Kaathy’s Story: A life of paying it forward

When Bill Wilson started working at Renascent in the mid-70s, he was as a grounds-keeper. He took his job seriously, because in recovery, being and doing his best had become very important to him.

“I remember my mother kicking my Dad out multiple times,” shares Kaathy Shears, Bill’s daughter. “After my Dad completed treatment at Renascent, he became a sincere man. He became someone who meant what he said instead of telling lies.”

Bill's Mediallion

Renascent has been in existence for a just a few years when Bill walked through the doors as a client. Shortly after completing treatment, Bill jumped at the chance to work at the very same organization that saved his life. Demonstrating an unwavering dedication to helping people recover from addiction, Bill transitioned to being a part-time counsellor, then moved up the ranks at Renascent; becoming a full-time counsellor, and later on General Manager. In 1989, he also opened Renascent Paul J. Sullivan Centre in Brooklin, Ontario.

Kaathy was just six years old when her father went to Renascent for treatment. She saw him transform through treatment and dedication, and is proud of all that her father accomplished.

“To go from where my Dad was – pretty much on the streets cause my Mom kept on kicking him out – to him making the decision to go to Renascent, then cutting the grass and living the 12 Steps – is truly incredible,” shares Kaathy with pride. “My Dad didn’t differentiate between whether people were at the bottom of society or at the top. He helped them all. I think that’s what AA [Alcoholics Anonymous] taught him.”

Kaathy thinks part of her father’s legacy is that she too would “carry on the strength of AA and what it can do for people.” Having grown up with knowledge of AA and addiction, Kaathy often finds herself lending a helping hand to others who need a bit of direction and support.

“A friend’s daughter called me once and said “Kaathy, my Mom needs help.” I called intake at Renascent and…I told them that she was ready for treatment. So I went to her house, I did the intake with her and now she is eight years sober,” shares Kaathy. “I go to her medallion every year.”

Kaathy has similar encounters regularly, in which she points people toward help for addiction.

It has been 18 years since Kaathy’s father has passed and this Father’s Day, she and her family have a special day planned. They will be spreading her father’s ashes along a lake where he lived.

“My Dad loved living by the lake. I know he would love that to be his final resting place. It is peaceful and beautiful – fitting of someone who gave so much of themselves to helping others.”

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.