It’s impossible to know by just looking, the number of twists and turns that make up a person’s recovery journey. This is true for Renascent’s own Giuseppe Mercuri. After nine overdoses and ten stints in treatment, this year Giuseppe is celebrating eight years in recovery and seven years as a Renascent addictions counsellor.
Giuseppe remembers all too well what life was like before recovery. “I wanted recovery but I wasn’t able to look deep within myself and get honest,” he shares. “I didn’t think I would make it but eventually I realized that I didn’t have to live this way.”
Giuseppe remembers a moment of clarity that came during one of his stays at Renascent Paul J. Sullivan Centre (Sullivan Centre). While sitting on the deck, he realized that he was “exactly where he needed to be.”
It was months later, Giuseppe decided to become an addictions counsellor after a Renascent client approached him at a BBQ at Sullivan Centre. The client asked for advice and in that moment, Giuseppe knew he wanted to take his career in a new direction.
Filled with determination, Giuseppe made a plan, committed, and executed it. Having only a Grade 6 education, he got a tutor to help him get the courses he needed to meet the college admission requirements. He attended college full-time for one year as an A-student and completed his placement at Sullivan Centre. Later on, he began volunteering there, before securing a full-time counselling role.
Giuseppe gives much of the credit for his recovery to his wife, Antoinette who stopped enabling his behaviour. Together for over 22 years, she has show Giuseppe unparalleled support. As a social worker, Antoinette had some knowledge about addiction. However, she also attended Renascent’s Family Program, which gave her a deeper understanding of Giuseppe’s condition and allowed her to process her own experiences through group counselling.
“Renascent’s Family Program educates people and children about stigma and helps break the cycle of addiction for future generations,” shares Giuseppe. “I’ve noticed changes in society lately, as more and more people are understanding that addiction is a disease.”
Every year, Antoinette and Giuseppe host friends, family, and members of the recovery community for a BBQ at their home to celebrate Giuseppe’s recovery. Antoinette cooks the family’s favourite dishes and the afternoon is spent in fellowship and celebration of the miracle of recovery. With eight years of recovery under his belt, Giuseppe is looking forward to year nine.
As an addiction counsellor in the same treatment centre in which he finally surrendered to recovery, Giuseppe has found a real purpose in helping others find their way. And even with many years of recovery under his belt, Giuseppe continues to ask for help from his sponsor, who is also an addictions counsellor.
“Every year I take new courses in addiction so that I can continue to enhance my potential,” said Giuseppe. “I work for Renascent and for God. At Sullivan, we work together as a team to help those who need us.”
Giuseppe shares a few nuggets that helped him early in recovery:
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help! There is a community of people in recovery that is eager to assist.
- The Big Book and Renascent taught me that you will go through challenges but you can live life on life’s terms.
- Don’t give up! We can go through many challenges in life and still maintain our recovery.
- Trauma go hand in hand with addiction. Drinking and drugging was not the problem, it is the solution. Unpacking the root cause of the addiction is an essential part of recovery.