Community reporter
Love cultural and sports activities

Michel,  60 years old

He didn't chose to be homeless...

I’ve had a pretty complicated journey.

I’m 60 years old. I have a Secondary School Diploma in science. I’ve also studied some IT and taken a few psychology classes in university. I completed 300 hours of helping relationship training in a private clinic and worked a bit in a studio as a community cameraman/journalist.

I’m interested in any intellectual topics related to science, in the broadest sense. Art, as well, especially its design. I’m not someone who works with their hands, like a painter or sculptor does. I’m more interested in the work of comedians and in cinema and literature I read many different things.

I also do physical activities, too. During one period of my life, I was still on the field. I did a lot of cardio. I need to keep moving. 

Gambling is the main cause of my problems. One aspect of my personality makes it so that I need an adrenaline rush. I could see myself as an adventurer, but that’s not possible now! Gambling made me feel like I did when playing hockey or doing other things when I was younger. I hadn’t been able to experience those feelings as an adult. I know that working five days a week at home, without stimulation, doesn’t work for me. I have to find something else.

For me, it’s a personality flaw, dissatisfaction with the jobs I’ve had. Gambling was a way to compensate. Obviously, over the centuries that gambling has existed, it always leads people to ruin. You are never a winner with games of chance.

Living on the street was really difficult. There’s no structure and questions always come to mind: why did this happen? Even though things sometimes seem obvious, the situation is always more complicated than the facts themselves.

The first time I realized that I had gambling problems, I decided to do rehab at Dollard-Cormier. I got myself stabilized. But all of a sudden, everything collapsed.

I don’t know how much time I

spent on the street. The first time, it was close to a year. The second time, I got something lined up right away to get myself stable. It didn’t take me as long to go ask for help.

I had just gotten out of a difficult relationship. At that time, I was on the road for work, which was pretty stressful, and I kind of lost control. But gambling wasn’t the cause. I wanted to give up at one point. I didn’t really know what I was doing.

It was during this second rough patch that I came to Maison du Père. Shockingly, I liked it, even though I’m usually quick to criticize. It made me think about when I was younger, when I was at school. Except this time I was with people who were in the same complicated situation as me. Even with my issues, I found a network of people here that I can chat with, play cards with…all those things that we get away from when we’re overwhelmed by stress or when we’re having domestic troubles. This lack of conflict, this camaraderie, has been good for me When you’re young, you have friends, neighbours, your brothers and you play ball. But after awhile, everyone splits up. You have fights, you lose track of each other. Thanks to Maison du Père, I’ve gotten back to that.

I take advantage of all the activities offered here, especially the cultural ones like cinema, literature, magazines, newspapers, etc. I would never have thought that I would get back out on the baseball field!

I have several short-term projects planned.

First, I understand that for now, the only way to control my problem is through a trust. Treatment programs are less useful. There are lots of things I understand better than before. I need time to get myself reorganized. It may take awhile, but I’m patient.

I would like to enrol in some training because right now, I need to be active. When I’m not learning something, I feel like something is missing. It’s been like this for two months already. I need to meet for my follow-up appointment with an Emploi-Québec counsellor who will suggest things for me based on the personality tests I took.

I would also like to get back into working out.

For housing, I will need to wait until I’ve finished my training and find a job.

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550, René-Lévesque blvd. East
Montreal  (Quebec)  H2L 2L3
514 845-0168
550, boulevard René-Lévesque Est
Montréal  (Québec)  H2L 2L3
514 845-0168
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