D is a former resident and participant in WICM’s First Steps to Employment Project. For many years she convinced herself that her dependency on alcohol enhanced her personality in a positive way until she found herself in a toxic and violent relationship, working as a massage parlour Madame and left helpless by her deteriorating health. Despite becoming temporarily wheelchair bound due to alcohol related neuropathy, she recalls not being able to get out of bed and still wondering how she would get her next drink.
A volatile relationship with alcohol coupled with a series of poor choices resulted in D being fired from her job and charged with impaired driving. With no source of income, her boyfriend convinced her to grow marijuana out of the home they both shared.
Eventually, her home was raided by police and she was charged with cultivation for the purposes of trafficking, however, the charges were stayed. All these factors only added fuel to the fire. Alcohol was still very present in her life but her boyfriend’s solution was to beat her rather than support her through her recovery. At one point she was beaten so badly that she sustained brain injuries.
Feeling broken and defeated she made two life changing phone calls, one to the Winnipeg police, to lay charges against her boyfriend and another to her sister. Throughout her struggles D’s sister had disconnected from her but that fateful day she answered her call and opened her doors. She offered her a place to stay on the condition that she seek treatment.
In the spring of 2009 D arrived at Esther House, and began the journey of healing she desperately needed. It was at Esther House she met a woman who told her about AA meetings at Anishinabe and D eventually found herself at Place of Hope. She discovered WICM’s First Step to Employment Project and enrolled.
“I moved in to the 3rd floor, 308 good memory” she said with a warm smile “I was doing chores which helped me feel responsible”.
With a safe, stable and affordable environment D was able to attend school and become a certified health care aid in 2014. With each stride forward her past did not fail in creating road blocks. She recalls feeling knocked down and running into the office crying, “That love and support encouraged me to do better, someone would always be there to help me find solutions and do what was right for me”.
WICM helped her through the process of attaining a pardon which allowed her to be self-sustaining, earn a liveable wage and build her self-confidence.
In her four-year long journey, she never imagined she would meet her future husband, become a home owner and attain a career as a health care aid. All it took was steps in the right direction to begin her journey towards a better future.
-Past Resident of the First Steps Program