More than 200 graduates of Portage drug addiction programs were recognized on Sunday for their commitment to a healthy and positive lifestyle. It was a ceremony at Place des Arts with hundreds of family members and friends showing their support.

Etienne Jobin is one of the graduates. 

He began using drugs when he was just 12-years-old. 

“I started doing things like mushrooms, I tried MDMA, I went on to LSD and cocaine and my life started spiraling completely out of control,” he said.

By the time he was 15 he says he overdosed a number of times and was given an ultimatum by his mother, which pushed him to try to get help.

Jobin spent six months at Lac Echo, gaining the tools he needed to turn his life around.

“I have a job now, I have hobbies, I have friends, I have a great relationship with my family and I love myself,” he said. “I can look in the mirror and enjoy what I see.” 

Now 18-years-old, Jobin hopes to become an addiction councilor, to help others like him to get their lives back on track. 

Seychelle Harding has been involved with Portage for 10 years and has seen many people, like Jobin, struggle to battle their addictions.

“When the person decides that they’re done with it ‘I’ve hit rock bottom and I can’t continue like that’ that’s when they come in and that’s when the program is successful,” she explained. 

Sunday’s ceremony is the 44th for the organization that runs five rehabilitation centers in Montreal and has served roughly 1,000 people each year.