It’s never too late to turn things around
Trouble with the law and a desire to change leads man to life without addiction
Scott Walker has battled drug and alcohol addictions for most of his life, but with the help of family, friends and addictions recovery programs he has been able to turn his life around.
MUSKOKA – No one wants to be an addict and organizations such as Addiction Outreach Muskoka Parry Sound offer services for those looking for help. Three recovering addicts spoke at the organization’s annual recovery breakfast last month, urging others to seek support. This is one of their stories.
Scott Walker has stood in front of a judge more than 40 times because of drugs.
The former alcohol and substance abuser said he was often slapped on the wrist by the law and it never changed anything. But finally one judge gave him a choice – Walker could either spend six and a half years in jail or go back to rehab.
“It was an easy choice,” he said.
Walker spoke at Addiction Outreach Muskoka Parry Sound’s annual recovery breakfast in Huntsville on Sept. 20. He talked about his 40-year battle with addiction and the tough journey he had to take to rebuild the bridges he had burnt.
Born into a privileged family, Walker said he had everything he needed or wanted. But by age 12, he felt he wanted more and picked up drugs and a bottle of alcohol.
Those addictions stayed with him until age 52.
“I quit drinking alcohol in 1992 with the help of the Huntsville police,” he said. “I was up here on vacation during the wintertime. I left a bar. They had a nice warm restroom in the bar, but for some reason I didn’t use it. I decided to stop in front of a motel and take a leak on the phone booth in the middle of winter in front of two police cars.”
The officers were going to let Walker go, but instead he talked himself into jail that night with a drunk driving charge.
He was so disgusted with the idea of going to court that he left the country and headed for Cleveland, Ohio. He does not remember how he got there.
“I got across the boarder somehow on a blackout,” he said. “I drove from Dorset, Ont., all the way to Cleveland, Ohio. I don’t remember how. I woke up in a county jail with another drinking while under the influence charge.”
The judge sentenced him to 90 days in jail followed by rehab.
“Since then I haven’t had a drink,” said Walker.
But he filled the alcohol void with another unnamed substance to which he was addicted for 18 years.
“It horrified me, it horrified my family, it brought me to the lowest depths,” he said.
It was in Cleveland that a judge gave him the choice of long-term jail time or drug rehabilitation.
Three years and one month ago Walker left rehab in Cleveland. He said it saved his life.
The program required him to give urine samples each week for a year along with probation for a year, and after-rehab care for six months. He also moved into a sober house.
He followed through with the program to get his life back on track.
But one Saturday morning six FBI agents came looking for him. Walker was a Canadian citizen and ended up being deported to Canada for committing a crime in the United States.
Walker thought he had burnt all his bridges with his family, but one of the steps in his recovery program was to make amends.
When he contacted his brother, who lived in Muskoka, he said his brother couldn’t believe he was still alive. It had been seven years since they had spoken to each other.
And when Walker was in the holding cell waiting to be deported, he said he called his brother for help. “I had no idea where I’d go, where I’d end up, or if I’d just harm myself upon crossing and get it over with,” he said. “But my brother told me to come to (Muskoka) and move in with my family.”
Tears came to his eyes as he spoke about meeting the niece and nephew he never knew he had. They were twins.
“I became family again,” he said.
His brother introduced him to Addiction Outreach Muskoka Parry Sound so he could continue to address his mental health, alcohol and narcotic addiction issues.
“Once I walked through that door at Addiction Outreach and went through intake and got to the programs I needed, the ball started rolling,” he said.
Walker is actively involved in Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous and Relapse Prevention. He is now surrounded by supportive family and friends who trust him.
He thanked those who have helped him get his life back.