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At the age of 22, an addiction to drugs landed Greg from Victoria to the streets of Downtown Eastside, Vancouver for six years with nothing to his name.

On the streets, he ran into his father who had also become homeless and tried to show Greg where to get help. But even with his father by his side, Greg felt too embarrassed to ask.

“When he’d take me to a soup kitchen or something like that, I’d think, ‘This is not for me. I don’t belong here.’ I didn’t think organizations like shelters and stuff like that were for me. I had no idea. I thought they were for other people. But I was homeless and hungry.”

On the streets, Greg also felt alone and worthless. “In my worst moments, I felt like a rag doll – torn and cornered, left out on the street,” he said. “I never had somebody come up to me and ask if I wanted a sandwich or a juice box.”

Coming to Luke 15 Recovery House changed everything for Greg. There, he found his faith, and with the support of the recovery home, Greg began a new life.

“I was skeptical of the whole thing, but I realized that it was my life on the line. And I have two children that are with their mom, who don’t know where their dad is. So I came here,” he said.

Greg has been clean ever since he entered Luke 15 house earlier this year. This November, he is starting school at Douglas College and plans to transfer to UBC for business administration. His goal is to open his own business with the help of the Aboriginal entrepreneur’s grant.

In his free time, Greg works on the thriving garden he maintains outside Luke 15. The garden started as a small project, with the money he saved from quitting smoking and the knowledge he gained from reading a gardening book. Now it provides vegetables for the whole house. Greg credits the garden as a motivator and a basis for his recovery.

Greg also volunteers with outreach programs to help those who are in the same situation that he was in. He wants to share the hope and serenity he found when he was given a second chance at life.

“No matter how far down you go, there’s always that light at the end of that tunnel. There’s always that step you can take, and there are people willing to help,” he said.

“I’m 35 now, and I have a chance at life again. It’s never too late, and I’m just ready to go. I have that taste for life again.”

by Sheetal Reddy

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