Andrew McLaughlin wearing Ulster flag in front of Toronto Canada - photo 4924 shared by Bout Yeh photographers Belfast

They call me Belfast.

When I was 14 my family moved from Belfast to a new life in Toronto, Canada.

I struggled through the majority of my twenties, diving into a world of gangs, drugs, alcohol and just all around darkness and loneliness, convincing myself that it really wasn’t worth the fight anymore.

To the glory of God and the calling of my darkest prayers, my mindset began to shift.

St Patrick’s Day weekend 2017 was to be my final ever time I viewed myself as worthless and good for nothing.

The emotions I received from that exact moment were powerful enough for me to ride another 24 hours and, before I knew it, I had crunched a whole week clean and began to feel my head beginning to clear.

So here I am now, with 3 years of sobriety. I have a full journeyman card and completed apprenticeship in the Ironworkers Local 721 Union. I have my driver’s licences back and I’ve completed around 70% of my private pilots licence.

Happiness now in is endless supply, now that I have true perspective of what my own rock bottom looks and feels like.

CN Tower Toronto Canada -  photograph by Robert McLaughlin shared by Bout Yeh photographers and video production Belfast

Photograph of CN Tower in Toronto Canada. Photos on this page by Andrew McLaughlin and shared by Bout Yeh

Photograph of newly completed skyscraper in Toronto by Robert McLaughlin - photo 5894

Aerial photograph of newly completed skyscraper in Toronto, Canada.

Photograph of Whitby Pier Toronto Canada covered in snow by Robert McLaughlin - photo 5893 shared by Bout Yeh photographers Belfast

Photograph of Whitby Pier, Toronto Canada, covered in snow and ice. 

Photograph of road speed sign in car headlights at night by Robert McLaughlin - photo 5895 shared by Bout Yeh photographers Belfast

Photograph of road speed sign in a snow storm lit by car headlights at night near Toronto Canada .

Photograph of skyscraper buildings in Toronto Canada by Robert McLaughlin - photo 5897 shared by Bout Yeh photographers Belfast

Photograph of yellow skyscraper buildings in Toronto Canada.

After so many years of battling severe depression, anxiety and just all round feeling sorry for myself, I strive to always stay happy and find the positive side in everything.

Even when experiencing true sadness I’m always met rather quickly with clarity of vision and hindsight, and am able to talk sense into myself.

After battling substance abuse and serious addiction, I was left as an empty shell. I had been instructed by my doctors to bring health and fitness back in my life, and I began taking pictures, initially of everything and anything I possibly could.

Second nature to me now, photography is a tool for documenting my second chance at life.

For that I give a very respected thankyou to: Jazz (@jazzy.vibes) Ian (@street.ninja) Ryan (@ryan.geric) Pamela (@pameladg8) DeeJay (@dp.ey) Lance (@lance.416) Anna (@annathr1) Tanner (@ramj.et) Jeff (@blindmonkeystudios) Eric (@ericdvds).

Without these people I would not have met any of the others or experienced my many joys.

Everything I have done since getting sober and every choice I have made has been different to how I would have done it in the past.

I cannot see a day in the near future that I don’t take something positive out of.

Having said all that, I would like to meet all my cousins that were born and grew up in Belfast.

Andrew Belfast McLaughlin pictured in Toronto Canada photo 232732 horizontal crop - Bout Yeh photographers Belfast

Andrew (Belfast) McLaughlin – Toronto, Canada

 

Photographs and story shared by Bout Yeh photographers Belfast

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