My name is Frances and I am from Hopedale, an isolated community in Labrador, on the east coast of Canada. Only transportation is by airplane or boat. I am 58 years old and I have stopped drinking for 20 years now.  I have been married for 35 years. I woke up one morning after drinking the night before, I looked at my kids and asked myself what am I doing to my kids? I stayed in bed all day and got up to cook dinner only. 

My husband and I went to the pub as soon as we got paid. We would look for babysitters and go back home drunk. I used to get beat up because of my husband’s jealousy. We were both unfaithful to each other. Sometimes we would drink in the night and into the next day. I had two blackeyes once and went to work like that. I was late once for work because of drinking. 

I brought my kids to my mom’s house sometimes because I was scared that I was going to get beat up.   My husband went to jail once for four months for abusing me. While he was away I used to drink. We were stuck in this rut for a while. 

We hardly communicated, I didn’t know how to tell him that I wanted to stop drinking so I left him. I went to a Libra House out of town. I called my oldest daughter at her house and my husband answered the telephone. We were talking and I told him that I wanted to stop drinking. He asked if I wanted to go to the treatment center? I said yes we can try. We were in treatment for six weeks and it was really hard. We almost split up, but we worked through it with the help of the workers. We have been sober since we left the treatment center. 

Now I have a good-paying job as a Mental Health & Addictions Worker. This is my dream job to help others. My husband has a two-week rotational job at the Voisey’s Bay site. We are so happy that we are sober. We are communicating all the time, we know now what our children are doing.  I lost my dad who was found outdoors in the winter after using alcohol. I miss him so much. My mom is alive and visits her when I can. 

Unfortunately we lost our daughter in 2008 by suicide. This has been the hardest thing that ever happened and we still grieve for her. She was only nineteen and she was under the influence of alcohol at the time. We have made it through much easier with the help of family and friends. Then we almost lost another daughter, she was found outside and she lost her fingers and one leg due to frostbite. She is so lucky to be alive today and we love her and her family so much. 

 After we lost our first daughter, our son started using marijuana and got diagnosed with psychosis. He had one episode and was sent out to get assessed. He has been out to the hospital one more time after his first episode. He is now taking a needle once a month for his mental illness and is going to Adult Basic Education college. Two of my daughters still drink, the one found almost frozen has stopped drinking and is using marijuana. My son drinks and uses marijuana heavily. It is a constant worry for my kids and someday they will stop using it as we did. I pray for them every day.