In December 2018, with no money, no clothes, and weighing only 130 pounds, Kyle Arnold came to The Salvation Army’s Journey to Life Centre in Thunder Bay, Ont. He wanted to finally get out of a cycle of addiction that had taken over his life for almost 20 years.
This move would eventually become the beginning of a long journey to recovery that now allows him to work with other people who are going through what he once went through.
From Addiction to the Army
Kyle grew up in Victoria. Due to several traumatic events he experienced throughout his teens, Kyle tried to find ways to bury feelings of despair any way he could. This led to addiction.
One day, Kyle and a friend decided to drive to Moncton, N.B., to start a new life. This plan came to an end once they ran out of money and ended up stuck in Thunder Bay, Ont.
“Never heard of Thunder Bay, knew nothing about this city. And for the first time in my life, I was truly out of options,” Kyle says.
He arrived in November 2018 and went into a detox program. Two weeks later, he ended up relapsing. Soon after, Kyle came to The Salvation Army.
At the Journey to Life Centre, Kyle met with staff who had gone through similar experiences as him, and they recommended some support groups. During his first month at the centre, he was using on and off. He was attending the meetings while also doing chores around the building to try to keep his mind occupied.
“I don’t think the staff at the Army will ever understand the impact they had on my life.” KYLE ARNOLD
“When I went to The Salvation Army, there were some amazing staff members. They made me feel valued and helped me to start seeing that I was more than just using drugs,” Kyle adds.
That Christmas Day, Kyle witnessed a man overdosing right in front of him. This event was a turning point in his journey to recovery.
“As they carted him away, I looked down and there was a needle. In the needle, there was fentanyl. I picked up that needle and I did it.
“That was my rock bottom, the last time I ever used to this day,” Kyle shares.
Never “Too Far Gone”
After this, Kyle realized he needed help. Thanks to the Army’s staff, he was able to access an addiction recovery home. Six months into his recovery, he started volunteering at the Norwest Community Health Centre. Right before completing his first year clean, Kyle was hired by Norwest as an outreach worker. To this day, he helps clients struggling with addiction, and he is a strong advocate for change within his community.
Even though Kyle was only at The Salvation Army for about a month, he still keeps in touch with the staff.
“I don’t think the staff at the Army will ever understand the impact they had on my life,” he says.
Kyle is getting married this year and is excited to be a stepfather. He says he never thought he would be able to rebuild his life, but is now looking forward to the future.
“There’s no such thing as ‘too far gone.’ We all can recover,” concludes Kyle.