My name is Mukwoh Jordan-Wade Land. I am 32 years old and I’d like to share with you a story of my miracle. Of how a product of the Children’s Aid system, no-future, habitual criminal, drug-addict alcoholic with an anger problem, so destructive that even jail didn’t stop me from making it worse for myself, to the person I’m striving to be now, transformed and unrecognizable to the old me.
I grew up in Vanier with 4 older brothers and one younger sister. My mom raised us by herself, and my
memories of my father are few and far between and very few of them pleasant. Both my parents went
through the system in their youth; my father in the Catholic Residential schools and my mother part of what is called the 60’s scoop.
The intergenerational trauma is alive and real today, even more so growing up.
Apart from a low-income household, absentee and abusive father, frustrated, angry and lonely mother, misguided brothers, I went through discrimination as well from kids at school. With an inability to deal with my emotions, I also went through some traumatic experiences that no kid should ever have to experience, and I resorted to violence to cope at first. This got me kicked out of schools and drove me out of my family home to the foster care system, where unfortunately even more abuse occurred.
At age 12 I started to smoke weed, cigarettes, drinking alcohol and had been through six different elementary schools and two foster homes. In my first group home and on track to three more that year before I was first arrested. This started a downward spiral and vicious cycle of drugs, alcohol, crime and violence.
My criminal record is filled with violence and crimes relating to my drug and alcohol addiction. I have done a total of 12 years in jail, been to the penitentiary, and done close to 4 years altogether in segregation, also known as secure-isolation. Every report written about me before Harvest House was stamped and flagged as – chances of recidivism: high.
I met my son, who was already two and a half when I was released from penitentiary. Before meeting my son, I never truly cared to turn my life around. I had been to Harvest House before on two other occasions and that was only so I could get out of jail. Harvest House is known for helping guys get out of jail especially if they want to turn their lives around. This was my motive on previous stints at Harvest House and once I didn’t have to be there, I left first excuse I could come up with.
After meeting my son, I did well for a few months, getting a job, certifying myself in trades, getting a part-time job on the side, my own apartment, getting my son on weekends and learning how to be a father. Yet I still hadn’t learned how to deal with my anger problem or my addiction. Then starting to smoke cigarettes, it quickly progressed to harder and harder stuff to the point where I was fully immersed in my addiction again, and nothing else mattered. Not my apartment, not my job, not my health, not my freedom, and worse of all not even my son.
In this state, it was only a matter of time before I hit rock bottom again. Waking up in jail, not knowing what I did to get there again. I tried to take my sentence right away and didn’t dispute any of the allegations, but the judge wanted a report first and wouldn’t allow me to take my time right away. I’m thankful for it now, because that is when I decided to call Harvest House again. On my way back there, I was wrought with guilt for having failed my son as a father. So much so I broke down crying. The reality of what I got myself into crushed me. Something inside me broke right then and there. And I committed to myself, right there on the spot; I’m going to do whatever it takes to change my life.
I arrived at Harvest House November 30th, 2016 for my third time. Since then, I’ve worked hard to learn how to deal with my emotions, my anger and addiction. I did an anger management course, an emotional integrity course, a recovery module, I’ve gotten open and upfront about the traumatic events I went through for the first time since they happened as a kid, but most importantly, I opened up the eyes of my heart to Jesus, and became willing to listen and to do what was necessary to improve myself. I have spent 187 hours doing presentations, bringing students the message of addiction. I am the teaching assistant in the Anger Management course, a role model in the program. Best of all, is that I have my son in my life who never fails to tell me he needs me and loves me. I didn’t end up having to go back to jail, even though by regular sentencing standards I should have, and I write this as a free man with a future!
My 5-year goals I have set for myself are to get my University degree, a job at Harvest House and work towards getting a house for my son and I.
If I had anything to say to my younger self, it would be to learn to love yourself.
This is what I envision for myself 5 years down the road, established in the community of Harvest House, educated, money in the bank, and my son standing by me, both of us growing and changing continually, together.
This is my story, of a miracle made possible by Harvest House and God.
Written by Mukwoh Jordan-Wade Land