From battling addiction to healthy, happy grandmother

One woman’s story of losing her old life to addiction and how she found the courage and community help to build a new one.


In the middle of the night, the sound of a train suddenly lurching forward sounds like a cannon being fired.  That was the noise that woke Jean up every night when she was sleeping in the park beside the train yard. This was during the worst part of her life. Lost in addiction, under the manipulative sway of her drug-addicted husband, and selling her body to pay for their habits. “I had always told myself that I would never sell my body, because there was no way back after that. And then I started doing it to pay for our drugs. And I did more and more drugs to numb the pain and shame.”

But Jean was wrong about coming back. She found the strength to take the first step and ask for help. She found constant, understanding support from Henry, an outreach worker at the Health Centre. “He’s been there for me, whenever I need him. He’s made phone calls for me, he helped me get a bank account, he goes to appointments with me if I need his support. No one at the Health Centre ever judged me. They just helped.” With their support, she left the unhealthy relationship with her partner and started rebuilding her own life, piece by piece.

Now Jean’s life is better. She has been clean and sober for two and half years, a hard-fought battle that still continues each and every day. Jean knows the triggers and the temptations that could put her sobriety in jeopardy, and she works hard to avoid those situations.

Next September, she’s applying to Fanshawe College so she can someday work at the Health Centre herself. “I just want to give back and help someone else who is in the same place I was.”

The very best part of her life now is family. Her son and her daughter are proud of her recovery and are supporting her as she rebuilds her life. Because of all of her hard work and courage, and the support of Henry and the Health Centre team, Jean is a happy, healthy grandma.