I Am Resilient: Leonard Kaplan

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This is Leonard Kaplan and he is RESILIENT.

Nadia Kidwai, Leonard Kaplan and Blair Kaplan Venables at The Weekend Morning Show at CBC Manitoba in June 2019.

CONTENT WARNING: The I Am Resilient Project provides an open space for people to share their personal experiences. Some content in this post and on this website will include topics that you may find difficult.

Describe the situation where you had to be resilient:

I started snorting cocaine in the mid-’80s and was eventually introduced to the injection of cocaine that gave me a really addictive high. I have now lived with addiction for over three decades.

Leonard’s Story

I found success as a Graduate Gemologist, jewellery appraiser and diamond dealer in the 1980s. Also, I became addicted to cocaine in the 1980s. My use of cocaine spiraled into an unstoppable journey into hell. Addiction is a disease that cannot be cured so when you quit one drug you eventually replace it with another and life goes on.

What started off as recreational use turned into a problem where I lost everything I had including my business and family. Eventually, I was overcome by psychosis so I had to stop doing cocaine. However, the anxiety was still there but the urge never went away. So, I switched to injecting something that was a blend of Talwin and Ritalin that resembled heroin. In about 1999 I switched to smoking crack cocaine and that usage only recently stopped.

In 2015 I was still using crack cocaine and I was hospitalized after becoming sepsis. After two weeks in the ICU, and a further two weeks in a hospital bed, I was fortunate to have a team of five medical students who taught me how to be resilient. They helped me avoid drugs and medications outside what is prescribed to me.

My medical team of doctors prescribed me a menu of medication that eliminated my addictions to street drugs. For example, my being prescribed these medications is similar to a person with high blood pressure needing a prescription or a diabetic requiring a prescription. Addiction is a lifelong disease and if you also suffer from addiction, see your doctor for assistance.

Today, I use only what the doctor prescribes and how it’s prescribed.

In recent years, my health started to decline and I realized that I missed both of my daughter’s lives. They are both grown up now and I wasn’t the father they needed me to be for most of their lives. I was lost in addiction. My health started to decline in recent years and last year I learned that my COPD is in the end stages. I require a lung transplant or else my time on this earth is done. My bad choices in the 80’s lead me down a dark path and now that I’m no longer living within my addiction, my life is coming to an end.

How did you practice resilience when faced with this challenge?

I knew I had a challenge with drugs but I still woke up every morning and went to work. Because of my resilience, I was able to continue working full time until 2016.

Please share one piece of advice for people who are going through a similar challenge

Choose your friends and associates wisely. If a friend of mine never introduced me to cocaine I would have never started that journey.

Are you ready to share your story of RESILIENCE? You can do that HERE and thank you for being brave and sharing your journey.

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