Jon’s Story: Rekindling Your Passion for Meetings

Jon first walked through the doors of Renascent Paul J. Sullivan Centre in 2004. These days, he returns regularly, attending alumni meetings with his son, who is a Renascent alumnus and chairs the Sullivan Centre alumni meetings.

“An amazing change occurred in the last couple of months,” says Jon, referring to the impact of returning to in-person alumni meetings at Sullivan Centre with his son. In supporting his son’s recovery, Jon’s passion for Twelve Step meetings has been reignited, further fueling his own recovery.

More than two decades prior, Jon’s life was vastly different.

“When my ex-wife was pregnant, she quit drinking and noticed my drinking was out of control,” shared Jon candidly. What followed was an ultimatum; Jon’s ex-wife asked him to stop drinking or their marriage would end.

“I was so mixed up in my thinking, resentment and anger. I left and continued drinking until I hit a bad rock bottom in 2004,” said Jon. “I went to detox and that was the first time in a long time that I was sober for more than one day.”

At the withdrawal management centre, Jon learned about his options for longer-term recovery. This included inpatient addiction treatment and staying at a sober living residence.

“The truth is I had more than an alcohol problem. I had a drug and alcohol problem. I would have been happy at that point just to go to sleep and never wake up,” shared Jon. “I was so sick of being sick, so I had the willingness to attend treatment and went to Renascent. That was the best thing that ever happened to me.”

After treatment, Jon resided in sober living residences for about a year, as he steadied himself in early recovery. He found a sponsor – who is the same sponsor he has today – and diligently worked a program of recovery. When Jon and his ex-wife discovered that their son was struggling with addiction, Jon knew the path to recovery that his son should take. It was a path that included Renascent.

These days, every second and fourth Tuesday of each month, Jon and his son carpool to alumni meetings at Sullivan Centre.  It is a reciprocal show of support which has fostered a deeper connection to the Twelve Step community for Jon.

Jon, who already attends multiple meetings per week, was inspired this summer to join a few friends in starting a new group in the Danforth area.

“I thought I would never have my life back. I’ve been so rewarded with my life, my family, and work,” shared Jon about the fulfillment that recovery brings. “I’ve even had the privilege of being honoured with an Emmy through my work.”

For those who are early in their recovery, Jon has the following advice:

  • Try to stop beating yourself up about your past; instead try to look at the world with a new lens. The only way to do that is to become involved in a 12-Step group. Look for and gravitate toward the people in the group who have the things that you’d like to possess in your life. AA is full of a variety of different people – look for the ones whose moral compass points true North and learn from them. When I go to meetings, it’s about helping others, getting there early to chat with members, helping to set-up, and showing up when you say you are going to show up.
  • You can’t be on the outside of AA looking in. The program really works if you are active in it. Even if you are making coffee, take your responsibilities seriously.
  • In recovery, you can make many new friends. All of my friends are sober; I can’t think of a single one who isn’t in recovery. We play baseball and hockey together; we go to concerts, and have found among us an amazing community.
  • Work the Steps and live by the Big Book. I have repeated the Steps, especially Steps 4 and 5. I have sponsees who I go through the Big Book and 12 Steps with, similar to how my sponsor did it with me. I am also in a men’s 12-Step Big Book Study with about 12 other men. Every time you read the Big Book, you learn something new.
  • The work that’s done in the early recovery, at Renascent’s houses is incredible. If you can just listen and have the willingness, recovery will be yours.

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.