My name is Frank and I’m an alcoholic, addict and a grateful believer in Jesus Christ. I was born in Edmonton, Alberta the second oldest of four kids. My family moved to Vancouver when I was a year old. Dad & Mom were party people. Although they both worked hard they also partied hard. Dad worked days for BC Tel and drank when he got home. Mom worked nights as a waitress in bars and night clubs. She would get home at all early hours of the morning usually with a gang of her establishments patrons in tow. There were hard partiers and tied in with a motorcycle club named the Wildcats.
My earliest memory was as a three year old looking out my bedroom window and not seeing any lawn for all the bikes in the yard. I mention my room because that is where I spent all my time under a locked door, coming out only to eat and go to the bathroom. Being locked in my room until age seven and listening to all the loud music, laughter, beer bottles banging together, the occasional fight only heightened my curiosity and longing for the party life.
My first experience of being hammered drunk to the point of burning ears and violent puking was at age five. I was on occasion ‘let out’ to help clean house after one of the drink fests. Man, I thought to myself, look at all these half drank beers and drinks I’ve been pouring down the sink. What a waste! Here’s an idea. I’ll just slam some of ‘em back, you know, say like every third or fourth trip to the sink. Ah yes, the sink, underneath which was the cleaners, dish soap, rags AND Dad’s bottle of 5 star whiskey. The very best of the barrel bottom ‘skies’ and the cheapest I’m sure.
Well if Dad can drink it by the shot glass so can I. Smack two of ‘em back after my cleaning chores, two shots of water back into the bottle and off to my room I go. I can remember feeling real swell! For about 3 ½ minutes! Yup, hot as hell ears and violent deposits of puke all over my room. Brother Ken hollers for the folks as a few deposits landed very near him. Dad shows up and I’m too drunk to even tell him how I arrived at that condition until hours later. I confessed it was the half empty drinks that done it, not the stomach flu as he and Mom had thought. He laughed loud and hard.
I didn’t dare let him in on his stash under the sink which was now watered down. I still didn’t pipe up when days later he was yelling at Mom and blaming her for it. He did figure it out, though when he was having one of his shots and pushed it towards me and watched all the colour drain from my map. Man what a licken I got.
Two years later the folks split up to continue their alcoholic lives separately as they could no longer do it together. No more locked in my room and a freedom I’ve never know. Dad’s not off work till 4:30 and at the bar till 7 or 8. I was coming and going as I pleased. My earlier puke party along with the beating I received had cured my curiosity of the drink, until at age 12 it resumed.
Now I’m the neighbourhood thief of empty beer and pop bottles off of porches and in garages. Cash ‘em in and hang at the liquor store asking people to buy me a jug of Apple Jack wine or triple x Cherry Sherry. A sweet puke was equally dissatisfying as the burning whiskey type. But the solution to that was right before me in the very yards I was picking bottles. A select few also had pot plants in them. Life was really getting better. I didn’t have to drink in the excess if I smoked a doobie or two.
I’m now at age 14, a petty thief of bicycles, car parts, mini-bikes and whatever else I could turn into cash. In high school now and being introduced to hot rod cars, back to beer and a variety of different drugs. I was up and running, little beknownst to me, a life of ruin and latter heartfelt wreckage.
No time for school anymore. If I was to continue living under Dad’s roof no school meant out to the work force. Several low paying jobs a year until I had enough time in for UIC meant close to a year off and more crime.
This pattern continued for a number of years when at age 18 I landed a job at Western Canada Steel, a scrap steel refinery. It was here that I met and hung out with a half dozen guys from a local bike group. This was a time when they were in the process of a name change along with bigger and better money making opportunities. Between the pay of my job ($450 per week) coupled with the odd cocaine deal and motorcycle parts in from the east I was an 18 year old roller on the spend, spend, spend – dope, booze, room and broads. The Life, eh!
When the steel mill closed down rather overnight, I somehow had enough sense in my pumpkin to know that the free time newly acquired would end up in my spending it with the quickly growing group mentioned earlier along with the other recreational aspects also mentioned. I knew I’d be in irreversible debt, then dead if I continued this “go nowhere path”. So at age 21 I was on the road heading east in a 66 Ford school bus with two friends, a cook and three dogs. We were hanging vinyl siding as we went.
My drinking to excess was back in full swing and remained my main daily function for the next 10 years. In that ten year time frame I managed to gain a violent attitude when I drank as well did my now new wife. Very ugly times. After the birth of my daughter I thought a trip back home to visit my ill father might snap me back to reality.
Upon arriving in Vancouver I went back to work and was on my way to another new start. Being a weekend warrior with the booze battle seemed to be the way to go as I was on my way with the start up of my own roofing and siding company. It went well for about six or seven years at which time I discovered crystal meth. I thought, “What a miracle!”” I get paid for piece work or square footage completed at week’s end and this dope, meth enabled me to run around a house in one-half the time it took when boozing. My new motto was, “With booze, ya loose. With dope, there’s hope!” In two years I was back on top, a new son, the hag was happy for a time, the company was running well, I had every tool imaginable, three sports cars – I had it all. Then another of my ill fated brain storms pops up. If I was to manufacture the crack in a short while I could be running around my own house, on the inside hanging security cameras instead of hanging siding on the outside of others.
Now if that ain’t a delusional and paranoid thought process at work… Anyways moving on, I did learn to manufacture in small quantities some of the best Q Surrey ever had the pleasure of experiencing. The quality of me and my chef partner soon attracted a certain group that I thought was gone and out of my life forever
So now due to my partner’s not so wise decision to do some work for said group, with their material and unbeknownst to me, his greed and miserable failure at skimming what wasn’t his soon had us in the red. I managed to clear the matter up with discovering dummies skim stash doing it up for them and agreeing not to play anymore at the stove unless to prepare food. As a token of my sincerity to do just that I gave them all glassware, cookers and greedy’s recipe. The year is now 2000 and the beginning of the end for me.
Jilted customers and bottom feeders that couldn’t or wouldn’t grasp the fact that I had bowed out of the business soon had the child welfare people alerted along with stick willie and these were now the ones coming to the house regularly. What I had built up over a three year reign was all gone in two and a half months – the cars, the tools, the business, the home and everything in it and worst of all my family. They moved back east and I haven’t seen them since. Now the shame and guilt of this last loss kept me out there for the next seven years, finally getting sober on July 25, 2007.
While incarcerated for yet another one of many six month sentences I completely surrendered my life and my will to the Lord Jesus Christ. I now have a thirst and hunger to learn more about what the Heavenly Father’s purpose for me would be and to do just that. Shortly after my release I started to attend Sevenoaks Alliance in Abbotsford.
This is where I ask the newcomer to the program to do what took me seven long hard, homeless years to discover. Don’t play the blame game, pity pot, what’s the use now stage of this disease. In my last seven years out there I lost my own family, lost three parents and most recently my younger brother to the disease of alcoholism and addiction. I was so messed up I never attended any funeral except my brothers. I was only able to do that thanks to God for gracing me a blessing of discovering this program and blessing me with the knowledge that it’s this program or death. Whatever you hear about the successes, promises of a substance free life you should lock into your memory bank – an item that will return to you if you want it! Shut up, perk up your ears and absorb, absorb, absorb. Get totally honest with first, yourself and secondly your God and then you can have a healthy happy life.
Words cannot possibly express my gratitude for this program and my newfound friends and life. It was simply by listening and watching these individuals that saved me from jumping ship. Listen, learn and live. It works if you work it.