For as long as he could remember, Jimmy was a high achiever. It was his passion for excellence and accomplishment that helped him become a decorated college athlete.
One of his crowning achievements was helping his university football team bring home the Vanier Cup (Canadian university football championship title) in 2017. The following year, minor knee surgery would temporarily sideline many of the plans Jimmy had for his life.
“I was prescribed Percocet after my knee surgery. I was ignorant, and it all went downhill from there,” shares Jimmy candidly. In the three to four years that followed, Jimmy’ addiction progressed to stronger pain medication. A wake-up call came one day when he had a near-lethal overdose.
“A few months later, I decided I had enough. I started researching addiction treatment and called Renascent,” shared Jimmy.
Looking back, Jimmy knows that stigma played a role in his decision not to seek help earlier.
“I was outwardly keeping my life together. I had become out of shape and unmotivated, but I wasn’t living on the street and not everyone knew about my addiction,” says Jimmy. “I like to solve my own problems and to admit that I needed help was a daunting task for me; but that’s what it took.”
At Renascent, Jimmy began to work on himself.
“I came into treatment with an open mind. I dove into the teachings and aimed to be responsible,” shares Jimmy. “The first few days were uncomfortable. My ‘rock bottom’ was different from many of the other clients – most came different circumstances. In learning about the philosophy and ideology of recovery I came to understand that the feeling of ‘rock bottom’ is the same for everyone, even though their circumstances are different.”
Recovery has changed Jimmy’ life.
“To go through detox and treatment, and observe how much my thoughts changed and the vibrancy I gained for life, was incredible,” says Jimmy. “I was not the person I thought I had become in addiction. I started to be myself again; I became driven and started to have new goals.”
Now on the cusp of two years of recovery, Jimmy has a perspective on his experiences that he didn’t think he would ever have.
“My recovery is a point of pride. To really evolve as a person and to level-up, you have to endure some things,” says Jimmy. “The opioid statistics were against me. It is a source of pride that I can be down in such a bad way and dig myself out.”
For people who are considering going to addiction treatment, Jimmy says the experience is invaluable. “Being able to speak to counsellors and draw from their knowledge and experience is like having the wind in your sail; it’s very important,” said Jimmy. “The staff at Renascent – being in recovery themselves – are so understanding and are just great people.
I feel like I have been lucky – people talk about recovery being hard. I don’t think about it now. Every day used to be so difficult when I was in addiction. Life is so much easier in recovery.”
When asked what advice he has for people who are new to recovery, Jimmy’ recommendation is simple but poignant. “Even when everything is going well in your life, you need to do the things that support your recovery. Neglecting the small things will lead to bigger issues.”