“Rachel’s Gift is an 8 part series until December 23. Go to www.chri.ca for the audio backgrounders to Rachel’s stories.
This time when I got out of jail I couldn’t go to Ottawa – I was banned from Ottawa. You know, I wasn’t supposed to be in Ottawa, but I didn’t have anywhere else to go. So, I got caught in Ottawa in a rooming house because I was taking a shower there and was arrested for a breach of probation. I went back to jail for one month and then they released me in Ottawa (laughter). I couldn’t go to my mom’s house because her husband at the time was totally against me living there. I could see why.
I got out of jail and started doing the same things that I usually do. I was staying in a heated stairwell at Nepean and Bank – it was public property so they couldn’t arrest you, just tell you to get along. When you are in drugs, people only want you at your house when you had something for them, they say, ‘I would never see you out on the street.’ But when you were in need and you didn’t have any drugs, they would say, like, ‘We can’t have people staying at our house’.
There are some places to stay when you live on the streets, but you have to be careful. Staying in a shelter was much worse – in my eyes it was like the bottom… as long as I don’t have to go to a shelter, I hadn’t hit rock bottom.
I didn’t have a place anymore, and I found a website where you could and used that to meet guys for a date… So, I stayed on the streets or maybe in hotels sometimes. I don’t know, it just became a way of life, survival.
I basically sick and tired of doing drugs, like heroin… I just couldn’t do it anymore.
I ended up in a crack house downtown: people coming and going all the time; drugs in and out like crazy, and I was still using. I had started the methadone program, but was still using street drugs. Anytime I used anything other than opiates, it screwed up my methadone and I would get even sicker.
I guess I just hit rock bottom then. Doing things I would never do and being somebody that I totally never was. People totally lost respect for me. I would overhear people talking about me, and think, ‘Is that what they really think about me?’
I just took a look around one day. I was introduced to Jesus a few years ago. When I was in jail I accepted Jesus but I was doing my own thing. Then one day, looked around and said, “Oh God, I know that this is not what you have planned for me, I just know it isn’t.”
I walked out of that place and got a place with some girls, and it was a safe place.
Next Week: The story takes a significant turn for the better. Stay connected, you don’t want to miss this!