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Adam Wiseman wanted to speak out about his struggles with alcohol and drug addiction as an example for others. Here, her shows a copy of the book, Clean — which helped him on his path to sobriety.
CLARENVILLE — Adam Wiseman has been through the fight of his life and come out the other side.
The 33 year-old Clarenville man is a recovering addict and alcoholic.
Now three-and-a-half years clean, he wants to help build awareness of addiction by telling his story.
Wiseman told TC Media, often people don’t see the addiction problems right in front of them because it isn’t talked about as much as it could be.
Addiction is challenging, tough, exhausting, costly, heartbreaking, unhealthy — too much to list.
It’s even very shameful, but asking for help is not. That’s courageous, because it takes a lot to adjust the way you live everyday and never want to go back.
To the addict: Put the same energy into your dreams as you did into your fears, and recovery is possible.
To the parent: With the right help, your child is strong enough to live this life, and remember that you are too.
“Addiction stems from anything from trauma to depression to anxiety to grief … but the biggest (help) for addiction is communication and connection with other people,” said Wiseman.
“Youth have to look out for each other and adults have to look out for youth.”
Wiseman says youth today are labelled and criticized simply for being part of their generation. It gets worse when they are branded as drug addicts as well.
“They’re not alone in it and there is support out there for it … they deserve every bit of help they can get.”
Wiseman says his struggles began in high school and into his 20s, drinking very heavily and eventually using cocaine.
“There is no learning (or) growing a 16-year-old that should feel the need to drown themselves in hard liquor,” says Wiseman.
After finishing high school, Wiseman went to Alberta for work. He says the opportunity in the oil fields fuelled his addiction, however, the prosperous industry shouldn’t be seen as the blame for alcohol and drug abuse. Addiction can come from any job or position.
“I worked very hard for my oil money and I partied even harder,” says Wiseman. “I went from social use on days off, to losing job after job due to fairly regular use of drugs and alcohol.
“I couldn’t keep my nose or blood clean, and it was taking me over quickly. My use became abuse and my abuse became addiction.”
He says, in his 20s, friends and family pleaded with him to get help for his drinking problem — but they were unaware of his cocaine addiction.
“Addicts are good at keeping secrets … Imagine having something you need so much, to the point you are worries for your life that it could be taken from you. That’s how dedicated you stay to keep it hidden.”
By early 2013, Wiseman’s drug addiction had reached the point where it was starting to show.
“I was using more than I ever had,” he says. “I was hardly eating and the physical effects had proven to those around me that alcohol was the least of two substance abuse problems.”
He hit rock bottom when he was living homeless.
“I was broken in every way a man could be. My drug addiction had eaten up everything and, at that point, I didn’t care whether I lived or died.”
An Edmonton police officer eventually helped Wiseman and opened his eyes to his situation. He was admitted to a treatment centre south of Calgary.
Wiseman credits his many friends and family for sticking by him during this period, when it would have been easy to turn their backs on him.
He calls accountability one of life’s most important teachers. And Wiseman was able to piece his life back together.
Wiseman says he’s still in recovery — he will attend Alcoholics Anonymous meetings for the rest of his life.
“I continue with support groups and to live as healthy, both mentally and physically, as I can.”
And his journey has led him to have a better perspective on life and to empathize with what others may be going through as well.
He moved home to Clarenville after treatment to start over.
And now, Wiseman leads a fulfilled life in the Clarenville area, giving back to the community.
“I would’ve never imagined being involved in volunteer groups, giving my time for free,” said Wiseman. “It’s something, I’ve found, is a real gift.”
While Wiseman has come a long way in his fight for sobriety, now he wants to help others who may need guidance. He says he wants to create awareness of a problem that can affect anyone.
Wiseman says he’s gotten many requests from concerned parents to provide insight on how to deal with addiction and alcoholism.
And while he’s not a trained professional, he believes, by telling his story, others can relate and take some advice based on his experience — focusing mainly on encouragement and support.
“When you’re going through something as hard as that and you don’t know there’s anybody else there suffering like you are … it’s a pretty lonesome feeling,” said Wiseman. “Nobody feels as cared for and supported as when another person gives their heart and ears without question of if they are deserving of it.”
He offered an important message to anyone who may be in danger of a going down a similar path as himself.
“Go ask for help. Don’t be afraid or ashamed to ask anybody.”