'Not bad for a junkie'

October 18, 2006, volume 37, no. 4
By Stuart Colcleugh



Document Tools

Print This Article

E-mail This Page

Font Size
S      M      L      XL

Related Stories

Parry Malm graduated this month with a bachelor of business administration and first class honours as one of the top students in the marketing and management science programs; no mean feat for anyone, let alone a recovering heroin and cocaine addict. 

"Not bad for a junkie," says Malm, speaking by cell phone from London, England where he is working as the marketing manager for a series of specialized multinational business conferences.

But the journey back from addiction, degradation and despair was no cakewalk. Malm had been drinking and drugging since he was 14 years old, setting the stage for a downward spiral that accelerated while he was studying computer science at the University of Victoria.

By his third year, he hit bottom: "I was 22, addicted to heroin and crack, I had burned every bridge I had ever made. My parents wouldn't let me in their house, I had not a penny to my name, I had racked up criminal charges—you name it, my life was completely unmanageable."

But on August 30, 2001—a date he has tattooed on his forearm—he entered the Innervisions residential treatment program in Port Coquitlam and he's been on the road to recovery ever since.

"After that, my life became about change and taking responsibility for my actions," he says. First, he worked at Innervisions for 18 months helping others toward recovery. Then he entered SFU where he immediately excelled, while continuing to volunteer with Innervisions, serving as a student marketing association executive and organizing an annual charity poker tournament which has raised more than $4000 for a Downtown Eastside youth advocacy network.

In 2004, his volunteer work earned him the Terry Fox humanitarian award, given for demonstrating "the highest ideals and qualities of citizenship and humanitarian service."

This summer, after an internship with Adbusters Media Foundation and a student exchange term in the Netherlands, he landed in London on a work visa with little money, no contacts, and nowhere to live. "But within three weeks I had three job offers, including the one I'm doing now."

Malm is proud of his recent achievements, but he's most grateful for his recovery.

"My degree is nothing compared to the work it took to turn my life around."

He has a message for others on the path he once travelled: "Any efforts you put into getting clean you'll get back 10 times in the long run."

Search SFU News Online