Lamont’s Story: Reframing Life and Alcohol

When Lamont speaks of his childhood, he speaks of loss. His grandparents – with whom he had a very close relationship – passed within weeks of each other. His father was absent, and in his teens, Lamont watched his mother battle and lose her fight with cancer.

“I was definitely drinking during that time to cope. Also, I had a son who was born three weeks after I turned 20; I was a young father. With all of this going on, booze was a companion that offered comfort and familiarity,” said Lamont.

Living in New York at the time, Lamont found himself alone after his son and her mother relocated. Lamont worked in acting and modeling, but it was his bartending gigs that allowed him the opportunity to delve into alcoholism.

“With bartending it was a perfect fit. I loved to drink. I was sneaking drinks and sometimes it was understood that the bartender was going to drink. That was my lifestyle,” shared Lamont candidly. “I didn’t really see a problem. I got fired from more jobs than I could remember, but there was always another bar to work at. I got kicked out of a few places for not paying rent. But who cares; I was invincible.”

Feeling a sense of restlessness, Lamont would then move from country to country or city to city for over a decade. From New York to Jamaica, to Toronto, then Vancouver, addiction followed Lamont.  With each city he moved to, he sought a fresh start that never came.

It was in Vancouver that Lamont really began to observe how his addiction had progressed.

“I remember that’s when I started to feel desperate for a drink. I remember thinking that I was better than this. I remember thinking that drinking was the cause of my problems. It was the cause of me feeling like crap, and it seemed like my only solution was to drink more. Knowing that was the cycle was hard,” Lamond shared.

Over the years, Lamont would attend detox and treatment.

“I probably went to detox 15 times. They would keep asking me about addiction treatment. Each time I promised myself that this time life would be different.”

By the time Lamont turned 30 his addiction was full-blown, resulting in seizures.

“I wasn’t working very much. It got to a point where I couldn’t afford regular alcohol. I couldn’t steal from the liquor store, so I started stealing a horribly salty, rice wine that was readily available at grocery stores. The bottles’ label in big, red letters read ‘FOR COOKING ONLY (DO NOT DRINK.)’”

Short on work and motivation, Lamont moved back to Toronto looking to start over. He stayed with close friends until he was handed an ultimatum. His options were to either enter a treatment program or leave his friend’s home.

After receiving care at the Centre for Addictions and Mental Health, Lamont entered the doors of Renascent’s Paul J. Sullivan Centre. From here, Lamont’s transformation was incredible.

“I went in [to treatment] with an open mind. I knew it was time to focus on getting my life back,” said Lamont. “Treatment really helped me. It inspired nuanced and profound shifts in my thinking. A paradigm shift began and I began to really look at myself and overcoming this obstacle.”

Lamont began to look beyond the comfort and familiarity that alcohol brought him and honed in on its real effects. “I learned to look at alcohol as it is. I asked myself, “How does this benefit me? How does it add value?” And there was no way that it did; it is a pronounced detriment to my life.”

Lamont attended Renascent’s donor-funded Continuing Care program after leaving Sullivan Centre. The program provided a bridge between addiction treatment and the real-world challenges of recovery outside of the treatment environment.

“I still have thoughts about using. Those thoughts still come into play, but it’s about what you do with them. I don’t have the urge anymore and that’s such a relief. I keep coming back to – sure I could use, but how does that benefit me? Does that make me a better man? Does it add to my physical health? Is using benefiting me in anything at all? And the answer is always ‘no’.”

Lamont has also had the opportunity to change how he feels about the loss he experienced. “I can look back on the strength I gained in having those I lost in my life. Sure, they aren’t physically here, but the ways that they helped shape me and the strengths I gained from them, live on in me,” shared Lamont. “There are going to be tough times and situations that are less than ideal, but as my counsellor says, “That’s just how life goes. That’s just dealing with life on life’s terms.”’

For those who are new to recovery, Lamont shares the following suggestions:

  • If you think you need additional support, speak with an addictions counsellor. You can continue to receive counselling support after treatment.
  • Going to aftercare is beneficial. I would have felt kicked out of the nest without it.
  • Recovery is a journey. You need to take it one day at a time. Sometimes, just an hour at a time. Focus on being present.
  • Find something that you want to do, something worthwhile and fulfilling. Focus on what you want to achieve. Whatever it is, you need something to focus on rather than your drug of choice.

In recovery since 2021, Lamont remains optimistic about the future.

“The goal post keeps moving so there is always more to look forward to. I found it of benefit to concentrate on my achievements – something worthwhile and fulfilling. For me, it’s my acting career. Keeping that as a focus has been helpful, as opposed to focusing on not using.”

About the Authors

Renascent Staff
The staff at Renascent is passionate about helping people with substance addictions so they can reach their full recovery – with compassion, respect, empathy and understanding. Our staff includes our counsellors, all of whom have lived experience of addiction and recovery.