“Jacob”, (23) is half Indigenous and born into a family with a history of alcoholism. As a child he was unaware of his Indigenous heritage but when it was revealed, he became the victim of racist bullying in elementary school. “Jacob” also experienced many other forms of trauma in childhood which led to anxiety, depression, and self-identity issues. He turned to alcohol and drugs to mask the inner pain.
He was initially reluctant to attend counselling but after having met Dan’s Legacy’s therapist, who is also Indigenous, he felt a connection. “Jacob’s’” alcohol use, mixed with drug use, was deathly serious and he was treated in hospital a number of times for overdose.
Family counselling helped everyone learn how to set boundaries, and gradually “Jacob” began to take responsibility for his health. He continues to attend weekly counselling sessions to address the underlying reasons for substance misuse. He is happy with how clear-minded he now feels, and the more he learns about his Indigenous heritage, the more this is becoming a source of pride for him. “Jacob” continues with therapy, works part-time, is completing his high school credits, and looks forward to a future working in the film industry.
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Photo by Kent Danielson