Journey into Darkness

Salvation Army officer opens doors at Yellowknife Resource Centre

Growing up, Lynsie’s parents struggled with alcoholism, which had a significant impact on her childhood. Emotionally neglected, her desperation to be liked and loved pushed her towards people and habits that were detrimental. When she finally hit an all-time low, she turned to The Salvation Army’s resource centre in Yellowknife. Here she found stability, community and hope.

“I Just Wanted to Feel Loved”

“As a child I was fed and clothed but never knew what love felt like,” says Lynsie. “My father was a residential school survivor, and my mom grew up in an alcoholic home. They drank all the time and were emotionally unavailable. I never had their full attention. It was painful and lonely. My older sisters went down a path of addiction, and home was chaotic.”

When Lynsie was five, her parents moved the family to Ontario for a fresh start. But relocating didn’t take away her feelings of neglect and deep insecurity. She did what she must to mask her low self-esteem, fit in and feel loved. At age 13 she was smoking pot, drinking and dating older men.

“I just wanted to feel loved and worthy,” says Lynsie. “I was trying to find my place in the world and felt a sense of belonging when I was with other damaged people.”

“I arrived at The Salvation Army ashamed, alone and with nowhere else to go.”

At age 14, Lynsie’s self-esteem took a major hit. High school bullies repeatedly told her she was ugly, tormenting her mentally and emotionally. Self-doubt plagued her for years and she continued to drink, use hard drugs and have relationships with toxic partners.

“I hated who I was,” says Lynsie. “I had no love for myself. It was a dark time for me. I even considered suicide. I was ready to go.”

Lynsie and family eventually returned to Yellowknife where Lynsie’s drug use escalated.

“My parents realized I needed treatment,” says Lynsie. “I went but wasn’t serious.” After three months of sobriety, Lynsie relapsed. This time, she spiralled further down.

“I hooked up with an ex-boyfriend and got into trouble. I went to wellness court. With consequences in place that was the beginning of my true recovery. ”

Regaining Control

In 2017 and wanting a different life, Lynsie enrolled in The Salvation Army’s withdrawal management program at the resource centre. Here, the 24-year-old had a bed and food while she immersed herself in various recovery programs.

“I arrived at The Salvation Army ashamed, alone and with nowhere else to go. They provided me a safe shelter while I worked to get sober.”

“They provided me a safe shelter while I worked to get sober.”

Lynsie stayed at the centre for six months. Cheered on by support workers for who she was and what she was doing, she was able to see her worth, something she had struggled with for years.

“People at The Salvation Army had faith in me,” says Lynsie. “I’m different now and on a journey to becoming a professional counsellor. I hope to work with children in my future.”

By Linda Leigh