Manitoba·Point of View

Father recovering from addiction confronts past pain to create future joy

"Families and children mimic our very actions, teaching what was taught to us — a long line of broken homes, trauma, addiction and depression," Jeremy Raven writes.

'I want to deliver the message that change is possible,' Jeremy Raven says about his healing journey

Jeremy Raven works hard on his recovery. 'I must meet these requirements for my dreams to fall into place,' he writes. (Submitted by Jeremy Raven)

I have to thank the struggles I have been through and be grateful I was able to get up and keep trudging through the hard times — through the pain of a lost soul. 

I reflect on my past, on the history of colonization and the wave of effects that have impacted generations; families deprived of their cultures, children robbed of their childhoods, lost souls stripped of their identity. 

Families and children mimic our very actions, teaching (in turn) what was taught to us — a long line of broken homes, trauma, abuse, addiction and depression. 

The beliefs and the values that are instilled at a young age carry on throughout your whole life if you don't get help, look at the root cause and start correcting. 

You consume yourself believing "this is who I am" — that you are living a life that's not yours, and that what's broken can never be whole.

The hardest part for me as a father is learning how to be patient with my children and seeing how my absence has affected the areas where I failed as a father. They are showing me how to be a man.

Every time I have them, I learn something new. But I must also lead by example and show them how much they mean to me — I want to be the role model and be there to guide them. Nobody knows about the struggles I went through, the pain I've endured or the heartfelt decisions I've made. 

Life doesn't always give you what you want, but it does give you what you need to learn and own up to your responsibilities. 

My dreams and actions have to coincide for me to live the life I want to lead. It takes work and sacrifice making the right decisions.

Day by day, I'm rewriting my wrongs.- Jeremy Raven

To reason rather than going on emotion, to make heartfelt choices when getting to the root of the problem, to practise and be consistent in finding a balance and getting myself in a strict routine, planning and setting short-term goals as well as long-term. 

I must meet these requirements for my dreams to fall into place. 

I have to be grateful and stay in the positive mindset, so I don't fall into the destructive habits of being complacent, or listen to the negative thinking that might consume me.

I want to deliver the message that change is possible if you follow your passion. It's a question of just how badly you want it, and knowing what you want to change in the life you hate — even when it feels like you can't seem to escape it.

I'm trying to change it. 

Day by day, I'm rewriting my wrongs. I am correcting all my unhealthy behaviours and working through the uncomfortable days. 

Life isn't fair. Nothing will justify the flaws in the way I've lived. 

But it's up to me to be who I am, and to make a difference in my children's lives. 

This column is part of CBC's Opinion section. For more information about this section, please read this editor's blog and our FAQ.

About the Author

Jeremy Raven is a Winnipeg man currently in addictions recovery. His writes about his efforts as a means of "communicating with the intent to understand and be understood."

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