By Natalie, Renascent Alumna
Learning new habits was one of the most challenging things in recovery. I grew up in an alcoholic home and learned many bad habits from a young age. I felt responsible for my parents drinking and thought that if I could be better or do better, they would love me enough to give up their drinking. I was constantly surrounded by chaos, and it became a comfort to me that I relied on.
My mother died suddenly when I was sixteen. My father, younger brother and I were devastated. I became the saviour of my family and I took on the woman of the house and tried to fill impossible shoes while keeping up the façade that we were all ok. By my twenties I was a daily drinker after I finished my hairstyling job, as that was the normal thing to do. It helped me relax and it was the only time I felt I could stop and really relax.
My emotions were building and I drank to numb the pain as I didn’t want to feel it. At times I would drink too much and end up in a puddle of tears thinking that was the normal way to express emotion. I felt very alone at this time and thought I was the only one going through this. I looked happy on the outside, but I was dying on the inside.
I got married and had a child, hoping with both those events that I would be cured of this insane thinking and would become “normal”. I didn’t know that I was becoming the very thing I promised myself I would never become.
I entered Renascent Graham Munro Centre (Munro) in May 2021 after my drinking took me to the point where I almost lost my career, husband, daughter and the rest of my family. I was at the point of desperation. I couldn’t stop drinking and I didn’t know there was a way out.
The women at Munro told me very early on to open your mind to new ways of thinking. My first Slogan was H.O.W : Honest, Open and Willing.
I really had to get honest with myself and how I got to this point in my life. That was hard for me. To go deep within myself and ask, “am I being honest right now?” I had to take all these old habits that helped me survive and turn them inside out and ask myself if these were helpful or is it the disease talking? I had to turn “poor me” into a learning experience. I had to ask myself what am I supposed to learn from this? I also had to be willing to make all these changes every day when I woke up. That was also difficult in the beginning. It is work that I must do every day if I want to continue to change my old habits.
Making these changes has helped me tremendously in my recovery. Understanding that the only way to become the person I want to be is to change my old habits and take on new habits that begin with being Honest, Open and Willing.