Alumni Perspective: Me, My Son, and Family Day

My name is Jay, I’m an alcoholic and an addict. I’m an alumni of Renascent; I went through in 2013 and in 2015 — yeah, slow learner. But I’m here today just to share quickly with you about the family dynamic. Family Day is right around the corner here, and you know, when I was in active addiction, for many, many, many years, I hurt a lot of people. As many of us can identify with, that doesn’t just mean my partners, that doesn’t just mean my parents.

Quite honestly, I really, really hurt my children. My son, specifically, is a really big part of my story. He lived in fear; he was sucking his thumb and he was wetting his bed. He was having a real hard time at school and he was having a hard time with social relationships. He was struggling with a lot of aspects of his life. I realize that I had lost the power of choice but I did the best I could with what I had and with what I knew.

I found recovery through Renascent. I was introduced to a lot of different things and a lot of different tools. Eventually, I found my way into the programs and into the rooms, and into a power that I could my life and my will over to, and some steps that helped me grow and learn about myself. These things were beyond powerful to me. They were life-changing, game-changing, sensational, beautiful experiences. 

They would talk to me about how I was going to notice these promises they would talk about in step ten, that these promises would come true and other people would notice them in me long before I’d notice them in myself. And that may have been accurate, but the reality that I faced was that I noticed changes in my son long before anyone noticed changes in me. Organically, as I was recovering with the twelve steps and recovering from this hopeless state of mind and body, I watched him flourish! He thrived! He just blossomed, man! He started excelling at school. He started sleeping through the night. He started coming out of his shell. He became more affectionate and loving. As I recovered, I watched, miraculously, my son recover, organically, simply as a byproduct of me doing what I had to do to save my own life. Make no mistake, I was fighting for my life, and as I’m fighting for my life, my addiction is fighting for its life. It doesn’t like what I’m doing to it.

However my son, today, is the captain of his hockey team, and he started an outreach program. Two years prior to COVID he was going around collecting scarves and mitts and Tim Hortons cards, and we were going to downtown Toronto and doing some outreach. This was him, not me! I helped him facilitate, but this was him. So I wanted to share with you in this Family Day message that as bad as things can seem at some points in your active addiction or early recovery, as we recover, our families have a beautiful opportunity to recover as well, simply as a byproduct of us saving our own lives.

About the Authors

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