“I was NOT condemned to a life of slavery to drugs”: Mat’s Story
In September 1995, one question was going through Mat’s head: “How did I get here?”
He was 22 years old and picking up cigarette butts off the street. He had nowhere to go because he had just used the last of his rent money to buy drugs. In desperation, he decided to go to a detox center in Ottawa where he would have somewhere to sleep and food to eat. That’s where Mat heard about Harvest House.
One of the things that attracted Mat to Harvest House was the fact that the program was a year long. Mat knew that a 30 or 90-day program was not going to cut it. He decided to give us a call and a Harvest House staff member drove to meet him at the detox center.
“I was curious about Harvest House,” Mat says. “I remember thinking, Why would someone I’ve never met drive their own car, come interview me in the messed-up state I was in, tell me I’m a great candidate for the program, load my stinky bag into their car and drive me to the program all without expecting anything in return?”
Coming to Harvest House was a turning point in Mat’s life. As he built a foundation in recovery, he began to realize that there was hope for him.
“At Harvest House, I came to the realization that I wasn’t condemned to a life of slavery to drugs and alcohol,” Mat says.
He was also taught lessons that continue to bring him success today, such as the motto “find someone you can trust, ask them what to do, and do what you’re told”.
Today, Mat is 27 years sober, has been married for 21 years, and has five children and two grandchildren. He is also a trusted leader in the Smith Falls community. He and his wife own several small businesses, including The Pickled Pig and Polcan Design Group, and Mat is the president of the Minor Hockey Association in Smith Falls. He finds it rewarding to help make sure that players learn important skills like playing on a team and how to win or lose with dignity.
Mat attributes his success to that day in 1995 when a Harvest House staff member met him in detox.
“All this success goes back to that first day,” Mat says, “back to this guy who showed up, reached his hand into the pit and said ‘I’ve been there, let me help you out.’ That’s what the people at Harvest House do. They make sure that this place is here for the next person.”
Today, Mat himself is actively involved in helping people get out of the pit of addiction. He attends meetings at Harvest House and has mentored young men in their recovery. For him, one of the most rewarding parts of his life is knowing that he has made a positive impact on someone.