Stewart lived with his Mother until he was six, at which time he moved to a reserve to be with his stepfather. Unfortunately, Stewart's stepfather was an alcoholic who became extremely abusive when he had been drinking. Despite the fact that Stewart was an excellent student (he graduated from high school), his stepfather placed unrealistic and often unattainable expectations upon Stewart and would be quite vicious if Stewart didn't meet his demands. For punishment, Stewart was beaten, then put into his room for days.
Stewart says that the years of abuse left him feeling as though he had "lost his courage", unable to stand up for himself. Stewart often worries about the needs of others rather than his own because he grew up believing that he "doesn't matter". Stewart left his stepfather's house when he was a young teenager and went to live with his grandfather. It was around that time that he started using drugs and alcohol to retreat further into himself and to numb the pain from the memories of his abusive past.
Eventually Stewart moved to Vancouver and got mixed up with illegal (and dangerous) activities. Though Stewart has since left that world, he continues to fear for his safety. Stewart came to Covenant House where staff encouraged him to confront his addiction and to begin counselling to heal from the wounds of his past. Now, Stewart works full time and struggles every day with the urge to drink and smoke pot and he has relapsed a few times. Though the counselling process is painful for Stewart as he questions why his stepfather was so cruel, he is persevering and is slowly beginning to trust our staff enough to express his tears and pain.
Stewart may relapse again as he continues on his journey of healing as this is a natural occurrence for those trying to overcome an addiction. But Stewart knows that we are always here for him and will continue to accompany him as he moves forward in his life. Our heart breaks for the little Stewart who suffered so much abuse and we are so proud of the young adult Stewart who is rediscovering his courage and trying to believe that he does matter.