Skip to content

Colwood author pens story of addiction struggles

Joey Ter-Mitchell’s book tells the story of his own struggles alongside his granddad’s story
Joey Ter-Mitchell penned the first draft and worked with Karen Thorstad (left), who has known Joey since he was 18 and helped edit the book. (Bailey Moreton/News Staff)

After struggling with addiction for the majority of his life, a Colwood author has penned a book about his rehabilitation program in the hopes of helping others.

Joey Ter-Mitchell describes The Wealthy Loser as a “love letter to the world.” It is a first-person account of his life and that of his grandfather, a Polish footballer who was forced to fight for Germany during the Second World War and later escaped a Soviet prisoner-of-war camp. The stories intertwine as the pair grappled with the various challenges they confronted and as Ter-Mitchell rediscovered his grandfather’s story.

“My heart was so pure, the wealthy part and the loser part, because my upbringing taught me to be this loser so I just was a little worried that people would look at me a certain way. But through my book they see my intention.”

Ter-Mitchell was raised in a troubled household and struggled with drug abuse. He spent 25 years bouncing in and out of rehabilitation programs, finding that the programs did not work for him.

“Someone like me kind of gravitated … I couldn’t fit in with the people doing good in the program, so I just gravitated to the people that would end up relapsing. There were all these flaws in the program, in rehabilitation, so I created my own program.”

His own program, which he dubbed “UniverCcity,” was in part based on a spiritual closeness he found with Christianity during a stint in jail and other techniques he found helpful.

Whenever he would leave the house, he would write down why he was going out, what his purpose was and when he returned would record how it went. This daily diary structure was a key part of his program.

“It’s kind of putting it out there to the universe what I’m working on within myself and how I did and I wouldn’t shame myself if I had shortcomings or I failed. I would write it down so I could look at it, and putting it out there to the universe and the universe is showing me the love that I need to make these corrections in my life.”

He hopes the book will raise some funds to help others struggling with addiction use his program.

ALSO READ: Central Saanich author shortlisted for writers’ festival