Her descent into addiction began with a personal tragedy. Her marriage had dissolved because of her husband’s mental illness and she and a group of friends turned to drugs.
“One of our friends came over one day with something that we thought, if we stuck in our pipe, you know, what harm would that do, and hence, it was freebase cocaine, which we didn’t really know at the time how dangerous that was going to be or even what it was,” says Angie. “I know from that, the first night, I was addicted.”
Soon, the cocaine filled the emptiness left by the loss of her marriage and years would go by before Angie could begin to shake her addiction.
“We used, you know, on a regular basis, everyday, for years. I guess we though it was manageable to some degree. So yeah, I ended up using for probably about 14 years.”
Leaving Winnipeg for a change of scenery would only make things worse, as Angie found she couldn’t outrun her problems. “And things got worse really quick…selling drugs, I ended up getting into the sex trade. I lived in Calgary that way for about eight months.”
“My family had sent out detectives looking for me, on the streets of Calgary. I had family that lived in Calgary that was looking for me and friends and you know, the harder they looked, the further I went,” explains Angie.
Then one day she decided she had simply become sick and tired of being sick and tired.
“I didn’t want to use that day and I haven’t wanted to use, you know since that day. Made my way back to Winnipeg and just started on that recovery train.”
Angie would meet her current husband in recovery, move to Kelowna, and become instrumental in forming H.O.P.E Outreach — Helping Out People Exploited — getting other addicted women off the street and into recovery, using her story to inspire others.
“It is possible, I know there’s always hope, there’s always a way, I don’t have the answers when that is for somebody but I always believe that somebody will have their time.”
The awards are being handed out May 17th at the Vancouver Convention Centre.
Check back next Monday when we introduce you to the next Courage to Come Back Awards winner.