By Lindsey Storey, Renascent Alumni
I was in extreme active addiction when I first went into treatment. I’d been using heroin and fentanyl heavily for almost 10 years and it was only when I was in treatment that I realized how much self-work I would have to do to stay clean.
My dad died suddenly when I was 18 and it was so very tough on my family. I think it was his passing that accelerated my drug use and using helped me cope with my traumas – at least so I thought.
Even after my first stay at Renascent, I struggled. I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and my uncle – who was a father figure to me – died while I was still in treatment. I relapsed and it was during my second round of treatment that I took a different step toward recovery. It was then that I realized I needed to be more open to receiving advice and following the 12-step program religiously. So I committed to putting my recovery first.
On the one-year anniversary of my sobriety, I decided to volunteer at Renascent. There were many staff members who attended my one-year anniversary celebration. These are women that I looked up to and their presence and support meant so much.
I’ve been sober now for over five years and my life is very different. Today, I work as a Program Assistant at Renascent’s Munro treatment centre. I am engaged and I have a strong relationship with my family. I can hold my head up with confidence; I can look someone in their eyes. I am far more independent as well, with my own place and money.
Managing my mental health has been an important part of staying in recovery. Below are a few principles I live by.
- I make sure that my top priority is my recovery and I work on that daily before focusing on other people and areas in my life.
- I always check-in with myself to see how I am feeling and what my body needs. When I listen to my body it helps with my mental health. Listening to my body could be as simple as taking a nap when I’m tired or having a glass of water when I am thirsty.
- Good communication fosters good mental health. I allow myself to feel my emotions without pushing them down. I am very open with my partner about my struggles and how I am feeling and she reciprocates that.
- Keeping a routine helps me stay on track with my mental health. I like the predictability that comes with routines and try to incorporate good habits into my daily life, including working through the 12-step program.