Two years ago, Penticton man Bryan Garson decided it was finally time to get the help he needed, tired of being stuck in a cycle of addiction for decades.
“I was tired. Drinking used to be fun, but near the end, it was more of a chore. I had to drink to get up in the morning, I had to drink to get through my day and that's not a life,” Garson said.
“I was a raging alcoholic, I grew up in a rough childhood. My father died when I was seven, so I started on the booze at 12. Then I got into narcotics at the age of 14. And then I moved out here to start a better life and I was just going down that road again.”
One day, Garson decided he had enough. He wanted to change.
“I saw one of the guys I actually walked into Discovery House a year before I went in, he went through the house. I told him I needed help and he brought me here.”
The treatment at Discovery House, Penticton's dry-living recovery spot for men, wasn’t easy, but it gave Garson a new life.
“I got in here and thank God, it saved my life,” he said.
Once Garson got sober, he started reconnecting with his sister and his cousins.
“When you're in that lifestyle, nobody wants anything to do with you. You don't even want anything to do with yourself really. It was good to go back and see everybody and show them I was sober. They were all proud of me, and it was really, really inspiring.”
Jerome Abraham, the executive director for Discovery House, explained that it is common for families to get disconnected through addiction.
“I think that it’s common that people turn to drugs and alcohol to self soothe and then they, we I should say, we don't learn the skills of having our own family because we learn what we grew up in. It's really important at Discovery House that we start breaking those chains of generational addiction by offering people new coping skills and training,” he said.
Garson is sharing his story to raise awareness of Discovery House's annual Fathers Day fundraising event, which is coming up this Sunday.
Now that he’s returned to his family, along with his two month old son Bentley, he celebrates over two years of sobriety and the first Fathers Day in years.
“It's terrific. It's like, every day I'm grateful I wake up, I got a little guy now. I have never celebrated Fathers Day for almost 30 years...I can celebrate Fathers Day and teach him the right way to grow up without needing the booze or the drugs and being a role model to my son.
“Just waking up with him, watching him grow every day from looking at it like he's not sure to looking right at you, like he's starting to get this like clue into who you are in his head movement. It's just all around the blessing every day.”
This year's event will once again be hosted online as a Facebook Live event due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Discovery House is hoping to raise $20,000 to help support their abstinence-based recovery program, supplying bed and treatment space for those who could not otherwise afford long-term treatment.
Funds will also be raised through their dunk tank participant pledges.
Participants (so far) include:
Discovery House Executive Director - Jerome Abraham
VIP Mobile Spa Owner - Michelle Prystay
Omland Heal Accounting - Kris Omland
Discovery House Alumnus - Gord Portman
Slimz Brand Barber Lounge - Jimmy Slimz
Discovery House Alumnus - Matthew Jones
Kona Sankey - Router Cat Media
“For a lot of our clients, they get to reconnect with their families at this event and there's been some real magic over the years that's happened with clients connecting with their kids or just their families, their fathers coming down for the event,” Abraham added.
“There is help and if you want it, just go out and ask for it. There is help. It's a hard journey. But if you really want it, it does work. I'm living proof. The D house is amazing. If you can get in here, take it for what it's worth,” Garson added.
“Happy Fathers Day to all the dads out there and the single moms, Happy Fathers Day to you as well."