My name is Kevin Sheane and I’m about to tell you the story of my life. I’m going to tell you about the ups, downs, wins and losses that I’ve endured and overcome. My journey is one of both immense joys and utter defeats, but a few things have stayed consistent; I’ve been blessed with amazing opportunities, a united family, and the ability to adapt and bounce back.
I was born on May 17th,1989 in Vancouver, British Columbia and was then raised in Langley; the youngest of three siblings, I was fortunate to have a mother and father who loved me with every fibre of their being.
The youngest child, I have two older brothers, both of whom are role models. I don’t remember much from before I started school, which I think says a lot. I had a happy childhood. I was supported, cared for, doted on, and had everything that I needed and most of what I wanted. We were a normal middle-class family.
Like most young boys, I was crazy about sports. I particularly enjoyed playing soccer, baseball and football. To this day, I can remember that both parents would come to all of my games. I certainly wasn’t a star athlete, but I held my own. I loved the fellowship and camaraderie. I loved being with my friends and feeling like I belonged.
My mother was always extremely supportive. She was everything anyone could ever ask for out of a mom. She always told me how much she loved me and ensured that I was always comfortable and at ease.
My father was the disciplinarian, he is a man who is just and reasonable. If I did anything naughty or broke one of the house rules, none of which were over the top, I knew I would have him to answer to.
Growing up, both of my brothers were good to me, but I certainly knew where I stood in the hierarchy. I was the youngest. I looked up to and tried to emulate each of them.
Elementary school was good. I was quick to make friends and coasted through. At a young age, I made it a habit to get by with the minimum required output. Studying was something I avoided as much as possible. While I probably could’ve achieved A’s, I settled for B’s. No one was any the wiser.
I found my place as the class clown. I had a fairly contagious laugh and took great pleasure out of humouring others. I was popular and quite content. I did get in some trouble, but nothing major. I would swear and fight once in a while, stuff for which my parent’s had zero tolerance for.
As I got older, I would get grounded when I misbehaved. As time progressed, it seemed as though I got grounded more and more often.
I took to skateboarding and rollerblading in grade 6 and 7, and immediately became enamoured with both.
As time went by, I started to engage in riskier and riskier behaviour. When I was 12 or 13, I stole some things from a grocery store. I’ll never forget the rush of adrenaline I felt.
Things only progressed from there when I got to high school.
On the first day of school, during the day, I drank and smoked weed for the first time. Later that evening, I did my first line of cocaine and popped my first ecstasy pill. As I think you’ll realize, I have always been an all or nothing type of guy.
I loved it and I wanted more. When I first felt the rush of the high kick in, I wanted more and more. I had no idea about the places that these substances would take me.
For the first year, I was able to maintain it as solely a weekend affair. It was my dirty little secret. It was exciting.
By grade 9, I was a daily pot smoker. I did it before school, during school and after school. Looking back, it’s a miracle that I was able to maintain decent grades and attendance.
I quickly found my way to regularly using cocaine as well. Not to pile on, but from the moment I first drank, I fell in love with liquor. I was an alcoholic from day one. I was never a social drinker; I always drank to get drunk.
At 15, I got my first fake ID. I felt exhilaration hanging around older guys and quickly made friends with many of them. My risky behaviour accelerated.
I felt like the man.
My habits were quickly becoming very expensive, so it was a necessity that I was steadily employed throughout high school. I got my first job at a grocery store and would go on to work on farms and in restaurants. All of my money went to my lifestyle; I liked nice things a fair bit, and drugs even more.
My drinking went with everything. I couldn’t get enough.
Mostly oblivious about my using habits, my parents were content as long as I was delivering reasonable grades. They thought I occasionally smoked pot, and luckily for me, I was able to maintain those mandatory decent grades.
I kept a low profile.
I got away with most of it for a while, but inevitably, everything came to a head. My world came crashing down when one of my friend's parents divulged everything to mine in grade 11.
My friend had creatively recorded a rap song that went into painstaking detail about the things we were doing. I was caught. There was no weaselling my way out or fibbing the trouble away.
My parents were furious, rightly so. I had been leading a double life. I decided to prove to myself once and for all that I wasn’t an addict. I quit everything. Cold turkey.
I lasted for 6 months, but by 18, I was back at it with a vengeance. I picked up right where I left off and was worse than before. My moods swung like a merry-go-round and I was difficult to be around.
I continued with school, but it wasn’t easy like it had been. I convinced myself that school was different, but really I was the one who had changed. My English 12 teacher decided that I was ineligible to write a test after skipping his class for over a week, and I threw a big tantrum. I threatened him and was promptly thrown out of the class. I was forced to take English 12 at the LED, or Langley Education Centre. I still graduated with my peers in 2007.
After finishing school, I decided to give a career in construction a go. I hated it and realized it wasn’t for me. I stayed doing work that I couldn’t stand for 7 years. Survival.
I drank every day and used cocaine almost every night. I made good money but I had become proficient at spending it as well. A vicious cycle.
At 24 years old, I got introduced to heroin. A girl I was dating told me that it would be an effective remedy for the nasty “comedowns” I experienced each night once cocaine use concluded. I was completely oblivious to the long term implications.
Initially, I only used it sporadically, but by the time I was 26, it was an everyday thing. I would go up and down like an elevator, cocaine and heroin, and back again. Repeat. I started overdosing from excessive use.
Somehow, through my nasty eating habits, I gained over 100 pounds.
I was extremely unhealthy. I was depressed, anxious, isolated and I felt trapped. I didn’t see any way out.
The day after my 27th birthday, I suffered a particularly bad overdose and was lucky that I didn’t die. I was hospitalized and required a defibrillator. That was the moment I realized that I needed help. I knew that I would die if I didn’t do something quickly.
I contacted an Intake Coordinator at Together We Can named Jordan Davies. He wanted to get me in right away, but I went on what I thought would be one final “run”. I consumed copious amounts of the drugs I was now hooked on. Another near death experience ensued on June 20th, 2017.
This time, I took action. I entered treatment for the first time a few days later.
Just like I had done in school, I was initially a treatment all-star. I made many friends, was productive, and I found another thing I could be good at - recovery. After completing treatment, I stayed around and started volunteering. I found my calling; my purpose in life was to help others.
I lasted for 7 months. Mid-January 2018, I went back out. Workaholism, another addiction that I am susceptible to, reared its ugly head and all of the things I did on a daily basis to ensure I was healthy started to fall by the wayside. I didn’t realize it until it was too late, but my relapse was inevitable.
When I started using again, everything fell apart very quickly. It was absolutely horrible. Terrifying. The disease got worse, the amount of money I spent increased, and all of the pitiful feelings that went along with it skyrocketed. I now knew what depression, loneliness, hopelessness and feeling trapped truly felt like.
A month to the day later, after getting kicked out of a hotel room that I had borrowed my mom’s credit card to pay for, I came back to TWC. I realized the changes I had to make to my program of recovery. I doubled down. I accepted my addiction for what it was; something that would kill me if I didn’t act accordingly. I committed to doing everything that was necessary to ensure I didn’t repeat the same mistakes.
I did multiple sets of steps, started aggressively sponsoring newcomers, I started managing a house and stuck around TWC, the organization that saved my life.
Through this journey, I ended up meeting the love of my life, Caitlin Morris, a woman who is in long-term recovery herself. She showed me love that I was missing. As someone with two and a half years sober, she understood many of the things that I was dealing with. Together, we make each other better people.
Through doing the things that were asked, and being an upstanding member of the recovery community, I have been presented with opportunities to have a more prominent role at my work. I am now the Client Care Coordinator at Together We Can. This, in turn, allows me to play a significant role in the recovery journey of others.
I have a new relationship with my family. I get to be authentic; my word is my bond and everyone knows that they can count on me. I’ve come a long way from where I was. My old life was exhausting, while my life today is fulfilling.
I have real friends; actual people I can count on. I have relationships that work for both parties. I have a future. I have resumed school and have already completed my Basic Counselling Skills course. I was able to achieve a 96.5% grade.
I realize once again that if I put my mind to it, I can accomplish anything. The sky is the limit when we do the next right thing.
I just wish everyone had the opportunity to experience the other side of addiction like I am today. Reach out for help: it’s worth it and it’s possible.