Brad’s Story: “I decided to love myself.”

In and out of treatment and the rooms of recovery for over seven years, Brad felt like a fraud.

“I kept relapsing and was overdosing every month. I was high at meetings and lying about being clean,” shared Brad candidly.

Brad’s sponsor grew increasingly concerned for his health. A Fentanyl user, Brad risked death with each dose. Eventually, he agreed to attend Renascent Madison Avenue Centre.

“I went into treatment thinking I would just focus on that; and after I’ll go back home and try harder,” said Brad, whose marriage was struggling. “My wife at the time was fed-up.” 

While in treatment, Brad’s wife ended their marriage, asking him not to return home after his treatment was completed.

“When my wife explained herself, I thought about ending my life. I decided instead that I would try to be the best version of myself. So instead of kill myself, I decided to love and treat myself better,” said Brad. “I quit smoking; I started to workout, mediate, and complete my step-work.”

To get through the tough times Brad knew was ahead with his marriage officially ending, he leaned into his recovery. “I relied on my sponsor, my Higher Power, and completely surrendered to everything.”

Today, Brad is a different person with a very different lifestyle.  “Now, I am an actor, an amateur boxer, and am in the best shape of my life.”

To help fuel is recovery, Brad has experienced a mental shift. “I subscribe to this idea that there are three gyms – physical, mental, and spiritual. I exercise to keep my body fit; I meditate to feed my mind; and I keep my spirit fit with acts of service.”

Brad has been in recovery since October 2021, and currently has three sponsees. He recommends they do the following three things to support their recovery:

  • Keep an open communication with me as their sponsor, whether things are good or bad.
  • Keep-up with the step-work
  • Meditate – for the longest time I avoided meditation. I thought I was too smart for it. If you read the Steps (Step 11). Meditation is not a recommendation; it is a Step.

Brad appreciates that some people are intimidated by meditation or simply do not think it’s for them. His advice is to start slowly. “If I think of myself (my brain) as a person who has never gone to the gym before, I don’t expect myself to run a half-marathon in one shot. Instead, I say start meditating for five mins per day for 30 days, then increase it to 10 minutes and so on. I encourage people to explore and find what works for them with meditation – like you probably did with finding your Higher Power,” he said.

This summer, Brad will graduate from College as an Addictions and Community Service Worker. He is committed to helping others find and maintain their recovery. It’s a goal that Brad has been diligently working toward for almost two years. And he gives some credit for his transformation to his slow process of adopting change.

“Recovery is about changing our lives. If I make too many changes at once, I won’t be able to keep the change. There’s a quote, “Getting clean is easy, staying clean is hard,”’ says Brad. “It’s easy to make a change for a day, but it’s hard to make a change for life. I made the change at a time and pace that I was comfortable with. I started with stopping drugs, then meditating, then eating healthier foods. At each stage I added and added, and levelled up.”

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.