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From math teacher to meth user: How one Winnipeg addict fell prey and turned his life around

From math teacher to meth user: How one Winnipeg addict fell prey and turned his life around
Canada
“It’s amazing how it takes over your life … I couldn’t even, like, read the mail. I couldn’t make a phone call. It would take me three or four days to make a simple phone call to just either cancel the cable or make an inquiry on my phone bill or something.”

Using meth to help his loneliness only made things worse, as his two adult children grew further apart from him, says Chaput.

“I never told anybody. Only the people I was using with, they knew I was using, but no one else knew. And once they started to know and basically that was last April 2018, where it’s kind of things started to crumble.“

Chaput says in June of last year, he ran a stop sign and crashed his car while he was under the influence, and was taken to hospital. He doesn’t remember much about what happened.

He tried to detox several times but kept failing. Chaput says he always blamed the addictions programs for failing, rather than himself. And then finally, in October of last year, he decided enough was enough.

Crime Wave: Meth in a flawed city

After 28 days of detox, he then landed at the Addictions Foundation of Manitoba with a bed. When he left AFM, he found Morberg House, a 12-bed transitional home for men overcoming homelessness, addiction, and mental health challenges. With each successive move, he was given more responsibility to take care of himself.

At this point, he was broke, had lost his apartment and damaged relationships with people he cared about, he says.

Determined, he started to deal with his problems. Because he was a teacher and had a pension, he started paying his bills that were in arrears. He did his taxes. He started taking care of his health again. Step by step, he dealt with what needed to be dealing with, he says.

Morberg House was there every step of the way to help, he says, and he’s still working on putting his life back together.

Now, Chaput is the focus of a new documentary produced by a Manitoba paramedic, shining the light on people like him – the lesser-known, but more common meth user.

“I didn’t want it to demonize anybody,” says Rodney Bodner, the paramedic behind the documentary.

“I wanted to show the humanity behind this, that these are real people with real problems. It’s a rare instance where no people are being portrayed as very violent. It does happen. But for the most part, people that are using methamphetamines are not unlawful. They just have a lot of mental health issues, maybe poverty-driven issues or trauma.”
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