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Since his recovery began in 1991, Joe Shoeboogieman (aka Joe Roberts) has been inspiring audiences with his message of hope. Having lived a life of degradation, addiction and homelessness Joe connects with his audience using his incredible history. He leaves behind a memorable and thought provoking message.

With all odds against him Joe survived a serious drug addiction and a life on the street to become a college graduate and a successful businessperson.

Recently Joe has taken his multimedia show on the road to talk to today’s youth on the “The Lies about Getting High”. Using his enthusiastic motivational style Joe talks frankly to people about the romance and reality of drug addiction. Pulling no punches he spells out how life was for him and relates to people his wish that they make the right choices and avoid the pain that he endured.



Joe’s Story – Long Version

I was born into a normal middle class family on November 25th1966 in Midland Ontario, Canada. As a child I was full of energy. I was a budding entrepreneur at a very young age, pioneering kool-aid stands and selling anything I could get my hands on. As I began growing up I felt different than other kids. I felt out of place and awkward.

 When I was 9 years old my father died and our family was devastated. My mother remarried an alcoholic who was abusive in many ways. There was a lot of violence and turmoil in our home. It wasn’t always a happy place to live.

 At age nine I started sniffing glue to escape life. I became rebellious seeking attention through negative behavior. I started stealing, smoking, and acting the class clown in school. My stepfather, throughout my early teens, continually told me I was stupid and that I would never amount to anything. I hated him for many years but today I understand his addiction and I have forgiven him. If you want a better idea of the type of stepfather I had watch “This Boys Life” with Robert De Niro and Leonardo DiCaprio. This is the best example of the hate I lived through ever displayed on film.

 At the age of 15 I left home and began to make a series of bad choices that led to many years of misery. I moved into an environment that was littered with dangerous people, places and things. I began using harder drugs and committing even greater risks. I thought I was indestructible. I wanted people to like and accept me. I found a new home amongst individuals like myself.

 At the age of 17 I fell in love. I met a woman I thought I wanted to marry. Due to my ever-increasing drug problem we ended up apart. I became extremely depressed and suicidal. The drugs I was doing began to change into harder substances and different forms. I injected drugs for the first time when I was 17.

 In the next 7 years I slide down the slide of active drug addiction. My habit took me everywhere I had nightmares about. It stripped me of all human dignity and nearly kill me. In my early 20’s I found myself living on the streets of Vancouver hustling drugs to stay alive. I would not shower and I considered rent money better spent shooting drugs into my veins. I had done all that I said I wouldn’t and I had lost any semblance of human dignity or pride. I lived like an animal under bridges and in doorways. I was 100 pounds lighter than I am today and I was one day away from death.

 I never believed I could end up like I did. Through a series of lies that I bought into I behaved myself almost to death. I no longer had friends, I smelled really bad and getting thrown in jail was merciful at times. The drugs I was doing had such an insatiable appetite that all I could think of was getting high constantly. I lived a life of crime and existence. My family had lost touch with me and I was hopeless.

 In 1991 a miracle took place. I hit bottom for the last time and finally made an intelligent choice in my life. I moved back to Ontario with the help of my mother and entered a treatment center in eastern Ontario. I made the decision to clean up my life. Its not like I had many choices. I was either going to end up in prison, an insane asylum or dead. As part of the curriculum I was to attend 12 step meetings. These meetings are where I learned how to live and conduct my life without drugs. I still attend these meetings and strongly recommend anyone who thinks they have a problem to attend. The choices I made in those early spring days of 1991 ended up shaping and creating the man I am today.

 In January of 1992 I entered Loyalist College to become an addiction counselor. As the semester wore on I changed my major to business. In the spring of 1995 after three and a half years I graduated Loyalist with two college diplomas and an overall GPA of 3.92.  I won an award for academic excellence in my first year of marketing and graduated the top of my class for both courses. The worst part of my life was over.

Today I am an active member of my community, I quite smoking, started working out. I have been married for over 9 years and we have two children together. I have a successful business with great partners who believed in me even after I told them the truth. I have a complete pardon from the Canadian Federal Government and I am now allowed into the USA via a wavier status.   

 As a recovering addict I give back regularly to the fellowship of men and women who saved my life. I owe my life to the people who got clean before me and taught me how to live again. If you are clean today and giving back, you are my hero. If you are struggling I’ll be your friend. I want the world to know that my life’s mistakes were built on lies. You don’t have to go where I went or do what I did to understand that the enemy is in the deception of getting high itself.

This is why I tell folks…

“Don’t Buy the Lie about Getting High”!