Back On Pointe: Patrick’s Story
There’s a stark contrast between the beauty and grace of ballet and the ugly and unforgiving grasp of addiction. For more than half his life, Patrick was caught between the two.
When Patrick moved to San Francisco at the age of 17 to pursue his dream of becoming a professional ballet dancer, he felt restless, irritable, discontent, and insecure. He dealt with these emotions by taking narcotic pain medication and consuming alcohol. It was only through these substances that Patrick felt he could deal with the pressure and maintain as a high-level athlete.
At the age of 17, he overdosed and was airlifted to the hospital. That was his first time in rehab and the first time he attended an AA meeting.
“It’s really hard to convince a young person and an addict that they’re never going to drink or use drugs ever again. I was of the mindset that I could kind of clean up my act, get it together, get things back on track, and then figure out how to drink and use normally like other people can.”
What he soon discovered was that he wasn’t like other people. For more than a decade, Patrick continued to juggle his life as a professional dancer, while teaching ballet, all while managing an unmanageable addiction. He found himself drinking every day to ward off withdrawal symptoms and self-medicating to help him sleep. He was then taking Adderall to get through the day. It was a cycle that got completely out of control and cost him everything.
Homeless, estranged from his family, and unemployable, Patrick was alone and desperate. He remembered a man who had reached out to him before, Lowell MacGregor. Patrick hesitantly reached out to Lowell who immediately got in his car, picked him up, and brought him to Taylor Made Retreat.
“I very reluctantly became a resident at Taylor Made. I thought my life was over. I had lost my fiancé, my amazing job with the ballet company in Vancouver BC, I had ruined my reputation, I was unemployable, I was covered in abscesses from the drug use. Without a doubt, had Lowell not entered the picture at that time, I would be dead.”
Patrick’s view of Taylor Made changed as he was empowered to see his story through a different lens. The intensive emphasis on the 12 steps helped him establish a spiritual connection with something greater than himself. He learned to loosen his grip and be open to new experiences and learned new ways to deal with life’s challenges.
After five months as a client, through prayer, meditation, introspection, and working the steps Patrick experienced a shift in his life. He was much more than dancer Patrick. He became a leader within the house. He became a dance and yoga instructor for the residents. He got his driver’s license.
At 34, he felt like a grown-up for the first time in his life. Now he has taken the design for living that he learned from Taylor Made and set out with intention each day to embody the principles of the 12 steps.
Patrick is no longer trapped. He is free. Two years clean and sober, Patrick has returned to his passion as a professional ballet dancer with Canada’s Ballet BC.