“I grew up in a small town in BC and left home when I was 14. I fell in love and moved to a different town with my boyfriend. I started using drugs recreationally and became very active in my addiction. On my 19th birthday, my house was raided and I was charged for multiple offenses. My boyfriend and I decided to move to Alberta and start a new life. We both wanted to be clean and needed a fresh start, but we met the wrong crowd and got into even worse trouble. We both ended up getting arrested, were taken to the courthouse and placed in cells across from each other. That’s when he proposed. Before I got out of jail, he had arranged for the engagement ring to be placed in my property. He came out of jail shorty after and we got to spend five days together before I had to go back in. While inside, I called my mother to see how she was doing. She asked me how my day was and then proceeded to tell me that my fiancé had overdosed and died. When I got out, I went downhill and was arrested for a third time. It finally set in that he was gone and that my life would never be the same. This time when I got out, I went to rehab and got clean. I had always wanted to be a photographer and have my own business – I am creative and skilled with Photoshop and InDesign. I like creating things that are my own – not ordinary. I tried applying for a job but, when I was in the interview, the employer asked me if I had a criminal record. I replied honestly and was asked to leave right after. I felt useless – now I don’t apply for jobs that might require a police information check. I also looked into doing post-secondary schooling and was surprised that the program I wanted to take also required a police information check. I’m not sure about my future now. I am not my charges. I have realized that if I wasn’t in jail that it could have been me that overdosed, instead of my fiancé. Now I don’t even consider the thought of using. He is my source of strength. He lives on through me because I am clean.
This is a photo I took of the last time we were together, combined with a drawing I drew for him – our hands in the shape of a heart! It also has the nicknames we called each other. It has every aspect of who I truly am, all in one.”