Ben Cox of Corner Brook makes a living selling his book door-to-door.
It doesn’t hurt that Cox’s story is true, timely and gut-wrenching.
Cox is a recovering drug addict. He didn’t smash windows or wear a mask to get his fix. He stole morphine, dilaudid and other drugs from a hospital in the Northwest Territories where he worked as an emergency room nurse.
Cox was born in London, Ont. He grew up in St. Anthony, NL. He graduated from Saint Francis Xavier University in 2005 with a bachelor of sceince in nursing and worked in various hospitals throughout Nova Scotia.
In 2008 he moved to the Northwest Territories. During his time working in the north Cox became addicted to narcotics. His crimes eventually caught up with him.
In February 2012 he was sentenced to 12 months house arrest followed by 12 months probation. He lost his nursing license. He ended his marriage. He attended a treatment program in Alberta.
But perhaps the most effective part of Cox’s recovery has been the book he wrote and self-published in 2012 (revised in 2014) “My Name is Ben and I’m a Nurse/Addict.”
Cox now lives in Corner Brook with his fiancé Angela Newman.
“I’m selling books, door-to-door, full-time, across the province ... We do one house at a time until the town is finished,” he said during a recent phone interview.
Reaching out to people in their homes has proven to Cox just how many people are affected by addiction.
“I see it,” he said of the province’s opioid crisis.
“They are the ones opening the door. They are the ones who aren’t talking about it. They don’t know how to ask for help. They then see me with the book, me on the cover using (drugs) with a stethoscope around my neck.”
While the picture on the book’s cover was staged, Cox’s story of addiction, conviction and loss is real. It’s a story other addicts can relate to.
“I don’t know who is going to open the door. They either shut it on me or they don’t ... I tell them my story and they tell me theirs. They are wondering how I got help ... I tell them, if you want help bad enough, you ask for it. Admitting you have a problem is the first step,” he said.
Cox sets a quota for the number of books he hopes to sell in each community.
Once he reaches that quota, he returns to Corner Brook and works to stay healthy.
“I go to the gym, I eat healthy, I walk my dog... And I take some time off to go visit my family in Nova Scotia.”
Cox’s parents, child and brother live in that province.
“They’ve been really supportive. I couldn’t do this without them. I always try to get back three times a year for a good visit with all of them. That means the world to me.”
Cox estimates he’s sold 15,000 copies of his book door-to-door.
He donates $1 from each book sold door-to-door and through his website (www.bencox.ca) to the Humber Community YMCA in Corner Brook.
Cox also gives presentations. Whether talking to students, health professionals or addicts, he keeps his story simple.
“I’m not preaching to anybody. I’m just telling the truth about what happened to me from start to finish,” he said.
Cox will be telling his story at the Garrick Theatre in Bonavista on March 20 beginning at 8 p.m. The event is sponsored by Prodigal Ministries in partnership with Tip-A-Vista's Mental Health and Addictions Awareness Committee.
“I feel like I got a fresh start when I came to Newfoundland in 2012. I haven’t really looked back. I feel safe here. I’m doing really good.”