Alumni Perspective: Keeping Busy and Living as a Senior in Recovery

These days you’ll find Jim on the bike paths of Orillia. He heads out every morning for about an hour as part of his regular exercise routine. Just by looking, you’d never guess that just under two years ago the 71 year old was hospitalized due to his alcohol addiction.

“I drank all of my life,” says Jim. “It was normal for me to have a few beers a day in university and that habit continued throughout my career.”

A retired journalist, Jim explains that drinking was a part of the work culture. “Alcohol was always a part of my life. It never became a problem, but gradually it got to the point where I was drinking more than I should and I didn’t realize it.”

After Jim retired he began volunteering as a way to give back and keep busy, but after experiencing a debilitating back injury, he was no longer able participate in his regular activities. Gradually his drinking increased and it was his wife, Pat who sought the help Jim so desperately needed. Jim entered a detox facility and was later transferred to a hospital where he stayed for approximately three weeks.

“The hospital visit was a real wake-up call for me,” said Jim. “I was on an IV, catheter and was unable to walk. The doctor told me that I was really close to dying when I came in, so I knew that I had to change my life.”

After completing his hospital stay and regaining his strength, Jim became an inpatient at Renascent’s Sullivan Treatment Centre. “That was a great place to be,” said Jim. “I can’t say enough about the counsellors there. They were extremely helpful and provided much needed guidance as I started off on my path to sobriety.”

Following the counsellors’ advice, Jim made a concerted effort to keep busy and practice what he had learned in treatment when he returned home. However, a few months after leaving treatment, he relapsed. With the help of Renascent, the relapse was short lived and Jim was quickly able to return to sobriety.

Jim participated in Renascent’s After Care Program and now attends Alumni meetings regularly, in addition to other AA meetings.

“My advice to anyone who is retired is to keep busy. That’s why I bike ride once a day and attend AA meetings twice daily,” he says.

If you or someone you know is in need of help, please don’t hesitate to contact us. We’re here to help.

About the Authors

Renascent Staff
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.