Life After Meth: Views from the Other Side of Hell
Believe it or not, there is such a thing as life after meth. Sure it can be lonesome and devastating and full of heartbreak. But it can also be the most triumphant and fulfilling life imaginable.
Unfortunately few folks get to see the positive life after meth. Way too few. Heck, most folks don’t even know there’s a positive to be had. But there is. In fact, positives are occurring with ever increasing frequency. And two Canadian filmmakers have set out to prove it.
Tyler Funk and Carmen Ponto are Winnipeg filmmakers. That’s first and foremost. They’re also storytellers. And they care about their hometown. A lot. So when meth began wreaking more and more havoc around Winnipeg, the story-centric filmmakers grabbed their camera and hit the streets.
But Funk and Ponto didn’t want to tell horror stories. Quite the contrary. They wanted to tell stories that inspired people. Oh, they wouldn’t gloss over the problem — meth was far too devastating for that. Besides, people deserve honesty. Still, they knew there was more to this very sordid story. A much bigger truth to be told. And the two were determined to tell it.
And tell it they have. Backed by CBC’s Creator Network, Funk and Pronto found three courageous souls who’d survived the hell of meth addiction and were willing to tell their tales. Real folks. True folks. Folks who’d not only been there and done that to quite harrowing degrees. But who’d also triumphed despite the ordeals.
Or perhaps it was because of their ordeals. As you’ll see in the two tales below (the third story airs next week), these former addicts say they wouldn’t — no, couldn’t — be where they are were it not for meth. And that’s a good thing. A damn good thing. Because where they are is an enviable and wonderful place.
In fact, it may even be the best place either of them has ever been. So yes, there is life after meth. And yes, that life can indeed rise above and beyond the imagination. All it takes is a little help, a little patience, and a lot of will. Or, in short, if people are given a reason to live.
It’s something everyone should remember before they consider dismissing or ignoring or — worse — writing off an addict.
After Meth: Dane Bourget
Dane Bourget took a wrong turn one night. He wouldn’t get back on track for a full decade. That’s how fast meth takes people down. And that’s how far down the drug takes them.
“Meth took over my life very quickly,” Bourget said. “It went from trying it once or twice to being an all day, every day user within a few weeks.”
That’s the initial reveal in the first of Funk and Ponto’s three-part After Meth series. But of course it’s not the entire reveal. Because Bourget’s “descent into meth addiction” was followed by an “ascent into recovery” as sure and as true as life itself.
Indeed, Bourget’s been sober since August 12, 2014. He’s also founded and runs a peer-support group called Jib Stop. Jib Stop’s backed by Winnipeg Mayor Brian Bowman. It’s also supported by the city’s Community Safety and Crime Prevention Program. Not bad for a guy who in the throes of addiction abandoned his two kids and disappeared for months on end.
Like many addicts, Bourget started early. In fact, he was smoking pot and using Special K by age 13. Also like many addicts, he had to be arrested before getting access to the necessary help. Once Bourget did get help though, he was able to completely turn around his life.
It’s a lot of life to put across in a mere four-minute long film. But Funk and Ponto are good at what they do. Furthermore, Bourget’s a willing and eager subject. He’s also incredibly candid. And one can’t help but cheer his recovery, especially his fervor for helping others and his joy over reuniting with his kids.
After Meth: Sky Moneyas
Sky Moneyas started life with three strikes against him. His mother was a crack addict and his father was an alcoholic. He also suffered sexual abuse. Beginning at the age of four. That Sky ended up an addict is really no surprise. What’s surprising is that he was able to come out the other side — and without any bitterness at that.
Moneyas’ story is the second of three films by Funk and Ponto that feature personal stories from Winnipeggers who are now sober. The third and final piece will be released next week by CBC Manitoba.
Moneyas is now 30 years old. He spent four years in a fog of addiction. And though his drinking didn’t begin till age 18, it quickly escalated to cocaine, opioids and then meth.
Like lucky addicts everywhere, Moneyas got help. Between a 28-day treatment program and an 11-month stay in a sober-living facility, he’s now back in charge of his life. It’s a full and happy life too. And the four revealing minutes he shares with After Meth are an inspiration to us all.
Healing Properties Applauds
Healing Properties applauds Tyler Funk and Carmen Ponto for having the guts and the gusto to make the After Meth series. Few folks would risk diving into such a dark subject. Even fewer would resist the temptation to exploit it. That they’ve done both is testament to their integrity as filmmakers. That they also managed to both find and provide inspiration from such material is testament to their integrity as humans.
We also applaud Dane Bourget, Sky Moneyas and their third compatriot for their sobriety, and for having the courage to share their stories. Getting on a soapbox isn’t easy, under the best of circumstances. To get up on one and shine with such grace and humility is a remarkable feat.
Remember, there’s hope. And there’s help. If you need a dose of both, please reach out.
(Photo Courtesy Creative Commons via Needpix with Gratitude)