“I used to wish I was never born” — Rocky shares his story

I used to wish I was never born.

My mom was out digging clams when she gave birth to me on a rock in the ocean. That’s how I got my name. And that’s where I got my lot in life. Things were always rocky.

I never got to go to school. I grew up on the West Coast, and from the time I was just a kid, I was dragged out on the fishing boat with my mom and dad. They made okay money, but they were both alcoholics and they’d just throw it all away.

My dad was always so angry. He’d try to drink away his problems but that just made him angrier. He’d take out his anger on my mom, on my siblings, and on me. I would try to protect my mom, but that just meant that I’d get hit harder.

Please donate to help people like Rocky.

Mom tried so hard to do good things for her kids. She was the light in my life. She told me to never hurt the people in your life and always try to be a good person.

When she died, I felt like I lost my whole world. It was like the only light I ever knew went out forever. Before she passed away, she told me I needed to go somewhere where I didn’t know anybody and start over. So that’s what I did. I came to Edmonton 37 years ago. But the hard times followed me.

“I was homeless. I had nothing. No money. No family. I was as low as you could get. ”

I was on the streets for two years when I first got to Edmonton. I didn’t know anybody. I didn’t have anywhere to go. And living on the streets is scary. You never know if somebody is going to try to attack you or stab you. There’s no one you can trust.

Like my mom, I tried to do the best I could. But just like my mom, I had a hard time. Those old ways that I learned from my parents got the best of me. I was so angry. I started drinking and doing drugs to try to stop the pain. Alcohol helped me forget just how worthless everything made me feel.

But I became a devil when I drank. It didn’t make me feel any better. I’d get so drunk that I couldn’t care for anyone. My family. My partners. My kids. Myself.

People make you feel so useless when you have a hard time.  “You’re nothing but an addict” they say, and they put you down and don’t want to see you as a person. But people like me with addictions aren’t bad. We just need someone to help us believe we can be good. That we can change. I have changed.

I’ve been sober now for more than 20 years. I still feel angry and hopeless sometimes, but I got help. Bissell Centre helped me find my hope for something better. 

This is why I love Bissell Centre. Their doors are always open. Instead of telling me I was nothing, they listened to me. They helped me break the cycle of violence and abuse I was born into. They took my hand and held it and never let it go.

I’m talking now and because of help I received at Bissell Centre, I am beginning to understand. I had to talk about all the abuse I suffered and all the rage I felt. I had to come to terms with my past before I could do anything to make something better happen.

I cry when I think of what my dad went through in residential school. It is sad that he never got help and he took all of this to his grave. I pray for him, and I am grateful that I found the help I needed to try to turn things around.

I’ve met people who are just as angry and hopeless as I was. People who are hungry every day. People who turn to drugs and alcohol to try to cope. People who turn to crime and violence to keep supporting their habits. People like my mom and dad who just can’t seem to escape the cycle.

I’ve made it through this life and I survived. I’m grateful for the second chance Bissell Centre gave me. My life can be something different now. 

I want to make a difference. I’d like to help others just like me, who didn’t get a childhood and who can’t get out of the dark. I want to go to school and become a councilor. I want to help others just like Bissell Centre helped me.

Thank you for helping me feel at peace for the first time in my life.

– Rocky

Will you please take a moment right now to make a convenient and secure gift on the Bissell Centre’s online donation page?

Your gift will mean Bissell Centre can be there again for someone like Rocky, when they need a caring person to listen and offer them a second (or third) chance.

Your gift can save lives.

National Aboriginal Day — Sunday, June 21st

National Aboriginal Day is a day for everyone to recognize and celebrate the unique heritage and outstanding cultures of First Nations, Inuit, and Métis peoples through their own distinct language, culture, and spirituality.

In cooperation with Aboriginal organizations, the Government of Canada chose National Aboriginal Day to be celebrated every year on June 21st, the summer solstice. For generations, Aboriginal peoples have celebrated their culture in conjunction with the summer solstice due to its significance as the longest day of the year.

Below is list of events in Edmonton and links for more information on how to celebrate this year’s National Aboriginal Day:

National Aboriginal Day Official Commemoration:
Location: Canada Place (9700 Jasper Avenue)
Date: Friday, June 19th
Time: 9:00am – 4:00pm

Elizabeth Fry Association:
(serving cultural food)
Location: 10523 – 100 Avenue
Date: Friday, June 19th
Time: 12:00pm

Aboriginal Day Live & Celebration:
Location: Louise McKinney Riverfront Park
(9999 Grierson Hill Rd)
Date: Saturday, June 20th
Time: 12:00pm (concert at 6:30pm)

National Aboriginal Day Summer Solstice Celebration:
Location: Churchill Square
Date: Sunday, June 21st
Time: 11:00am – 6:00pm

City of Edmonton: 
Events Listings Here

Government of Canada: 
Events Listings Here

Fill the Crib fundraiser donates 9,000 diapers for families in need

A special thanks to Eliasz and Ella Jewelry & Accessories and 3Leaf Wellness Centre for collecting close to 9,000 diapers and 60 cans of baby formula to BIssell Centre for families in poverty through their Fill the Crib fundraiser.

For three weeks, they promoted the fundraiser by asking the public to donate diapers or formula with the opportunity to receive jewellery for every box that contained 100+ diapers or a sauna card for every can of formula that was 600g or more. People were also entered into a final draw with giveaways from local businesses.

The response was overwhelming and the generous support from the fundraiser will immediately help families living in poverty who struggle to afford diapers and formula for their children and who rely on our Child & Family Services Program for help.

We are grateful for their efforts and very thankful for our partnership!


Do you want to get involved in fundraiser to help individuals and families in poverty? Visit our Community Giving page to get started now!