I arrived at Punanai House in early February of 2020 after a 14-day detox at Ossington Detox and a short stay at CAMH in their CAITS program.
Upon entering I was greeted by a likeminded fellow who introduced himself and welcomed me
to what he described as a great place to be and get well. At the time I had no idea how right that statement was or how just stepping over that threshold would become the truly first step in the reclamation of my life.
During my stay I was introduced to a group of counsellors who can only be described as “second to none”. The healing and work, while sometimes emotionally painful, was delivered in a thoughtful, honest and at times almost paternal fashion, which allowed me to feel I had entered a safe nonjudgmental place where my physical, emotional and spiritual wellbeing, which were paramount to my recovery, would be guarded and protected by these men.
Renascent is not just a place to go and detox so a return to one’s previous life becomes possible. It is instead, a place where you go to examine your failings and through this process learn and acquire the tools to live a sober life that is better and healthier than anything I had experienced previously.
In my case it took years to learn and engrain the behaviours that led to my alcoholism and learning to change these behaviours and living a sober, honest and meaningful life would not come from my 28-day program. While a great start it for me was just the first step on this journey.
Before completing my inpatient alcohol abuse treatment program, I was fortunate enough to be gifted a bursary so that I could refine my gained knowledge by attending the Renascent Continuing Care program. Originally, these sessions were held at Punanai House under the stewardship of Steve Holt and David Elliot.
Then the pandemic changed all of that and so much more.
Being in early recovery is difficult at the best of times but then, introduce a global pandemic to the mix and it can become a toxic and dangerous place for anybody. However, to an alcoholic this is an even more treacherous place to be as without access to the fellowships that help beyond measure to keep one safe from harm, previous behaviours can find the small crack needed to fester in the mind and rain havoc with one’s thinking.
Fortunately for me, I was not left alone and have access to my counsellors and group as Renascent in general and Punanai specifically read the signs and jumped in with both feet to deliver our aftercare remotely. Not only through our Zoom meetings but also as needed, Steve Holt and David Elliot have made themselves available for one on one discussion as well as email and telephone communication.
As I approach completion of my 20-week Continuing Care aftercare program I know in my heart that without the help, knowledge and support of the Renascent team, I would be in a quite different place today.
As I continue this journey I do so with gratitude and hope, two things desperately lacking from my life for an awfully long time.
Knowing that the door at Punanai House is always open even if just for a chat and a catch up gives me a sense of calm, that along with the many friendships I have formed help keep me focused on a daily basis.
Please know that for me, Renascent is a place where lives are reinvented to be lived to the fullest in a sober, healthy and spiritual manner.
I Was Ready
I have been to Renascent a few times but I was only really ready the last time I went, which was February 12/2020. This time I was ready to listen. I am so grateful for the staff who are all in recovery themselves. I myself would recommend Renascent treatment centre to anybody who wants to give themselves a chance to get clean and sober. Once again I am very grateful to the house and staff. Thank you Renascent.
Nothing Like I Expected
When I went to Renascent I thought it would be a lot worse than what I experienced. I thought it would be hospital beds and people telling me what to do. It was not anything like that. It was the best experience of my life. It let me shut down and learn. It gave me freedom from fear. It gave me the tools I needed to plough through the world we live in now.
I am living a happy, well-balanced life
My addiction started when I was six years old, when my father gave me my first shot of moonshine to numb a toothache but forgot to tell me to spit it out. After that I got the taste for alcohol and was going around drinking leftovers from my mother’s party and trying to smoke the butts of the cigarettes that were still burning. Later on, my addiction took over my life and instead of taking care of myself and my family, I chose to drink and smoke crack. I ended up living in a bush for 3 years and collecting ODSP, which I spent on my addiction instead of looking for shelter. I was in and out of jail five times in the course of my life (if you want to call it a life), which made me angry and resentful. After trying treatment a couple of times I still was not ready to surrender myself to a sober life. It took nearly dying to come to reality about my drinking and smoking crack. That day on Feb 28,2014 I was committed to my recovery and my life has been blessed since then. I went to school to become a counsellor for addictions; that way I might be able to help people who are on the path of self destitution before it is too late. I am living a happy, well-balanced life now and enjoying my freedom from my addiction.
Alumni, February 2014
This Program Changed my Life
Three years ago I joined the Family Aftercare program Renascent House offers. This program changed my life. It gave me the tools that I used to get out of a co-dependant relationship I had with my oldest son. Through this program I was able to stand up for myself, to set boundaries and to move on to look after me without feeling so much guilt. It gave me tools that to this day I still use. I am forever grateful to this program.
After doing this program I had enough energy and belief that I moved on, I moved away and started to look after me. I stayed in touch with my sons, but constantly remembered the program and the tools, and learned to say NO when I had to. I had the opportunity to connect back with my dearest friend and spend 2 1/2 years with him, laughing, going to the park, and having picnics and sharing some amazing times, before he passed away.
To the people who assisted with this program and myself, to give me courage when I felt helpless, to give me laughter where I felt tears and strength where I felt weak, I thank you all.
Essential Family Care Program Alumni, 2016
Thank you for This Amazing Gift of Life
I never really felt as though people cared for me. For many years people have been dropping out of my life faster than the speed of light. The only people I had to care for me were those getting paid, sometimes in a legal sense but, more often than not, illegal. For the first time in a long time I feel like someone, with no attachments or price in mind, is caring for me and so much so that it is saving my life.
When I was 13 my mother had passed away, only 6 months after my sister died. This is when I first found alcohol. It became my everyday release, up until April 28, 2018! Not too long after I was introduced to alcohol I had found ecstasy. It was my joy of all joys! By the time I was 14, in 2009, my father had kicked me out and I was left to figure it out alone. I was at the awkward age where a shelter couldn’t even accept me, so I called Children’s Aid and begged for help. At this time I had been self harming, as it was the only way I knew how to handle my internal struggle. Every home I went to would send me off to the psychiatric wards, stating I was completely unlovable and definitely unfixable. But it was okay (in my mind) because I always had alcohol and that had always managed to make my worries disappear.
When I was 16, and finally allowed at the shelter, I finally felt at home, like I was no longer alone. Not long after, I became pregnant with a beautiful little boy. He had kept me pretty well sober up until he was born. Almost immediately I started drinking again and using cocaine on weekends when he wasn’t around. The chaos became too much and I asked the grandparents (on the father’s side) to watch him, as I knew I was unhealthy and would only end up dragging my son down with me if I had kept custody.
I had these few things I told myself (promised myself, actually) that I would never do: crack, crystal meth, heroin, and prostitution. Within 3 years I was doing all of that. And then I met this really wealthy man, whom I really thought I loved. He brought me anything but love. He almost killed me not once, twice, or even 3 times but rather every other weekend. So quite obviously my using progressed. This is when I started overdosing. I truly didn’t care if I lived or died. If I lived it was another change to get high and if I died at least the pain stopped. I was broken, hopeless, and completely alone. Up until about a month ago. Even filling out applications I didn’t really know what to think. This disease, of addiction, had my brain so distorted.
And then the phone call came. I was dope-sick, lying in bed, begging for something to change. I knew there wasn’t much time before this disease would take my life. So I answered the phone. “Hello, is this _____?” they asked. “Yes” I answered, very wary as to why Renascent had been calling. At this time I was told that they had received special donations to help a select few people who were in dire crisis. I was in shock, but something in me changed. I became hopeful and I was grateful. I was told that because of my high-risk situation, I was actually the first person they were calling. In that moment I finally felt important, cared for, and even a little loved. I felt like my life was worth living!
Because of you guys, you amazing, beautiful, caring souls, I’ve been given the gift of life. I’ve been given the first 42 days of my new life. I’m learning routine, I’m learning how to be around people and not isolate. I’m learning how to care for myself and better yet love myself, all over again.
I don’t know how I could ever express my gratitude to all you anonymous donors. You’ve given my son the chance to have his mother again, and the chance for my family to be proud rather than scared.
You have saved my life and there are no words that could ever show my gratitude. Thank you for this amazing gift of life.
Graham Munro Centre Alumni, April 2018
I Can’t Thank You Enough
I am sending this as a thank you for everything that you have done for me (and with me), everything you’ve put into my recovery and going above and beyond since my graduation from the house.
My life is getting better day by day and this feeling, for the first time in my life, is not related to my weight, my size or a diet I am following.
I have spent so many years missing out, hiding, isolating, being afraid to see people or participate “until I can eat normally ” or “until I lose weight”.
In the past two weeks, I have accepted invitations for 2 weekends away at cottages, one bbq, one wedding and I booked a trip out west to Banff to visit friends. I’ve sourced grocery stores in the areas and made hosts aware that I am preparing my own meals.
I started hiking again. Today I entertained guests, serving them mostly foods that are on the plan, as well as a couple of other items, which did not bother me in the least. No triggers. No uncomfortable feelings.
I am also in the process of booking a trip to Mexico for January. I haven’t been on a vacation in 7 years and I had not had any time off work in 3 years before my stay at Renascent.
I can’t thank you enough. I’d say you’ve given me my life back but it sort of feels like I’ve been given a new life altogether.
Graham Munro Centre Alumni, January 2018
I don’t know where I would be…
My partner was in the program in Whitby and many times I was told I should attend an Al-Anon meeting but my response was always “Why? I’m not the one with the problem; I don’t need recovery, he does.” Well, the day we checked him into the program again I was told “Maybe consider Al-Anon” and “had I thought about my own recovery…” Again, “I’M NOT SICK” however maybe people are seeing something I’m not, so I enrolled into the Family Program. At this point my life could not possibly get any worse and I was tired…
I never realized how sick and damaged I too had become until I enrolled in the Family Program. I spent so much time trying to help my alcoholic, and being new parents ,trying to make sure our new baby was healthy and cared for, I stopped helping and caring about myself. The only regret that I have is that I wasn’t able to attend the program in person due to travel and being a new parent. Still at times I feel very lost but I go to my meetings in my hometown and I become grounded again and realize I’m not alone. If it wasn’t for this program, when my alcoholic in recovery relapsed almost immediately after coming home from Whitby, and again after 17 months sober, I don’t know where I would be, so thank you Renascent for allowing me to find me again and giving me the tools to continue to push forward.
Family Care Program Alumni, 2017
Thank You, Renascent…
Renascent offered me a safe place in which I could learn to start living again. I had been in and out of multiple rehabs over the years and even had attempted Renascent a couple times and couldn’t ever seem to make it through the 28 days. It was on my third time through the house and a new rock bottom that I finally grasped the program and understood the benefits of Renascent: a strong community, a sisterhood of like-minded individuals, proper nutrition, group sessions (which were both educational AND applicable to real life situations), admirable & inspiring staff, and an excellent after-care program. I really appreciated how, over my 28 days, Renascent took us to AA meetings in the area which I felt really helped to introduce newcomers to the recovery community; I felt very integrated into AA so when I left the house I had already been familiarized with meetings and saw some friendly faces. I am clean and sober over 10 months now and still visit Renascent to say hello when I can… it feels like a home away from home and was where my life-changing journey of healing began!
This time last year I was homeless, hopeless, and dead inside. Thank you, Renascent…
If you are reading reviews for this place and are struggling I want you to know that this was the place where I finally stripped away the masks I wore and found my true self. This placed helped me to connect with fellows, friends & mentors, and guided me out from rock bottom and up into a state of peace, safety and serenity. The energy of the house and the heart within the community is there for us to connect with if we choose to. When I found within myself the need & desire for serious personal and spiritual growth, Renascent provided opportunity, encouragement, and an introduction to the rooms of AA.
Graham Munro Centre Alumni, 2017
Today, I know Peace
I came to Renascent as a client in December 2014 after an overdose and stayed four weeks, through Christmas and New Years, as I knew that I would likely not live through the holiday season without attending treatment. Those first few days in treatment were terrifying – I felt alone, directionless and despairing. By some miracle, I was able to settle in and seek guidance and wisdom from the counsellors at Graham Munro Centre. I committed myself to being honest in confronting my fears and reservations about embarking on this journey, as well as opening myself to the possibility that I was worthy of peace, joy and contentment.
While in treatment, I struggled to accept that at 24 years old, my addiction had become so severe that abstinence from all substances was necessary. I had not yet reached a point of full surrender, and despite this, I had the unwavering support of the counsellors I worked with. Knowing that the staff at Renascent had walked a similar journey before me planted a seed – one that has now grown beyond belief.
Recovery is not a walk in the park, but my life has flourished in ways I did not think I deserved. There are very few words that describe what I’ve experienced over the past year and a half of sobriety. While in treatment at Renascent, I was promised that recovery would offer me a new freedom and a new happiness, and that no matter the depths of my despair, my experience would benefit others. Today, I comprehend the word serenity in a way that language cannot describe. Today, I know peace.
Graham Munro Centre Alumni, January 2015
Every day is a new day
When entering Renascent I had many doubts: nobody knows how I feel, the struggles I have, I will never reach sobriety. The counsellors at Renascent did not read about addiction in a book, they too walked the journey to recovery and understood every step I went through, and were there to help me through my meltdowns, my doubts, and gave me the strength to continue into sobriety. Now eight months into recovery, every day is a new day. I just completed my aftercare through Renascent which has been such a great support; my counsellor Stacey is a godsend. Thank you Renascent for giving me the knowledge, strength and tools to continue my journey in sobriety and to help others along the way into recovery.
Graham Munro Centre Alumni, 2015
Continuing Care was Great
"Continuing Care was a great addition to my time spent a Renascent. It really helped to drive home everything we learned during treatment and gave an opportunity to talk about how to apply the principles of the program to real life situations. The transition from living in the treatment centre to living a day-to-day life was a lot more manageable having a connection to the program for months to follow.”
Paul J. Sullivan Centre Alumni, 2015
I highly recommend
The Continuing Care program was an excellent follow on to the time spent living at Renascent, to help transition to day-to-day life sober. It helped to have an experienced counsellor to talk with for guidance dealing with any challenges and to review all the tools we now have to remain on a path to sobriety. I highly recommend the Continuing Care program to anyone going through the program at Renascent.
Paul J. Sullivan Centre Alumni, December 2015
Simple yet powerful program
The simple yet powerful 21-day program was pivotal in my recovery. Prior to coming in to Renascent, I had tried to get sober for close to 4 years without continuity or success. Renascent showed me how to kickstart my path. The 12-step program was essential for learning how to live one day at a time. I am humbled and grateful to say that I have been sober ever since my time as Renascent. Forever thankful.
Graham Munro Centre Alumni, January 2012
I will be forever grateful
I went through Renascent in September 2007, and I am still clean and sober. I have a life now that I never dreamt possible. I can’t really put into words the impact it has had on my life: I didn’t get my life back, I got a whole new life.
I will be forever grateful for all I learned at Renascent and for the time the counsellors spent with me, trying to bring me back into the land of the living. I will never be able to pay you back but thank you from the bottom of my heart. I am sure my family is even happier they don’t have to deal with the old me anymore
Punanai Centre Alumni, September 2007
Renascent is in the service of caring for families.
Renascent is in the service of caring for families. All family members are affected by a loved one’s addiction, and at Renascent we recognize that need and are able to guide each family member into their own path of recovery. Dr. Robert Ackerman states that, “Addiction is not a spectator sport.” I agree, and I would also state that it is the same for recovery. In order for families to move out of addiction in the healthiest way, all families must become involved in the process of recovery.
The Lillian and Don Wright Family Health Centre
Renascent Changed my Life
In 1985 as my life was spinning out of control as a result of my ever-increasing addiction, I was referred to Renascent through a family member. At the time I felt it was the worst decision ever made, but by the end of my 28-day stay, I began to realize it was the best decision I would ever make. This past March, I celebrated 30 years of continued recovery and have worked in the addiction field as a counsellor for the past 25 years for Renascent, which has turned out to be the second best decision I have ever made. I will be forever grateful to Renascent for helping me change my life and the opportunity to be a part of the recovery of others.
Michel Robert, ICADC
The Family Program Changed my Life
To this day, there is not a shadow of a doubt that the Family Program changed my life and saved my life.
The counsellors at Renascent are world-class, and the best in the business in my opinion.
I had a lot to learn about being a family member — a mom of an adult child who was going through the inpatient program. I had to learn how to live again and not grip the table wondering when our son was going to relapse.
Six years later, as we continue as a family to practice what we learned, we are all thriving, happy, and healthy.
Our counsellor Heather said something to me one day in the early days that I think about every day:
“As long as we are working our program, the disease of alcoholism and addiction will have no power over us.”
It is those wise words that are practical and doable that help me LIVE my BEST life.
Essential Family Care Program Alumni
I’m still amazed
After drinking for 44 years, dying and desperate for help, I was lucky enough to be referred to Renascent for treatment. Like most of us addicts and alcoholics, I thought it was too late for me and the chances of success was indeed very limited. Wow! Was I ever wrong. Once I got to the house, it did not take long for my fear to dissipate, everyone was so welcoming and warm and the atmosphere was extremely soothing, I felt safe.
I followed the program, I did what I was told and once I was out, I used all the tools that were given to me and all the lessons that I had learned. The result? I have been clean and sober ever since, it will be 7 years in September. I’m still amazed when I say it out loud…lol!
Now here comes the best part of my journey: two months after I graduated from Renascent, my daughter had the courage to also seek help for her drug addiction and alcoholism. Same experience happened to her and she will also be clean and sober for 7 years. That is the best gift Renascent could ever have given me. My daughter’s life and a chance for us to have a future, a normal peaceful life. A chance for her to become a mother, a sober mother. A chance for me to become a grandmother, a sober, normal and loving grandmother. But Renascent did not stop there.
Recently, my ex-husband who had been so proud of my daughter and me for the past years, who is also an addict and alcoholic, who could not find the strength and the courage to follow our footsteps, finally gave up this life of chaos and drama and disease and went through Renascent as well. And they saved his life too. By doing so, our family is finally whole and reunited. He is clean and sober for the first time in 45 years; it’s amazing to watch him transform into the real man he is meant to be.
So ask me if I think the program at Renascent works, all I can say is a big loud YES! I mean three lives saved in just one family, how can you not have faith in this program? If you read this and wonder if this would work for you or one of your family member or a dear friend, wonder no more, Renascent is your best chance at success and a better life.
On behalf of my family and me, thank you so much Renascent and all the staff that helped us become who we are now (you know who you are, you saved us and I will be forever grateful.
Renascent showed me the path of having magnificent life.
I started drinking and using drugs at very young age. At the very beginning it was fun but the but after few years the fun was gone and without noticing I was drinking and using few time per week. I thought that is what young people do. After some years of trying to keep that lifestyle I became a daily drinker and user, however I was able to keep a job and a relationship and I used to think “I have the job and the girl, everything is fine.” I had to ignore some other little problems to keep my fake happiness alive.
In the blink of an eye my employer got tired of my frequent calling in sick and the girl left because of my lies, and on top of that, the little problems became realities I had to face: eviction notice from my landlord, collection agency calls for unpaid bills, suspended driver license, and the worst feeling of being away from my two kids from my first marriage.
But my blind mentality used to tell me it is just a bad luck or the world is against me and the idea of finishing my life was becoming more frequent.
Being immersed in all those problems and bad feelings I agreed to go to Renascent and in three weeks of treatment I found the solution to all my problems and a new lifestyle. I listen and follow their recommendations very closely and in a very short time I started to get my life back.
It has been five years of being clean and sober and I got everything back but multiplied by 10! I can’t believe how far I’m able to get because Renascent showed me the path of having magnificent life.
Today my kids are back, I’m married again expecting a new baby and working in a dream job.
Renascent is the best thing happen in my life and I will be grateful forever!!
Today I am Sober
The Continuing care program offered at Renascent was absolutely exceptional.
Steve H was a pillar of strength, positivity, and encouragement.Steve gave me the essential tools to extrapolate the deep root of my issues, fostering me, and was a huge part of re-structuring my life. In addition; I was taught to take a much more open-minded and mature approach toward facing my fears, anger, and life on life’s terms.
My life has changed more than I could have ever imagined, as doors keep opening up for me as the promises state in the Big Book. My valiant efforts and working this program have given me the ability to create a new architectural pattern of living.
Today I am sober, and have the love of my family. I am living proof that this program works, and that is enough.
Words cannot express how thankful I am for the program, and to the counsellors, especially Steve H, and John B.
With perpetual gratitude.