Tracey, an unfortunate victim of the sixties scoop, started drinking at 12 years old. “I feel I was born an alcoholic because I blacked out the first time I ever drank. And I liked drinking. It numbed me out of all the feelings I had about the abuse I suffered from age 4 to 14. When I turned 15, I was kicked out of the house.”
Alcohol was the answer to all the shame she felt due to her aboriginal heritage and abuse.
When Tracey got married, she briefly reconnected with her adopted family. At one point, Tracey confronted her family about the abuse and pursued justice for herself, but she was alone in this and ostracized by her family. Eventually she gave up. Addiction continued to take its toll in Tracey’s life; her relationship ended and she lost custody of her children. In spite of all that, her craving for alcohol was all that mattered.
In 1993, Tracey tried to stop drinking, and over the next 15 years, she would try repeatedly to stop, remarkably achieving three 1-year medallions. With so many tries and so many failures, most people thought it was hopeless. Finally, there came the day when Tracey hit rock bottom. She knew she had to either get away from men and bad relationships, or just end her life. She was sick and tired of being sick and tired.
That’s when she heard about Oxford House in the rooms.
In 2008, Tracey applied for housing at Oxford House and was accepted. She remembers with great fondness how Ron MacMillan accepted her into the program, stating that he had faith in her, in spite of the slip she had a few days before.
Living in an Oxford House was not all rainbows and unicorns, though.
“It was hard when someone I’d grown to care about in the house relapsed, and I had to say goodbye. But I also learned a lot in my Oxford House home about participating in a home, being responsible for my bills, maintaining my sobriety and repairing relationships with my children.”
In all, Tracey lived at Oxford House for 18 months.
In 2009 when Oxford House was looking for a bookkeeper, Tracey was approached to see if she would be interested, and said yes. “Although I worked at various places, even when I first moved into Oxford House, it was good to have a steady job at a place that made such a huge difference in my life.”
In 2010, Tracey and three of her four children moved into their own place together. Family is everything to Tracey now. “It isn’t always easy, but we all look out for each other and step in to help when someone needs something.”
Tracey feels that people respect her today. She has confidence in her ability to make healthy decisions and stresses she would not have been able to achieve any of it, without Oxford House.
When asked if Oxford House works, Tracey says, “It makes me so happy when people move out sober.” Nevertheless, even though sobriety doesn’t work out for some, the first time around, Tracey remembers that she, herself, struggled for years and years, until one day it was the right time for her.
What Tracey would want you to know…
“Oxford House’s peer-supported program works. People can change when they are given an opportunity and hope. It is easy to write someone off when you just see them at a particular moment in time, and do not see the transition that happens later. It is so important to believe in someone when they don’t believe in themselves, just as Ron believed in me way back when.”
Tracey is Oxford House’s Financial Coordinator and has been employed here for eight years, as well as being a part-time student, working toward her CPA. She currently lives with her three children and two grandchildren.