(Minghui.org) The 25 th Toronto International Dragon Boat Race Festival was held from June 22 to 23 on Centre Island and drew close to 100,000 race participants and spectators. Local Falun Gong practitioners participated in the annual festival to let people know about the practice of Falun Gong and the persecution in China.

Among the practitioners was Daniel Friesen, 54.

When asked what it was like to practice Falun Gong, he replied, “To me, cultivation means every day is a new day.”

An alcoholic since the age of 16, Daniel got kicked out of his house by his wife in 2007 when he spiraled out of control. After he began to practice Falun Gong in 2011, he recovered from his addiction and got his life back. His wife welcomed him home and he reached out to repair his bruised relationship with his estranged parents.

In Daniel's words: “Falun Gong gave me a new lease on life and I want to share my story with more people.”

Daniel's Alcoholism Ends His Marriage

Daniel and his wife met in Vancouver and were drawn to each other due to their common interest in spiritual pursuits. They moved to Toronto in 1986, and Daniel did all the interior design and renovation to their newly purchased house. The first 26 years of their marriage were filled with happiness, yet were also witness to Daniel's gradual decline. Eventually he drank more and more and often lost his temper, barking and screaming at his wife all the time.

He said, “My wife is a classy, well-mannered person, and she couldn't stand it anymore. She felt there was no way to save our marriage and told me to pack up and leave in 2007. We separated for four years.”

He said that without his wife, he felt like his life was over.

The Epoch Times Leads Him to Falun Gong

Daniel found a new place to live close to his family home after the breakup with his wife. Every day he went to a nearby park to walk and drink.

A few years passed and Daniel thought to himself, “This shouldn't be the way I live my life, nor should it be the way I end my life. I have to pull myself together and do what I am supposed to do.”

As fate would have it, Daniel was given a copy of the English Epoch Times at the intersection of College and Yonge in 2010. The news and stories about China caught his attention, and he liked the paper.

A few days later Daniel was strolling in Chinatown when he saw a Falun Gong display. A practitioner gave him a DVD of the Nine Commentaries on the Communist Party in English. The video was almost seven hours long, but Daniel watched it all in one sitting. He found it unbelievable and wanted to find out more about Falun Gong.

Daniel managed to find the Tianti Bookstore, where he was given the phone number of an English-speaking practitioner. He was told that there was a group exercise site just one block away from his family home. He went, learned the exercises, and now does them every morning with other practitioners. Not long after, he bought a copy of Zhuan Falun.

Zhuan Falun Gives Daniel's Life Meaning

“I had read many books on cultivation and supernatural abilities in the past, but none of them seemed very clear. Reading Zhuan Falun was like someone turned on the lights": 'Wow, this is it! I've found answers!'”

It was April 2011 when Daniel began to cultivate Falun Gong in earnest.

Daniel said, “Even though the Western world also emphasizes self-reflection and meditation, our lifestyle is crazy. We buy a ton of stuff, only to throw it all away later. We never seriously contemplate the meaning of life: 'Who am I? Where am I going?' All we think is what we want to buy today or how to get famous. Falun Gong enabled me to understand the meaning of life.

“I also became calmer. In the past I had a lot of negative thoughts, and it was so easy for me to get angry. I often imagined possible conflicts and got into arguments all the time. Now I am able to calm down and listen to other people. My desire to drink and smoke is totally gone.”

Daniel admitted he wasn't able to quit drinking right away when he first started reading Zhuan Falun . Still, he saw significant improvement and only drank about once every two weeks. “I knew I shouldn't drink at all from reading Zhuan Falun , and I gradually stopped altogether. I've changed tremendously, and many people noticed that. Those who distanced themselves from me have now come back. I realized I'd completely rebuilt my shattered life.”

Husband and Wife Reunited

About four months into his cultivation, Daniel's wife noticed how he had changed and invited him back home. Daniel said, “She felt the changes in me were truly miraculous. We've rebuilt our relationship.”

“In the past it was my wife who was always able to look for her own problems when faced with conflicts, but never me. Now I am a very different person. I read Zhuan Falun and practice the exercises every day. I can feel my xinxing is improving by the day.”

Repairing His Relationship with His Estranged Parents

Born in Winnipeg, a city in western Canadian, Daniel had an unhappy childhood. His father was a schoolteacher and taught him when he was in the first and second grades.

Whenever Daniel did something wrong at school, his father would beat him in front of the class. At home, the elder Friesen would give his son another beating because he felt humiliated having to discipline his own child at school.

Daniel recalled what it was like in the past: “I lived with my father for 15 years, yet we never saw eye to eye. He couldn't accept my way of thinking, and I fought him constantly.”

After he began the practice of Falun Gong, however, Daniel realized it was a matter of karma between him and his parents.

He returned to Winnipeg to visit his parents, whom he hadn't spoken to for a long time. He told them he forgave them and that it was Falun Gong that changed him. He showed them the exercises and explained what the practice was about. Now he and his parents are friends.

Daniel is still amazed at how lucky he is, to have found his "way home" at the age of 52.

In his own words: “I now feel I am getting younger and younger with each passing day. Cultivation means every day is a brand new day.”