As I learned how to become a functional working alcoholic and drug addict, where I would work all day, and party every night, I started turning to people around me for support, as I tried with many unsuccessful attempts of treatment centres, detoxification centres, counseling and never really knowing how I was holding down my job, my residence and my sanity. All I knew at this time was that I was going into an early grave with no remorse of what I was doing to myself or to the people around me and how and what they were feeling from my actions. It was at this point I began searching for the family I thought I had lost throughout my struggles.
Kelly with her friend Saraphine, before moving to Winnipeg.
Shortly after my 30th birthday, I went and visited my older brother Kevin in Winnipeg, Manitoba. When I arrived, we started talking about our mother along with the events and circumstances that changed our lives and the direction our lives took. We both knew we had lost a great deal in our lives and both of us had to change drastically to heal ourselves and move towards a path of healing. It was during this visit that I decided I needed a change in my life, and before I knew it, I was packed and moving to Winnipeg two days later to begin a new life, still not knowing where I was going. Once again, I soon noticed that I began to seek out people who were also alcoholics and drug addicts.
New to the city and not knowing the dangers around me, I found this new life exciting and unfamiliar and was in awe with my surroundings. Since I had no income or a place to stay in Winnipeg, I began to seek employment at a call centre and moved into a rooming house, trying to survive on my last paycheck from Ontario. Soon after my move to the city, my brother and I began to argue over the past and what happened to us. I noticed I still had a lot of anger within me that I never dealt with, but somehow managed to stuff it down so I didn’t feel it or it did not affect my everyday life. Not knowing, I was headed towards my own disaster.
Kelly Anderson is the President of the Nishnawbe-Gamik Friendship Centre Board of Directors and serves as the Treasurer for the Ontario Native Women’s Association.
The first part of her story can be found here. Stay tuned for parts 3 and 4 on A4W Live.