Andrea’s Story: Finding the “Real Me” Again

“I finally have my mom back.”

When her daughter spoke those words, Andrea knew she finally had her life back. It was a feat two decades in the making.

“I was in active addiction about 20 years,” she says, “and one day I woke up and just knew I needed to stop.”

Things had come to a head: plagued by devastating personal losses, a dysfunctional marriage, children who refused to speak to her and an attempted suicide, Andrea knew she’d had enough. Her drug use, which had begun as an escape from the grief of death and the devastation of miscarriage, had become so far out of control that she didn’t recognize herself.

“I was someone else,” Andrea recalls, “and I was just so tired of being that person. I hated her.”

Despite wanting change, however, when Andrea first arrived at Renascent she remembers feeling an intense fear. “I was terrified,” she shares. “My daughter and mother took me, and all the girls were so welcoming from the start. But I was so scared … I kept thinking ‘I don’t like people. I don’t want to be here.’ I wanted to go home, but my daughter told me I must go in. So I did.”

Once inside, Andrea began to open her mind. “I just immersed myself,” she says. “That first day, they told me I didn’t have to go to classes, but I did. I really focused on what was happening, on what people were saying. I’m so grateful to each and every person there for teaching me something I could use to build a new life.”

She also took time to reflect on her family. “Before, I hadn’t lost custody of my children, but I had certainly lost their respect,” Andrea explains. “My son said he didn’t want me to be his mom. My daughter told me if she ever had children, she didn’t want me to meet them.

It was heartbreaking.”

Following Renascent, Andrea began to repair her relationships with those closest to her. “My husband, who was also using, went into treatment shortly after me,” she shares, “and we’re both in recovery now. We’ve been married for 25 years and I feel like we’re on our honeymoon. We’re really included in every aspect of our children’s lives again. We’re making new memories.”

She’s also repairing her relationship with herself.

“I didn’t care about myself at all when I was using,” Andrea reflects. “It took me awhile to get there mentally, and I still need medication for my depression. But my days are very different. Instead of waking up looking for drugs, I look for my journal. I pray, meditate, exercise. I eat well. I make my bed. I do all the little things that help frame a new life without drugs.

People just look at me differently. After Renascent, my sister-in-law commented that she felt like she was ‘talking to the old Andrea’ again. Now people see me for who I really am.

Most importantly, I see me differently. And I’ll never go back to where I was.”

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.