good things… they show you who you are as a person”.
Importantly, healing and therapeutic conversations did not just occur during scheduled sessions. They happened any time of day or night. “I couldn’t tell you how many times I would get up in the middle of the night and go downstairs to talk to the overnight staff. Probably three or four times a week, and some of my best moments were those chats,” Brian said. “When you’re putting your life on pause and you’re doing a thorough look at yourself and your life, it doesn’t happen on your time. It happens whenever it happens. It could happen at 2:00 am when something comes to your mind and you need to talk to someone”.
Brian believes that knowing someone is available to talk to around the clock, fosters a sense of security for everyone in the house. “The men staying in Quintin Warner House have lived a life of trauma and a life where they need to feel safe. In order to get better, you need to be in a safe place”.
After graduating from the treatment program, Brian found another safe haven in a Quintin Warner House Annex which offers temporary housing and supports for alumni as they transition back into the community. “It’s one thing to stay clean and do great things for yourself when you’re in an environment that promotes that. But once you leave and have some freedom, that’s when you get tested,” Brian explains. “The Annex was great… It was nice to have a safe place to live after graduation. Every day I could get up, do what I have to do, and if I have any issues, I can walk next door and those people that helped me for four months are still there for support. They’re able to get me the care and help I need… It’s like training wheels for life”.
Today, Brian is living a vibrant life of recovery. “When I came into Quintin Warner House, I had no job, no place to live, no family [of my own], no girlfriend, no money. Today, I have a great job, I’m going to university, and I have my family back in my life. I talk to them on a regular basis. They trust me again. I have a girlfriend. I have a completely different life than I did two years ago”.
The difficult boundaries that had to be built between Brian and his family are receding. “My relationship with my parents is really good today. I call my mom at least once a week and I text her all the time, and she texts me”.
Brian attributes much of his new life to the time he spent at Quintin Warner House. “At the end of the day, Quintin Warner House changed my life. I was a certain person on a certain path before I got into Quintin Warner House. I was walking down that path and they grabbed me by the shoulders and turned me around, and I started walking down a new path. My life has completely changed for the better”.
Written by Amy Bumbacco Communications & PR Coordinator