Kara speaks very candidly about her life and addiction. Having used drugs since 13 years of age, Kara has lived with addiction for much of her life.
“Let’s be honest about it. I had gotten to a place where I was using drugs and alcohol daily and I couldn’t stop,” said Kara. “My boyfriend was going to leave me and if he didn’t push me to get help, I likely wouldn’t have gone to treatment. It was when I got to Renascent that I realized that I too wanted recovery for myself.”
At first, Kara was admitted to Renascent’s Graham Munro Treatment Centre, however a change in personal circumstances made her reconsider inpatient treatment, opting instead to participate in the organization’s newly launched Virtual Intensive Outpatient Program.
“When my financial situation changed, I decided to enroll in Renascent’s Virtual Intensive Outpatient Program instead so that I could have the flexibility to work,” said Kara. “The counsellors were very accommodating and I was easily able to transition to virtual treatment, which literally saved my life.”
In the early days of recovery, Kara experienced unthinkable trauma which resulted in a brief, but intense relapse. “I was dealing with financial stress and at the same time a close friend of mine died in her sleep,” explains Kara. “I ended up relapsing so badly and if it wasn’t for the Virtual Intensive Outpatient Program I don’t know what would have happened. They reached out to me and made me a priority, which helped me get me back on track.”
Kara has benefitted tremendously from the virtual six-week outpatient program, which provided structure, daily group counselling sessions, as well as access to Renascent’s Continuing Care and Alumni Care Programs, to support her long-term sobriety. The program launched in April 2020, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic to ensure there was continued access to intensive addiction treatment services, amidst growing demand.
“I loved it! The program kept me on a routine, which I needed,” said Kara. “The counsellors were great and provided lots of support. They also were open and honest about where they were in their own recovery, which helped me not feel alone.”
Life’s very different for Kara today. She has built a stronger relationship with her 14 year old son and has set her sights on new goals.
“I’m learning to love and do things for myself. I am a lot stronger than I used to be. I am working full-time now and going to school. I am hopefully starting university in January,” shares Kara. “I have goals now. I find value in helping others. I am a very different person from who I was a year ago.”
Having seen her life transform through recovery, Kara now uses humour and social media to share about addiction – building awareness of it, while challenging the stigma associated with it. Her posts are all in an effort to make the topic seem less daunting by inviting conversation. Her candid approach also aims to give hope to others living with the disease so they know they’re not alone and their struggles are shared by many.
When asked if there was a particular resource that helped her in recovery, Kara spoke about Russell Brand’s Recovery: Freedom for our Addictions.
“I’ve been on a spiritual journey for years and wasn’t able to grasp the concept of a higher power. It was hard for me to give up control. I was not sure what I believe and wasn’t sure what or who I would be giving up control to,” explains Kara. “I read Russel Brand’s book and it helped me come to terms with believing there is something more powerful than myself. In his book, Brand uses humour to talk about addiction and the 12 steps. Continuing to search for my Higher Power has provided many teachable moments too.”