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Travis’s Story

“The last time on the streets was so horrible, I honestly didn’t think I was going to make it.”

Travis’s Story

When Travis was at his lowest point — dope sick and living on Pandora — he used to pray “Please don’t let me wake up.” Death was preferable to continuing to live on the streets.
“It was the most horrible time in my life,” he says.
Travis’s journey to this point began in childhood. Living in Germany, where his military father was stationed, he believes that was where “life started screwing my head up.”
“It wasn’t a nice time for kids,” he says. “A lot of the German people didn’t like us there, and it was always a nightmare when we ran into local kids.”
After four years in Germany, Travis’s family moved back to Ontario, and then Victoria.
Unfortunately, the fear and violence followed them as Travis grew up terrified of his father — a strict disciplinarian and alcoholic.
“A little boy shouldn’t be scared to go home,” he says. “Hide underneath his bed. Waiting.”
When Travis was 13, “I just had enough,” he says.
Travis ended up in front of a military council — “My dad’s big boss” — and was sent to a foster home, but that “was the worst thing that ever happened to me.”
“The lady (foster mom) was just there for the money, the house was filled with other abandoned kids, and there were no rules. So, that’s when I started drinking.”
The drinking and partying soon resulted in Travis getting into trouble with the law.
At 15, he started his first stint in Juvie (Juvenile Detention) where he was sentenced to stay until he turned 16.
Upon release, he moved back home where his mother had joined a Tough Love group in an effort to change Travis’s behaviour, but that only made him more rebellious.
“They would lock the door at night if I wasn’t home by curfew, and leave a sleeping bag by the front door,” he says. “Needless to say, I rarely made it home.”
Travis continued to get into trouble with the police “B&Es (breaking and entering) and stuff.”
At 17, he was sentenced to Wilkie (Wilkinson Road Jail), which was an adult prison. “I was just a skinny, 120-pound kid.”
He was inside for 16 months, and on his first day out, “that’s when I started drinking again, and I was introduced to intravenous coke (cocaine). And I loved it for some reason.”
Life outside prison only lasted for a couple of months before Travis was arrested again. In prison, he was introduced to morphine and quickly became addicted to the strong opioid.
“And that was the beginning of a lot of years of alcohol and doing drugs.”
During this time, however, Travis met his wife and became the father of two — a boy and a girl. Unfortunately, his criminal lifestyle didn’t change, and he ended up back in jail.
When his son was born, Travis decided he needed to make a change. “I said screw this, and got on methadone (a prescribed drug to ease withdrawal and reduce cravings for opioids). That sorta helped me out, but after a while, you get bored, and I started doing cocaine again.”
He split with his wife and “things went crazy again.”
In 2008, Travis straightened out and gained custody of his kids while his ex-wife battled her own addictions. Using methadone, he kept off street drugs for seven years, and operated his own painting business.
Things were going well until one of his employees introduced him to crack cocaine. It only took a month before “I was so far downhill that was it.”
Travis lost everything he had built: his kids, his business, a beloved fishing boat, his truck, and his life became a blur.
Living on Pandora, Travis picked up odd jobs at Our Place where he was hired as a painter for several projects, but he felt “life’s over.”
He tried several treatment centres, which gave him a few months of sobriety, but nothing stuck, and he always ended up back on the street. During this time, he lost his older brother to drug overdose.
Then one day, Travis saw Mark, someone who used to be in the same desperate situation but had turned his life around by attending New Roads, Our Place’s long-term recovery community.
Travis decided he wanted to give it a try.
‘Two weeks in detox, went to New Roads, started the program, and, I don’t know, something finally clicked in.”
After 9 months at New Roads, Travis has no desire to return to his old life.
“The last time on the streets was just the most horribilist time in my life,” he says. “I honestly didn’t think I was going to make it.”
Today, Travis continues to attend New Roads while working full-time at Our Place. He is also making plans for the future.
“I’d like to have my own place one day,” he says. “Continue working at New Roads until I’m 65. Get my credit rating up, and just be happy.”

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