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Adrien Doucette perseveres, publishes autobiography

Throughout the course of his life, Adrien Doucette has lived in multiple provinces, been involved with different communities, watched the world of psychiatric medicine evolve, and played music for those who needed to hear it. After twenty years of working on his autobiography on and off, he is launching his book, Times to Remember, on February 11 at the Marché Artisanal d’Ormstown.

Though he’s always been a natural storyteller, it was Doucette’s friends who pushed him to put his stories to paper. “I was poked at a few times by friends and family who would tell me I needed to write it down and that my stories were great stories,” he says. Doucette has been working on this book for over two decades, writing it in pieces over time; “I procrastinated for 20 years … Sometimes I’d go a year without doing anything on it.” When he was dealing with a particularly bad bout of writer’s block, one of his friends helped him crack the code. “I was stuck a couple times, like really stuck, and someone asked me why I didn’t write it in sequence, like memoirs. And then, all of a sudden, things start falling together.”

The book tells stories starting from the time Doucette was growing up in Prince Edward Island until the time he retired. “Prince Edward Island is a beautiful island, but we were stuck in a spot where there was nothing, and I mean nothing… I moved to Nova Scotia and I couldn’t speak Engish, only French, but I learned English very, very quickly.” He attended school in Nova Scotia but didn’t love the education system, claiming that his education only really started once he left school. He then moved to Ontario, then back to Nova Scotia, before settling in Quebec in 1967.


Adrien Doucette has been heavily involved in the music scene in the Valley and has had an interesting journey over the decades hes been in Quebec PHOTO provided


“I came at a time where you’d walk down St. Catherine Street and you were shoulder-to-shoulder; it was hard to believe where you were. It was exciting if you were there in ‘67; it was the flower-power days with hippies and music,” Doucette explains. When he came to Quebec, he took a course in nursing and found his passion working as a nurse at the Douglas psychiatric hospital. His career spanned 34 years and he witnessed massive amounts of change while there. “We went from a 1600-bed hospital to, when I left, a 300-bed hospital. I came at a time when psychiatric hospitals were changing quickly. Everything was locked up before, but now units were open, and bars were taken off the windows.” He loved working at the Douglas and the people he met during his time. Much of his book describes this.

Doucette hopes that the message folks take away from the book is that you should never give up. “If there was a message in my book, I would say that it’s ‘Don’t give up!’ No matter how bleak and hard things are, there is a way out. And I think I found my way out.” About his own life, he says, “It was a long haul. It wasn’t easy. I worked for everything I finally achieved, and I had to work hard for it.” He hopes that this message of perseverance comes through to his readers.

Throughout his time in the Valley, Doucette has also been a huge part of the music scene. He was one of the original organizers of the Branches and Roots music festival in the Valley. He still performs, but less frequently than he has in the past. “I’ve been playing for the less fortunate since 1967 and I still do. I play in the Huntingdon hospital once per month. I don’t do gigs anymore; that pretty much stopped since COVID.” He and a friend, Danny Bloom, also founded ADDA Music Works, an organization that worked to book gigs for local musicians and raise money for music education. At each of those shows, donations were collected which were used to pay for students from CVR, Heritage Elementary, and Ormstown Elementary to take music lessons – kids who would not have otherwise been able to afford such classes. Doucette and Bloom raised more than 7000$ with this initiative.

After some struggles getting the book printed it is finally ready to be read. Doucette is excited to announce the book launch, which will be taking place on February 11 at 10:30 a.m. The launch itself will be a simple event without bells and whistles, a place for people to come together and celebrate. His hope is that his book resonates with many members of the different communities Doucette has been a part of over the years. If you are interested in reading Times to Remember, it is now available on Amazon.

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