Lauren’s Story: “I am the only one who can make myself happy.”

Before treatment, Lauren says, “every day was awful. I was anxious, and in a near-constant state of depression.  I attempted suicide a few times, always while I was intoxicated.

On a good day, I was just functioning.  I really wasn’t interested in life at all.”

She’d attended programs before, “but my experience at Renascent was so positive,” she says.  “They really meet people where they’re at.  The environment was amazing, and everyone, from the staff to the others in recovery, was so nice.” 

Lauren completed both treatment and after care programs through Renascent, and was looking forward to rebuilding a new life.  Her resolve was quickly tested, however, when she was in after care and her partner became violent.

“It was truly terrifying,” she recalls. “I couldn’t see my way out of anything. Ultimately, I had to quit my job and move to a different city to escape.”  The move also left her homeless, and her liver was failing after years of alcohol abuse.

Remarkably, and with the support of her loving grandparents, she persevered.  She credits her time at Renascent with helping her regain her footing.

“The tools I learned at Renascent have made all the difference in my ability to cope,” she says.  “The progress I made in my first year of recovery … it’s just wild how much I was able to do.  I was homeless, jobless, dying, just holding on. And within a year I was able to get a job, relearn how to drive, get a place to live, enter into a healthy relationship.”

Five years into her recovery, life is “pretty boring,” she laughs.  “And I mean that in the best possible way. I’m so interested in life now.  I think when you’re struggling with substance abuse that’s all you think about, but now I can entertain myself for weeks. I paint, hike, take care of my pets, run, travel.”

She also has her previous job back.

“Since I’ve been in recovery, I’ve been honest with all my employers,” she shares, “and everyone has always been so supportive. They’re surprised to hear about my past, but I want to be as accountable as possible.”

They’re also a key part of her healing. “My current employer is covering my intense trauma therapy sessions,” she says, and her colleagues understand that she’s not able to partake when they go out for drinks.

As she continues to unpack the past and look to her future, Lauren’s also learning to reframe feelings of guilt and shame she attributes to having let people down while she was using. 

“Before I was always apologizing, even for things that weren’t my fault,” she recalls. “Now I’m moving away from that and focusing on my self-esteem. I’ve learned I can’t control anything – or anyone – but myself,” she says.

“I’ve come to realize how much I was depending on others for my happiness; in previous relationships, if I didn’t feel good, I could never really trust my own feelings.

Now I know I am the only one who can make myself happy.”

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.