I am in this condition because of a heroin overdose.
Since my "recovery," I have devoted my life to helping students and parents understand the very real dangers of drug abuse. And I am writing to you to offer my help in your effort to guide young people safely through the minefield of readily available drugs and alcohol. While most will make it through this challenge intact, some will not. I know this because I am one of those young people who did not make it through intact.
In my adolescence I was a vibrant, charismatic young man. Some said I had everything - I was described as tall, handsome, intelligent, athletic and energetic. I excelled in most anything I set my mind to. Unfortunately, I also had a dark side. I actively indulged in alcohol and drugs. By age of 18 I graduated, but my graduation was from soft drugs to hard drugs. Soon my drug of choice became heroin. I thought I would know when to stop. I was strong and smart. I thought nothing could hurt me.
In August 1997 the drugs proved they were more powerful than I. The overdose did not kill me. Instead it did something more perverse: it put me into a coma. When I first woke I appeared unscathed. I had all of my faculties intact and was able to move normally. But the drugs were not done with me. I lapsed back into a coma. This time when I awoke my world was terribly different. I was blind, with a muscle disorder called Distonia that has fettered my mobility and left me confined to a wheelchair, in need of 24 hour attendant care. My body had abandoned me even as my mind and intellect remained completely intact.
I languished in this hellish place - not alive and not dead. I could hear the world around me, but not see it. My world was there before me and yet not there. Many would go insane in a state such as this. No doubt many have. I knew that insanity was a distinct possibility. Yet, out of the depth of my darkness grew a seed of light, of hope, of meaning. I began to realize that I have been given this life for a reason:
"I was to dedicate my life to educating youth and parents on the dangers of drug use!"
Since realizing that this is my purpose and role, I have "spoken" to more than 200,000 young people across Canada.
I have published a book titled, "Strength of the Human Spirit" (Granville Island Publishing) that contains my story, my message and my poetry. The book promotes the use of the imagination, instead of drugs.
Please also let me know if I can answer any questions you may have, or provide further information. I look forward to hearing from you.