When Michael moved into the 1010 Centre a year and half ago he says he felt “immediate warmth” from the staff and other residents and sensed that he had found a new home where God’s presence was felt – a home where he could embark on a journey of healing and self-discovery.
During his adolescence, Michael began using drugs and alcohol to cope with depression; before long he was addicted. In 2005, his attempted suicide brought his whole family together and the healing began. “It was like God gave us all an eye opener and we realized that the danger of drugs and alcohol is real,” says Michael.
He was told he had drug-induced psychosis and began the long road to recovery. After struggling to be clean and sober for several months – in and out of psychiatric wards and treatment centres – he managed to experience sobriety. It was only when the drugs and alcohol were out of his system that doctors were able to determine Michael has schizophrenia.
And while the diagnosis provided relief for his family, Michael sunk into a deep depression again. “I couldn’t see why my family seemed almost happy,” he says. “I just felt lost. I was ashamed and embarrassed. I didn’t want to be sick.” Eventually he realized his family was only happy because there was now a solution; they were relieved that Michael’s schizophrenia could be managed.
He moved back in with his parents in northern Alberta and started looking for a home of his own. “I searched ‘supportive living in Alberta’ and found the 1010 Centre website. It was everything I was looking for.”
Michael says he appreciates having a dedicated Resident Support Worker who looks out for him, and he recognizes the value of the 1010 Centre rules – no drugs or alcohol, and no visitors after midnight. Plus, if residents are going to be away for any length of time, they must let their worker know so their absence can be recorded. “The rules are in place to protect us and help us progress,” he says, “and for the safety of others.”
Michael is a member of the SMART Recovery program offered in the 1010 Centre, which has helped him maintain his sobriety and provided an opportunity for him to share and build relationships with fellow residents who also attend the program.
At the 1010 Centre, we believe in giving people chances. Although Michael has had two relapses, they were short-lived because he possessed the strength and courage to approach staff and ask for help. Michael says he also knows God is with him and that he is loved unconditionally.
Michael continues to grow spiritually, mentally and physically, and he epitomizes The Mustard Seed’s message of growing hope, building community, and supporting change.
“I like the message on the mat downstairs – Hope Grows Here. It’s nice to come home to.”
Michael has written a poem about his journey. Click here to read The Road by Michael