Paulette Walker

It all started with a traumatic event that scarred Paulette’s childhood. Since then, without fully realizing it, she began carrying around a feeling of sadness that never left her. Paulette grew up believing that the negative emotions she was feeling were normal, that everyone felt that way. She was depressed and visited by thoughts of suicide, which led her to make attempts on her life. Paulette was suffering. She began using crack cocaine to calm her torment. For over 20 years, she would be addicted to this substance that allowed her to escape reality and her past. Paulette had lost all hope, a prisoner of her unhealthy lifestyle and surrounded by negative influences that kept her there.

In 2002, she was arrested. Thanks to an astute judge, Justice Paul Bentley, and the Toronto Drug Treatment Court, Paulette entered into an addiction recovery program at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health. There, she was surrounded by people who believed in her abilities and instilled enough trust in her that she started to believe in herself too. Paulette overcame her addiction, regained her self-esteem and learned to let go of the burden she had been shouldering since a tender age. In order to do so, Paulette had to forgive others and herself. It’s been 18 years since she got back on her feet. She has learned to make the right choices. Far from denying her past, she uses it to help others who have experienced difficulties. Patiently, she supports them on their road to recovery. And like others did with her before, Paulette shows them how to rebuild themselves, one day at a time.