Addiction is a disease, and that disease is progressive. For Chris Cull, his disease lead him to hit rock bottom. From here, he made the decision to move forward.
"It doesn't matter how bad things are, or where you were, you can still go on to do extrordinary things," says Chris Cull. The recovering Oxycontin addict from Bowmanville, Ontario, is a shining example of how rock bottom can be used as a solid foundation on which you can build and achieve great things.
At the age of 22, triggered by the loss of his father, Cull turned to prescription medication to numb the pain. Cull narrates his experience of turning into a person he never thought possible. From lying and stealing, to pushing away those that mattered most in his life, Cull felt that hitting that all time low, was a real wake up call.
It was at that point he decided to set out on a road to recovery. Cull felt that others could learn from his mistakes and he wanted to bring light to the issue of prescription drug abuse across the country. Simultaneously, the now 29 year old, wanted to experience and explore the life he had put on hold during his time as an addict.
And with that, Inspire by Example was born. Equipped with a two-man film crew, a trailer, 3 GO Pro cameras, and a bicycle, Cull set out to spread awareness and document stories of prescription drug abuse and how it has affected Canadians across the country. Cycling from the Pacific to the Atlantic Coast documenting experiences, Cull plans on using these stories to create a documentary, that he hopes will,"start the discussion".
Amazingly, Cull was never a trained cyclist, and his own initiative to bicycle across the country has been inspring in itself.
"It's all about how badly you want to do something and if you're willing to put in the time and work for it."
As of July 18, Cull has travelled from his starting point in Victoria, BC to Sudbury, Ontario and is pushing forward to complete his 7500 kilometre ride in St. Johns, Newfoundland. He has met and filmed interviews from people of varying degree and how the issue of prescription drug abuse has entered and affected their lives. The interviews range from planned meetings to happening upon strangers, all interested and eager to help Cull with his cause.
Not only have his travels spurred discussion, they have also allowed Cull to reflect on his own life and actions.
"Doing some of the interviews has allowed me to look at my actions from a different perspective; one that I had never really seen before".
Cull hopes that his documentary will showcase the issue, and more importantly, give hope to anyone who feels lost, confused, or stuck in their current situation.
"I want people to never give up hope that things can get better. But, it's up to you to make it better."
As for Cull himself, this ride has exceeded his expectations. The ability to create new memories and have a second chance at life has been remarkable.
"This has been one of the greatest experiences of my life. I've loved meeting people, and hearing their stories. But, even in simpler terms, the journey. From riding through the rocky mountains, to lying down on a picnic table, in the middle of nowhere up North, and watching the Milky Way galaxy above you... I can't pinpoint a favourite moment, but, it's all been amazing.
To learn more about Chris Cull's story and follow his journey, visit his website www.inspirebyexample.ca