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Thread: 'Gotta Win' and the power of addiction

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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    All over Ontario.

    Default 'Gotta Win' and the power of addiction

    Here's a great piece about Glenn Kulka, the CFL defensive lineman, and the trials, tribulations, and redemptions of his life.

    The article mentions the 'gotta win' tattoo Kulka had on his arm. I can still remember the pic of Kulka and his tat in a Toronto Star sports section front page shot. Addiction is powerful and the Kulka story certainly resonates.

    Years ago, when I was young, I worked construction and there were many guys I laboured with who were fighting their own addiction demons. While I appreciate the road Kulka's walked to find his sobriety, there are so many in our communities who don't have the benefit of a pro contract to help out their own cause.

    I always reflect back to an old guy that took me under his wing, as I was just learning the job on a particular site. I might have been 16 or 17. A construction site can be a pretty dog-eat-dog world--sometimes young kids are run pretty hard. The fella was good to me though; helped me out a lot and got me up to speed. He was a friend when I didn't have anyone on my side at that time in my life. I was young and didn't appreciate that he always had a drink or some ‘extracurricular’ on the go. Everyone drank hard on that site. It just didn't seem to register.

    Years later I ran into him on another job site. He was still the cool guy I remembered but the addiction had consumed more of him. His life had got to the point that he was sleeping in the back of his Ford Ranger; kicked out of the company house for boozing and not paying his share. By November, the weather was getting pretty shitty; the pneumonia made his lungs rattle. Unlike Kulka's situation, there was no accountant with a bail-out deposit of funds or pro sport chance at another big payday for him. I was still in my early twenties but the old fella's plight cemented in my mind and understanding that life can be exceedingly harsh; the ole fella's life making me realize what so many never have touch their own existence. To this day, when I hear about cuts to social programs and some politicians suggesting that everyone has to tighten their belts--see Jim Flaherty’s 'there are no bad jobs' bullshit--, I know that compassion and empathy are as much a learned experience as is finishing concrete or working an election campaign.

    The guy stopped showing up to work and eventually the job concluded. I too had to move on; I have no idea how things turned out for him.

    Addiction is powerful. The consumption and compulsion eats away at the person within it's power, to say nothing of what it does to those close to the addict, and is a life long battle. The Kulka article spells that out that battle exceptionally well. Take a look at it; it's worth your time.
    Last edited by Superfun Happy Slide; 2012-10-17 at 07:25. Reason: farts

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