Our Stories

"I’ve been reborn since I’ve been here"

Picture of Kenneth Ryan, author of story
Kenneth Ryan, 2017

I was born in 1974, and grew up in Montreal, in an Irish community with a lot of history. My father wasn’t around, but my mother remarried when I was one. I had a great stepfather.

When I was nine, we moved to Scarborough for two years. One day, I borrowed a friend’s bicycle, and I went to the local mall. There was a man who had a lot of kids with him, and I spent some time with them. Then later, he came back without the kids, and he lured me away and molested me.

When I managed to get away from him, I banged on cars with families in them, asking for help, and no-one stopped. When I got home at last, I was late and I had left my friend’s bike behind. I was spanked. I couldn’t tell them what happened.

Then when we moved back to Montreal when I was 11, an uncle molested me for a year and a half.

From that point on, I started to rebel. I started to shoplift and hang around with kids that misbehaved. The older I got, the worse the situation got. I started drinking and smoking marijuana and hash. I became a pretty severe drug addict and alcoholic.

Despite the addictions, I managed to score some fantastic jobs with good pay – a lot of these jobs were sales jobs. I’d make thousands of dollars in commissions one week, then I’d miss half the next week because I was drunk and high.

I had a relationship with another addict. We had three daughters together. She managed to get clean 9 years ago, and I didn’t. She left me for another person, and I spiralled out of control. I had another daughter who is now 6 with another woman. My relationship with her is rocky, to put it mildly – I was hardly ever there for her.

About October of 2016, something happened. I started to get depressed when I used. One day I drank, took pills, and tried to hang myself. I woke up 9 hours later in a bathroom with a big bruise on the side of my head.

I tried to get into treatment in Quebec because I could not stop using on my own. I found that I had to wait up to 16 weeks for detox because I could not afford to pay. Then I found out that I could go into detox in Ontario.

In December, I packed up what little I had and took a bus to Toronto. I stood in the bus station and called Central Intake every five minutes until I was accepted at a detox. The detox gave me a list of places where I could stay until treatment. Four days after I got off that bus, I got into the DARE Program.

When I got here, I had nothing – just a fall jacket, beaten up shoes, a pair of jeans and a couple of t-shirts.

DARE gave me socks and underwear to last a week, a sweater, winter jacket, boots. They helped me get glasses so I could read at last.

I suffer from bi-polar disorder – I was diagnosed about 7 years ago, but I never got treatment. DARE helped me get a psychiatrist, so now I know a few things about myself — I have a medical disorder that can cause me to make really bad decisions.

I really would say that God picked me up in his hand and took me through the system and gave me everything I needed to make the right decisions. I went to treatment for 30 days, and came back to DARE.

I could not have made this progress without the DARE Program. I have a tremendous amount of gratitude for it and I always will.

I’ve been reborn since I’ve been here. I feel guilty now when I judge people. There’s so much more illness and suffering out there than we realize.

I am sure God is watching out for me. God caught me in his hands. I feel I have nothing to worry about, no anxiety.

Hopefully one day, I’ll become one of those people who donate to the Good Shepherd.

I was born in 1974, and grew up in Montreal, in an Irish community with a lot of history. My father wasn’t around, but my mother remarried when I was one. I had a great stepfather.

 

When I was nine, we moved to Scarborough for two years. One day, I borrowed a friend’s bicycle, and I went to the local mall. There was a man who had a lot of kids with him, and I spent some time with them. Then later, he came back without the kids, and he lured me away and molested me.

 

When I managed to get away from him, I banged on cars with families in them, asking for help, and no-one stopped. When I got home at last, I was late and I had left my friend’s bike behind. I was spanked. I couldn’t tell them what happened.

 

Then when we moved back to Montreal when I was 11, an uncle molested me for a year and a half.

 

From that point on, I started to rebel. I started to shoplift and hang around with kids that misbehaved. The older I got, the worse the situation got. I started drinking and smoking marijuana and hash. I became a pretty severe drug addict and alcoholic.

 

Despite the addictions, I managed to score some fantastic jobs with good pay – a lot of these jobs were sales jobs. I’d make thousands of dollars in commissions one week, then I’d miss half the next week because I was drunk and high.

 

I had a relationship with another addict. We had three daughters together. She managed to get clean 9 years ago, and I didn’t. She left me for another person, and I spiralled out of control. I had another daughter who is now 6 with another woman. My relationship with her is rocky, to put it mildly – I was hardly ever there for her.

 

About October of 2016, something happened. I started to get depressed when I used. One day I drank, took pills, and tried to hang myself. I woke up 9 hours later in a bathroom with a big bruise on the side of my head.

 

I tried to get into treatment in Quebec because I could not stop using on my own. I found that I had to wait up to 16 weeks for detox because I could not afford to pay. Then I found out that I could go into detox in Ontario.

 

In December, I packed up what little I had and took a bus to Toronto. I stood in the bus station and called Central Intake every five minutes until I was accepted at a detox. The detox gave me a list of places where I could stay until treatment. Four days after I got off that bus, I got into the DARE Program.

 

When I got here, I had nothing – just a fall jacket, beaten up shoes, a pair of jeans and a couple of t-shirts.

 

DARE gave me socks and underwear to last a week, a sweater, winter jacket, boots. They helped me get glasses so I could read at last.

 

I suffer from bi-polar disorder – I was diagnosed about 7 years ago, but I never got treatment. DARE helped me get a psychiatrist, so now I know a few things about myself — I have a medical disorder that can cause me to make really bad decisions.

 

I really would say that God picked me up in his hand and took me through the system and gave me everything I needed to make the right decisions. I went to treatment for 30 days, and came back to DARE.

 

I could not have made this progress without the DARE Program. I have a tremendous amount of gratitude for it and I always will.

 

I’ve been reborn since I’ve been here. I feel guilty now when I judge people. There’s so much more illness and suffering out there than we realize.

 

I am sure God is watching out for me. God caught me in his hands. I feel I have nothing to worry about, no anxiety.

 

Hopefully one day, I’ll become one of those people who donate to the Good Shepherd.

 








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