top of page

Our Events

Life torn apart by alcohol, Penticton man finds liberation at Discovery House

By mid-2018, Brain Salter's life was a disaster.

He drank from morning to night and was days away from sleeping in a homeless shelter or a gutter.

He'd blown a small fortune on alcohol, ruined relationships and scuttled a long line of jobs, including several high-grossing management positions.

He had no money, no real belongings and soon was in the midst of yet another hardcore detox session - this time at Penticton Regional Hospital.

Having fought a losing battle with alcoholism for years, this otherwise well-spoken and well-educated middle-aged man was admittedly at the end of his rope.

Today, Salter's been stone-cold sober for 16 months.

He has a wardrobe, a car, a good roof over his head and a job with which he can be justifiably proud, and he credits much of the turnaround to the men's recovery centre known as Discovery House.

In his early twenties, the world was Salter's plaything. He attended Simon Fraser University, where a football scholarship covered his first year's tuition.

Ultimately, he'd emerge with a business degree and a job ready and waiting at the Workers Compensation Board (now WorkSafeBC).

His drinking began as college wound down.

"My excuse was that school was a party atmosphere," he says, "but then it continued into my work. I missed a lot of days that I'd often explain away as dentist appointments."

The WCB wasn't buying it. They told him to get treatment or get out, and he listened. After a six-week program, he embarked on a 29-year period of sobriety.

"At least with me," he says, "the desire just went dormant."

But it would return, with a vengeance.

In 2001, Salter's life would take him to Missouri, where he landed a snazzy 13-state sales director position with Snap-On Tools. He'd spend ten "happy" years in the USA before returning to Canada in 2011 when the relationship he'd found down there petered out.

Back in BC, he snagged a district manager position in Revelstoke with tech retailer The Source, but within two days of relocating, he'd pick up his first drink in three decades.

It was all downhill from there.

Salter says he's still not sure what prompted him do it, though he maintains he's part of a small chunk of the general population where booze has an extra kick.

"In 10% of the population," he says, "it reacts with a certain chemical in the brain called THIQ (tetrahydroisoquinoline). And once it's triggered, it triggers dopamine in your brain, and you start to feel really good."

"By the fourth or fifth drink though, the dopamine wears out and you're trying to chase the same feeling from your first drink. And that's where my alcoholism comes from."

According to Salter, he was soon knocking back a 24-pack of beer every single day. Then he began adding vodka to the mix.

"I hid bottles wherever my girlfriend wouldn’t find them," he explains.

"I drank 'til I blacked out, passed out or ended up in a ditch. Within a couple years, I was in the drunk tank a minimum of 30 times."

It got so bad that Salter entered treatment. He ultimately did three separate stints, all in Kelowna, but each time was drunk again within days. By that point, he was chugging a cup of vodka just to start the morning.

Jobless again, Salter was soon forcibly booted from the home of his new girlfriend after living with her for just a week. More drunk tanks and more detox sessions followed.

Next up was Keremeos. Salter had met another woman who willingly fed his addiction with a 40-ounce bottle of hard liquor and a six-pack of beer every day. Until, he says, she had "no more booze in the house and no more money to spend on it."

When he landed in the Penticton hospital for a critical detox in mid-2018, he had nothing left. But he met a fellow there who was going through the same thing and suggested Discovery House.

"The hospital sent me right there," he says. "I walked in with a pair of hospital pants and a T-shirt. Nothing, not a dime, beyond that. I was scared, humiliated, and disgusted. But I walked in the door and within two days had a wardrobe from the other guys in the house."

"I knew this was it. I had a lot of savings at one point and was able to cover all my rehabs. But this time, I had to ask my father for money. I knew if I didn't make this work, my life was over."

So he made it work.

Discovery House, says Salter, "made me want to work my butt off to be sober. The programming is good, they teach you a lot of life lessons, and the people here care. If I had a problem, I could walk up to a staff member at any time and let them know. And everything would stop and we'd talk."

Salter stayed at Discovery House's "Foundation House" (on Winnipeg Street ) for three and a half months. Successfully maintaining sobriety, he then graduated to the program's Wade Street "Transition House."

And as of January 1st of this year, Salter became one of four residents in Discovery House's new "Gratitude House." All four guys rent directly from the landlord, and Salter calls it "the final stepping stone back to a real life."

One other thing. He so impressed the Discovery House higher-ups that one year ago they offered him a job back at Foundation House, counseling new clients. He snatched the offer immediately and today has a sophisticated office on the lower floor, as well as, once again, a car.

"It's not overly new," he says, "but it works."

PentictonNow met one of Salter's clients Friday night, after a counseling session. His name is Jim, and like Salter, he was a reputable businessman before booze ripped his life to pieces.

Jim adores his sessions with Salter and calls Discovery House a "Godsend" for the community. "We get people back with their families, and you should see the amount of community service the workers as well as the clients do."

"I'm here to help the clients," added Salter, who's now 55 years old. "Plus, every time I'm here it's like an AA meeting for me. Every day this job helps keep me sober. Discovery House saved my life and continues to do so today."

Indeed, Salter so believes in the program that he asked PentictonNow to write his story using his real name and real events. "If this helps one person," he says, "it will be worth it."

To reach out to Discovery House or make a much needed donation, hit up the website here. All the Brian Salters out there would appreciate it.

Penticton posted Jan 14, 2020 @ 01:00pm by   Gord Goble

212 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All

Voices of Discovery, Sheldon - 150 Days

Well here’s a little story about how my life went through hell and ended up in heaven at Discovery House. I have been battling addiction for over half of my life. I’ve struggled with recovery for the

Voices of Discovery, Aron - 283 Days

I was too busy with my own life getting drunk or/and high to see my world burning down around me. That my life turned into monotony, an everyday endless cycle that left a bitter taste of what I should


bottom of page