October 6, 1997
The following story was written by Finley Michel, from Manitoba
In a damp dark hotel with stale beer and old cigarette smoke hanging in the air as I sit in my chair I wonder how I ever sank so low to end up here.
My addiction was unlike anything I had ever known before. It made me cheat, steal and lie. It made my wife leave but most of all it caused my mother to cry.
I was 19 turning 20 when my wife left and took my sons. The girl I started seeing took a bunch of pills and committed suicide. From then on I figured my life was over and done. The main drag was now my home, my drunken friends were now my family. They were my only family because my real one wanted nothing to do with me. They wouldn't accept me, they wouldn't have me.
It wasn't always like this though. Once upon a time I was a very happy young guy. I had everything going for me - a car, house and a good woman to stand by my side. God that seems like such a long time ago. I'm only 22 but I feel twice that old.
I remember how every time I would sober up I would cry. I felt all of the heartache and pain I was drinking to forget, all the heartache and pain I was trying to hide. I remember being there for about a year and a half drinking almost every day, and almost every time I sobered up I would pray to God or someone to take me away.
I wanted to die.
I was 21 when I ended up in the "pen" and it was here I found myself. It was here I finally sobered up and started to pick up the pieces of my life to start over again. I cannot finish this poem because I don't know how it will end, but when you read this please just take a second and think that all my troubles started after just one drink.
SO JUST SAY NO TO DRUGS AND ALCOHOL.
[Published with permission, this story is from the collection of stories, poetry and visual art by the students of the school at Stony Mountain Correctional Institute, Stony Mountain, Manitoba, Spirit Within Our Dreams, p. 43.].