Benjamin, part 2

Kelowna Days

Benjamin was working at a shelter in Edmonton called The Mustard Seed, saving his money to eventually go back to Quebec to see his son. The mother of his son told him to forget about it and to not come to Quebec. This deeply hurt Benjamin, so he cashed all his cheques and fled with one of his friends on a bus to Kelowna. Benjamin clearly remembers when they were on the Rogers Pass that the Lord spoke to him ‘recovery’….

Benjamin lasted one day in Kelowna before he went to the Gospel Mission to seek help, to seek recovery! He got into a recovery program run by the Gospel Mission that morning!

But I remember the Lord specifically saying Recovery…I was sober for six months!

Brokenness is what drew me back to addiction!

I have seen the Lord show up four times in the last three months. These times were in my overdoses. I was fucking dead, but right when the paramedics were gonna call my death in…then they found a pulse.

What do you want to be?

I want to be a Human Service worker, to work with people, wanted to be all my life!! I’m currently pursuing it and have completed one year!!

One thing I’ve learned and come to realize just from being a part of Metro Community is that my story isn’t any more painful, isn’t any more joyful than anybody else’s…its just different.

And when we can get to a place where thats how we see peoples stories is just different, thats when real relationships can form. Because now your not putting people in boxes, like ‘his is a lot happier than his’…its just different. and that’s when true relationships come!!

I’ve always had a relationship with God! Maybe more distant at times, but I’ve always had a relationship with Him!

Do you feel like your voice is heard now?

I think my voice is heard! I do believe my voice is heard in the community, I do believe my voice is heard amongst my friends and support!

I think that everybody (each and everyone of us) deserves to be heard, deserves to speak, deserves to be understand! Unfortunately we live in a bitter society that says well ‘he’s an alcoholic he doesn’t have much of a voice’ – but some of the most compassionate people, some of the most empathic people I’ve ever met are fellow addicts! Because what you see bud, is what you see…I don’t have a family to hind behind, I don’t have a brand new Lexus to hide behind, I don’t have a big house to hide behind, I don’t have a career to hide behind….what you see is what you get! Thats it, thats the realness in me, I just don’t have nothing to hide behind.

I think the Lord, to a certain degree, has given me that path because if i did have those things to hide behind I wouldn’t be as straight forward as I am, my faith wouldn’t be as strong, I wouldn’t have as much hope!

I’m not on this earth to fulfill Benjamin’s story, its gonna be Christ’s story! I’m just one of the characters in the most beautiful story ever written!!

Story as told by Benjamin to Kiki Schindel, photograph by Kiki.