Be More Than All Talk — 7 Easy Ways To Be An Action Hero!

Be More Than All Talk — 7 Easy Ways To Be An Action Hero!

Bell Let’s Talk Day is coming up, and all we can think about is action! Opening up the conversation about mental health is important, of course, but in the work Team Renascent does we know that recovery is more than just talk: it’s about action.

Taking action in support of mental health and addictions can make sure that someone else is able to reach the recovery you have found, and it’s also a fulfilling way to keep your own recovery on track.

Here are just a few ideas for how you can be action hero this coming week:

1. Sign up as an alumni contact.

Our alumni contacts bridge that daunting gap between leaving treatment and achieving stable recovery at home. As an alumni contact, you will be put in touch with someone leaving treatment who lives in your community. You’ll meet them, take them to a local meeting, introduce them to program contacts, and generally help them find their footing in your area’s recovery community. It’s an important job and an amazing way to give back.

2. Become one of Renascent’s monthly donors.

Our monthly donors can choose exactly how much they give every month, so if $9 a month works for you, great! When you give the gift of recovery, you help us keep our promise of never turning anyone away from drug and alcohol addiction treatment because of money. Over the course of a year, your monthly donations will accumulate into an impressive annual gift, and you’ll get a tax receipt for the full amount.

3. Go to an alumni meeting.

When you go back to the house where you found recovery, you’re not only giving yourself an amazing reminder of how far you’ve come, you’re also showing everyone currently in treatment what’s up ahead. If you aren’t feeling like a shining example of recovery this week, go anyway. When you share your struggles, hope, and experience, you’re doing everyone a favour.

4. Review us on Facebook and/or Google.

When you let others know how and where you found recovery, you’re helping them find it for themselves. This is probably the easiest way to spread the word! On Facebook, go to facebook.com/RenascentCanada and click on “Recommend” to share your experience. (While you’re there, “Like” us to connect with the Renascent community and get resources, support, etc.) On Google, search for your house (Munro, Punanai, Sullivan, or Wright) and on the results page, you’ll see an option on the right hand side to write a review.  

5. Go to a meeting and introduce yourself to a newcomer.

Remember your first meeting? How nervous you were? How weird everything felt? A friendly face saying “hey” can be the difference between running out the door and never looking back, or coming back next week and finding a supportive community for life.

6. Volunteer.

Being of service is a key factor of long-term recovery — you’ve got to give it to get it! Whatever you’re good at, from gardening to computers, there’s a charity or non-profit organization who could use your help. (We might even have some opportunities for volunteers at our suite during the upcoming ORC.) Apply to be a volunteer today!

7. Email your MP and/or MPP.

Members of Parliament and Provincial Parliament are responsible to you. If you think more government money should go toward funding addiction treatment programs, let them know! They work for you, and need to hear from you to know what their constituents care about.

Now celebrate your action hero status with a little dance party!

The staff at Renascent is passionate about helping people with substance addictions so they can reach their full recovery – with compassion, respect, empathy and understanding. Our staff includes our counsellors, all of whom have lived experience of addiction and recovery.

Recovery in TV and Film

Recovery in TV and Film

As winter drags on, aren’t we all finding ourselves spending more hours in front of the TV? And while you’re there, have you been noticing all the addiction and recovery storylines? Without revealing any spoilers, the shows This Is Us and Teen Mom are both featuring addiction and recovery storylines right now, and this weekend also marks 10 years since the premiere of the infamous Breaking Bad — not exactly a show about recovery, but there was a meeting!

On the reality side of things, there’s Russell Brand’s documentary, From Addiction to Recovery, in which he explores his addiction, reveals how the program has saved his life, and how his relationship with Amy Winehouse spurred his campaign to have addiction recognized and treated as a disorder in the UK. (Warning: adult language and subject matter!)

Click here to watch the full documentary.

The sitcom “Mom” features a mother and daughter (played by Anna Faris and Allison Janney), both of whom are in recovery:

Watch the latest episodes of Mom here.

Recovery Road only got one season, but was widely regarded as a fair and accurate depiction:

“Usually when a character struggles with drugs or alcohol or a combination of the two, they dabble, they spiral, they hit rock bottom, and they ask for help. The story tends to fade to black there, never showing the hard work that goes into being sober. It’s at that point where Recovery Road begins…
It sounds like the stuff of a classic Afterschool Special, but when Maddie faces expulsion or rehab, viewers get to see something rarely shown on television – even less so on teen TV – the real work of recovery.”

Keep reading Recovery Road: finally a TV show about addiction that focuses on recovery

Watch first episode at the bottom of this article.

 

So go ahead, curl up on the couch this weekend, and let us know what you think of these shows!

The staff at Renascent is passionate about helping people with substance addictions so they can reach their full recovery – with compassion, respect, empathy and understanding. Our staff includes our counsellors, all of whom have lived experience of addiction and recovery.

How to Let Go of Resentment

How to Let Go of Resentment

Learning how to let go of resentment can be a real struggle.

Many people struggling come into alcohol or drug addiction treatment with some apprehension:

What will it be like to live without the drug of choice?

What will it be like to attend meetings, participate in therapy sessions, live with other recovering addicts?

What about all the baffling recovery jargon and challenging new ideas to embrace?

It’s a good thing most newcomers aren’t confronted with Step 4 right away, or they just might run!

Of course, by the time they reach Step 4 in the 12-step program, most recovering addicts no longer feel that way.

Often there is a feeling of excitement at doing the ‘fearless moral inventory’ and finally getting our life story off our chests.

There is the desire for absolute honesty as we enumerate the people, places and things that have made us angry, afraid and hurt throughout our lives.

Then we are told that we can’t afford to hold resentment against any of them.

What now?

What is Resentment?

Recovery may be the first time we really considered the word ‘resentment’.

After years of numbing out with various substances, we seemed capable of only the most basic emotions: pain, anger, fear.

Yet resentment is distinct from anger: it refers to re-sensing something, repetitively replaying negative events and feelings in our mind such that they consume us.

Although resentment allows us to recall something as freshly as though it happened yesterday, resentment often involves more than a single incident; years of frustration and unresolved issues could be behind it, both with the person involved and with others.

When reliving painful events and feelings, we often feel powerful, as justified anger surges through us; but underneath we know we are helpless, because the offenses lie in the past, where nothing can be changed or undone.

Resentment is More Than Just a Choice Not to Forgive

How many times have we heard the words ‘let it go’, even before we came into recovery?

As if it were that easy!

Many, if not most, recovering addicts and alcoholics have experienced trauma at one point or another in their lives, often in childhood where the wounds are the deepest.

It’s a little trite to urge someone who survived severe childhood abuse to simply ‘let bygones be bygones’; we wouldn’t tell someone bleeding from a head wound to just ‘stop letting that rent space in your head’.

Yet, resentments are dangerous to the recovering addict’s sobriety and peace of mind, and must be dealt with somehow.

Steps to Letting Go of Resentment

While letting go of resentment is an ongoing process, as new resentments will naturally develop throughout our lifetime, much of the excavation can be begun in the Step 4 process.

Here are some steps to letting go:

  1. Honour the resentment. Don’t let anybody tell you it didn’t happen or it wasn’t important; while we can’t fully trust our addicted thinking, nor are we completely delusional. People have hurt us, it is the human condition. Acknowledge that you were hurt and take the time to journal, without mincing words, how it felt to be hurt, and how it still feels.

 

  1. Understand that justice will not come from holding the resentment. As much as we might feel an apology or restitution is owed, can we accept that it will never come…and that even so, we will be loved and happy?

 

  1. Believe that with releasing resentment, comes freedom. As the metaphorical ‘jailor’ of the people you resent, you are with them at all times, even in your sleep. Believe it is possible to stop letting them control you and re-injure you over and over: the power lies with you to throw away the key and walk away.

 

  1. Commit to stop ruminating about the resentment. This may involve other steps, such as a ceremonial burning of your 4th step inventory sheets, prayers, or cognitive behavioural techniques to break resentment’s addictive hold on you.

If all else fails, make amends. Admitting your own wrongs and trying to set matters straight will give you more compassion for yourself and all mankind…and let you give yourself a break from resentment.

The staff at Renascent is passionate about helping people with substance addictions so they can reach their full recovery – with compassion, respect, empathy and understanding. Our staff includes our counsellors, all of whom have lived experience of addiction and recovery.

How to Deal with an Alcoholic Employee

How to Deal with an Alcoholic Employee

Have you ever asked yourself how to deal with an alcoholic employee?

Before reading on, watch this…

Despite stereotypes of alcoholics and addicts as being unemployable, alcohol and drug dependence is surprisingly rampant in the workplace.

Said to affect an estimated 10 to 15 percent of the Canadian population, how could it be otherwise when the unemployment rate is half that!

That means you are likely at some point in your entrepreneurial or management career, to have to dealt with an alcoholic employee.

Perhaps you already are.

What Alcoholism Is And What It Is Not: The Abridged Version

Alcoholism is a disease with genetic, psychological, and environmental facets.

Without treatment, alcoholism can be fatal.

It’s far more than a behavioural or work ethic issue! Of course, a person struggling with alcoholism is not going to give you their best at work, but it’s important to recognize that they are struggling with what is characterized as a mental disorder, rather than merely acting irresponsibly.

The lack of control a drug dependent person has over their behaviour and their distorted thinking and actions, even in the face of negative consequences, is what characterizes the disease.

In the workplace, alcohol and drug abuse can cause:

 

  • Lost productivity
  • Health care costs
  • Absenteeism
  • On-the-job injuries
  • Poor judgment
  • Lost revenues

 

In order to break the cycle, supervisors, managers and HR personnel need to know about alcoholism, recognize it when they see it, and support the employee in getting treatment.

Your Concerns as An Employer of an Alcoholic Are Legitimate

While most, if not all, employers take the attitude that what an employee does on their time is their business, when it comes to alcoholism and drug dependence, there is usually overlap between personal time and work time.

Eventually, if left unchecked, an alcohol or drug habit will affect the employee’s ability to come to work, perform his or her duties, follow safety protocols, and maintain a professional code of conduct. Action can and should be taken.

Remember to keep these points in mind:

  • Your role is to appraise employee performance, not to pass judgment or diagnose someone with a drug problem.
  • You can and should take disciplinary action related to problems with performance and conduct, just as you would with any other employee.
  • You can and should refer employees to your agency’s Employee Assistance Program (EAP) to get the help they need.

It is key to remember that all discussions with the alcoholic employee should come back to performance based issues, irrespective of the addiction.

You don’t have to disclose your suspicions about an alcohol problem.

Conversely, if the employee is open about being alcoholic, you still need to hold them accountable based on behaviour.

Make the alcoholic aware of company policies and how they have been violated. Make it clear that he or she must improve performance and conduct, or face serious consequences, including termination.

Make Employee Alcoholism Help Available

Of course, since alcoholism is a disease, you can’t simply deliver an employee the ultimatum to shape up or ship out without providing assistance.

The best option is to refer the employee to your Employee Assistance Program, which can offer assessment, counselling and referral services to those struggling with all kinds of problems, including drug abuse.

The EAP will also monitor your employee’s progress and set up defined structures for him or her to follow.

With permission of the employee, they’ll also keep you apprised of how the employee is responding to treatment and provide follow up care.

If you’re not sure how to initially address your concerns, speak with your company’s EAP representative first; they are there to help. But not every company has an EAP.

Please feel free to contact us should you be concerned for a staff member or fellow employee. Our programs have helped people struggling with addiction regain their good standing in the workplace for over 40 years.

The staff at Renascent is passionate about helping people with substance addictions so they can reach their full recovery – with compassion, respect, empathy and understanding. Our staff includes our counsellors, all of whom have lived experience of addiction and recovery.

Video: You Gotta Have Faith

Whether you’re looking for a well-deserved Friday dance break or a tune to remind you to be “a strong man baby” and “wait for something more,” here’s some George (RIP) to kick off the weekend.

The staff at Renascent is passionate about helping people with substance addictions so they can reach their full recovery – with compassion, respect, empathy and understanding. Our staff includes our counsellors, all of whom have lived experience of addiction and recovery.

Alumni Perspective: No Recovering Addict is an Island

Alumni Perspective: No Recovering Addict is an Island

by Tim (Sullivan)

“And then my obsession to drink was lifted.” I’ve been in program for a couple of years now and have heard this said on a number of occasions by different people. I don’t question anyone who says it, but I do know that it hasn’t happened to me, at least not yet. When I was in Sullivan, I remember watching the movie My Name Is Bill W. and there’s that scene where Bill is in a hospital bed and a bright light comes over him, which I take to be his higher power. I assumed this was some sort of Hollywood special effects magic, but the scene wouldn’t have been included if it didn’t happen to him. Quite frankly, seeing it upset me because it’s an experience I have not yet had.

I recently re-watched the movie one night at home and came to that scene again and had the same reaction, but rather than turning it off, I hung in there and came to the part in the movie where Bill was on the road for work, staying in a hotel, and as he was killing some time he kept looking over to the hotel bar. (Watch the scene here.) This part I could identify with, since I spend a lot of time on the road for work and almost every hotel has some sort of bar or lounge. It’s what happened next that really struck a chord with me: Bill got a bunch of coins at the bar and started making phone calls from the hotel lobby, working his way through a list of local churches until one of them put him in touch with Dr. Bob, and the rest, as they say, is AA history.

This is where I came to believe that the AA program is about action. Bill took action when he found himself on shaky ground by finding people to call until he was able to talk to another alcoholic. This is the most important part of the program to me.

When I find myself questioning things, wondering if sobriety is worth it, and contemplating whether I can actually have that magical “just one,” it always comes back to grabbing my phone and reaching out to the people in my group, my sponsor, or anyone else I can share that moment with, in order to not take that first drink.  

Most of the open meetings that I’ve been to have had a segment where someone stands up and gives their interpretation of the slogans that are posted in the room. This is a favourite time of the meeting for me because even though many of the slogans are often the same between groups, people often put a unique spin on them. I do my best to concentrate on what is being said for each slogan, and try to apply them to my life on a regular basis. I’ve got to say that the one slogan that ties the whole program together for me doesn’t come from the AA program. I actually heard it as part of a radio commercial: “If you could do it alone, you’d have done it already.”

This program is not about just me, but is about a group of people working together to get through our shared disease. The more I think of this as a “we” program as opposed to a “me” situation, the more I achieve that moment of contentment and serenity that I longed to experience while I was drinking. Being able to go from saying “I need help!” to “Can I help?” has been the greatest transition I’ve experienced since entering the program, and it I has come from reaching out and taking action. The magic is there, but you’ve got to work for it.

 

Members of Renascent’s alumni community carry the message by sharing their experiences and perspectives on addiction and recovery. To contribute your alumni perspective, please email alumni@renascent.ca.