Colleen’s Story: Recovery and Finding Forgiveness

Forgiveness has been an integral part of Colleen’s recovery. With her life’s story punctuated by traumatic experiences, Colleen is thrilled to have surpassed her one-year recovery milestone.

“It feels incredible to be at this point in my journey,” she shares.

Gaining continuous sobriety has not been without its struggles. Having experienced various types of abuse from a young age, giving birth to her daughter at 14, living with chronic pain, and now getting closer to a mental health diagnosis, Colleen has had to dig deep to forgive others and herself.

“It takes time to forgive. You have to know that time will help you heal,” says Colleen. “You have to understand that everyone is human and makes mistakes. That is not a reflection of you, but them. The kinder thoughts you have about those that hurt you, the better you feel about them. When you have hateful thoughts, you are poisoning yourself. Even though they hurt you, you can forgive them.”

Colleen admits that her journey of forgiveness is continuous. She makes it a habit to pray for those who have hurt her, even though they may not be a part of her life. This is a practice that helps her maintain her recovery.

Having attended treatment twice – the second time through Renascent’s Virtual Intensive Treatment Program – Colleen often uses the tools and skills that she acquired through the program to help her manage life’s challenges, today.

This was not always the case. Even while attending Virtual Intensive Treatment at Renascent, Colleen struggled with alcohol use. Finally, ending her relationship with an abusive partner further opened the door to recovery for Colleen.

“I wanted to improve myself and I wanted to be sober. After that relationship ended, I got serious about recovery.”

This was after spending over a decade struggling with addiction.

“I noticed at 17 that I had a problem. When my drinking was at its worst, I was jaundiced, as my liver was starting to fail,” recalls Colleen. “I had a really bad fall and I could really walk. The doctor sent me to detox. I was 32 at the time, but even before that, I knew I needed treatment. I could see the changes in my health which continued to get worse.”

As someone who spends most of her day trying to manage chronic pain, today, Colleen’s life is very different from the one she lived before recovery.

“My daughter is the main part of my life. I am also of service and I take care of my animals. I am outdoor when the weather is nice with my dog and friends. I try to find friends that do not use substances. I am constantly learning on the internet so that keeps me busy. I massage myself all day so that I don’t relapse due to the pain.”

Colleen has words of advice for people who are struggling to obtain recovery. “Never Give Up. Even when you feel like the world is going to end and you are going to die,” she says. “There is a reason why we are going through all of this – maybe it is so that we can tell our story or help other people. I want to continue to recover, so I can change the world and make it a better place. It starts with cleaning up your own bedroom.”

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.