Julia’s Story: “I am the best version of myself now.”

Julia knew her life had become unmanageable. Her substance use shifted from alcohol to include cocaine, and in the months before she attended treatment at Renascent, Julia lost her job.

“I think I was always very driven by alcohol. I focused my whole life around that next drink,” shares Julia candidly. “I wanted to go to treatment for a long time. When the time finally came to go to Renascent, I was so excited and so ready. I needed it; it was the only solution.”

On July 1, 2022, Julia arrived at Renascent Graham Munro Centre with dumbbells in her suitcase. Exercise had always been an outlet for Julia, but when gyms closed during the COVID-19 Pandemic, her substance use also spiraled out of control. At Renascent, Julia was determined to gain recovery and get her fitness back on track.

“When my fitness routine fell off, my self-worth dropped. With gyms being closed in the Pandemic, I lost my identity,” she shares. “When I got to treatment, I wanted to regain all that I had lost. I would work out every day outside with my dumbbells.”

While at Renascent, Julia also learned a lot about herself and her addiction. She was able to unpack her past and explore the trauma she experienced as part of her healing and recovery process.

“I was able to look back and see how my sexuality played a huge part in my addiction. I never dealt with it before treatment. You go through so much trauma figuring out your sexuality, and it was so great to talk to people who can relate to you,” said Julia. “Talking with others about my own experiences helped me grasp what I was doing in addiction and why. I think I felt a weight lifted off my chest.”

The support Julia received from Renascent’s Counsellors gave her a new perspective on herself. “It was great to have the counsellors help me to understand that I coped with life in the wrong way, by drinking and using,” says Julia.

“I am so grateful for Renascent. Their counsellors are the reason that I am still sober. I don’t know if I would be sober if I went somewhere else.”

After treatment, Julia quickly got a sponsor and worked through the Twelve Steps. She values their relationship and the unlikely bond that they formed.

“When I was in treatment, I had a checklist of what I wanted in a sponsor. The first person who approached to sponsor me had such amazing energy that I threw my checklist out the window. Now, I always tell people that they shouldn’t have a checklist. It doesn’t work that way.”

Julia’s sponsor guided her through challenging times in her recovery and has been a source of support and information. Early on, she and her sponsor would connect daily and talk for hours mucking through the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous. Now, with Julia feeling more confident in her recovery, they do not connect as often. But Julia knows she can call her sponsor whenever she needs her and she’ll promptly make herself available.

For those who are procrastinating working through the Steps, Julia has some advice based on her own experience. “It’s all about being uncomfortable and finishing the Steps fast. Take the first three seriously, then continue on. You have to do the work in order to see the results – like in fitness and in life,” she says.

Looking ahead to her one-year recovery anniversary, Julia is in a good place. She has a new job that she loves, and has grown to love herself again.

“I am the best version of myself now.”

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.