When she first arrived at Renascent, Emily immediately knew it was different.
“Renascent wasn’t my ‘first rodeo’ in seeking help,” she explains. “I’ve had issues with alcohol for over ten years, and I’ve been in the hospital, been in detox, been in another treatment centre.” While each experience was slightly different, however, they had all felt impersonal and sterile. “In other places the staff, although well-meaning and qualified, talked to my parents about me rather than to me directly,” she recalls.
“At Renascent, as soon as I got on that porch a counsellor pulled me aside and asked me how I was.
I wasn’t just sitting there waiting for someone to lead me somewhere – they approached me and took my hand.”
When she stepped inside, the environment was also markedly different. “It was so homey,” Emily shares. “At first, it kind of felt like a hotel. The bed had nice sheets, and the people were welcoming and friendly.”
Ironically, Emily’s addiction journey had begun far from home. In college, she found herself away from her large, loving family for the first time. Feeling the combined pressures of school, work and loneliness, she experimented with drinking. “I’d never really imbibed before,” she recalls, “and alcohol in that environment was so glorified. It was presented as the way you socialized.”
Over time, however, Emily’s relationship with the substance became problematic. “I started spiralling,” she shares. “Alcohol became a coping mechanism and, eventually, the first thing I’d think about. I began fainting or shaking, and I’d blame it on low blood sugar so I could go to the hospital to sober up. Then I’d start all over again, and the cycle would continue.”
During Emily’s last visit to the hospital, her mother learned that Renascent counsellors were also in recovery themselves. The departure from being treated as a “patient” was appealing, and Emily appreciated the chance to work with someone who had experienced addiction firsthand. Her intuition and hard work paid off – Emily hasn’t had a drop of alcohol since she began treatment at Renascent.
“I now have a whole new life,” she says. “In addiction, I would count down the minutes until my next drink. And when you’re ingesting something to numb yourself, it really damages your confidence. Now everything is different: I can think clearly, and I have the confidence to be myself and love myself, which is new. I haven’t been clean this long since I was 19.”
These days, Emily wakes up early and spends her time outdoors. She has a job, an apartment and a car, as well as a rich life filled with hobbies, friends and family.
“When I was drinking, all of these things seemed completely out of reach,” she says. “Today, I have full days and I remember everything. I’m creating, reading, imagining. I painted a sign in my home that says ‘One day at a time,’ and I look at it frequently.
I am so blessed to be in recovery, and so grateful to have found Renascent. Addiction in itself is very isolating, but when I came into that house, I found my community.
I would not be here without it.”