Chris Connell doesn’t keep track of milestones to track his addictions recovery.
“I treat every single day like it’s my first day sober,” Connell says. Taking it one day at a time, he’s amassed a couple years of sobriety.
Connell wrote a memior called Translating Hunger: The Masks of Addictions and the Truths of Recovery about his 15-year struggle with addictions. He will be doing a reading at the Rotary Club of Slave Lake Library on November 14 from 6 to 7 p.m.
Connell grew up in Whitecourt. He currently lives in Grimshaw and is moving to Edmonton.
Connell’s journey with addiction started when he was 13. He was hanging out with a certain group of people. They started doing weed, then stealing drugs and alcohol from their parents. As his addiction progressed, his main drugs of choice were alcohol and cocaine.
Connell has worked mostly at mills, a bit in oilfield, and other jobs.
Several years ago, Connell started doing yoga and working in a book store. At first, while doing yoga he’d relapse, but eventually he replaced his unhealthy addictions with healthier choices.
Connell says he has an addictive personality. When he was first doing yoga, he’d do it six hours a day. This wasn’t healthy, so now he’s developed a schedule of reading and yoga which has a happy balance.
Connell has found a strict schedule useful in his recovery.
The last year, Connell’s made writing his full-time job. The impetus to write came from another writer on Kijiji, who encouraged him to think of himself as a writer and write a book.
Starting in January, 2019, Connell wrote eight hours a day five days a week. After three edits with an editor from Edmonton, he hired a formatting company and released the book on Amazon in July.
Connell disagrees with people who call addictions an illness.
“I made a series of terrible choices,” he says. “I believe you do have a choice. Most addicts live in an inner darkness. If you can tame that, you can learn to live in the daylight. Hold people accountable for their decisions and that’s where the real healing” is.
The reading is open to anyone interested. Connell is very interested in speaking with addicts, family members of addicts, and people who are interested in knowing more about addictions.
The reading is part of a series Connell is doing across northern Alberta.