The First Step

 When Louis opens his mouth to speak, you listen.  His soothing baritone calms the listener from his first word.  “My father was my best friend, growing up,” he begins.  “I have so many great memories of that man.” 

Mixed with those joyful memories –  the fishing trips, the Sunday brunches after church, tinkering with old cars – there were painful memories too. 

Louis’ parents were both alcoholics, living in an environment where getting drunk was the norm. “When I was seventeen, my mother began sending me to the liquor store for sherry,” he recalls.  “As a reward, she’d give me some.” 

Thus began a pattern of drinking which lasted nearly 45 years.  Louis became a husband, a father, and successful businessman but through it all, he drank.  “I hid it from my wife,” he says. “But, that didn’t last.”  Soon, the wife and the children were gone but still, he drank.  Jobs came and went, his health suffered but through it all, he drank. “I was always thinking about tomorrow,” he recalls.  “Where will I get that bottle? What if I run out?”

Finally, through the intervention of his daughter, he took the first steps toward recovery. “My daughter put her arms around me and lifted me out the door. I couldn’t even walk,” he remembers. “The doctor said if she hadn’t brought me in, I would have died.” Louis’ smooth, velvet voice cracks just a bit when he remembers the most important people in his life: his children. “They saved me,” he says. “Through all this, they never abandoned me.” 

Soon, Louis found himself at the steps of Mission Services of London’s drug and alcohol rehabilitation centre: Quintin Warner House. “This program is unbelievable,” Louis raves.  “I still had so much heavy guilt and shame.  The counselors helped me work through all that.” 

With tears in his eyes, he recalls the letters he received, while in treatment, from his children.  “Until then, I’d never faced how much I’d hurt them,” he admits.  “I became so in touch with my feelings, it completely changed me.  It opened a door in my mind.”

Louis is coming up on one year sobriety.  He graduated from Quintin Warner House and moved to the Annex – an aftercare facility focused on easing the transition into sober living in society.  With his compassionate nature and soothing voice, it’s no surprise to find he is now working for a large communications corporation yet still finds time to mentor current residents of Quintin Warner House.  “My purpose is to help people as much as I can,” he says.  “I’m the story of the guy who had no hope, who felt like he was in the dark. Now, because of [Quintin Warner House] I am where I want to be.”  Louis proudly maintains an extraordinary relationship with his children. “Look to the future,” he says with a broad smile. “That’s what I always say.”

Look to the future.

For more information about Quintin Warner House click HERE

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