Patrick’s Story: Moving Beyond Stigma

Everyone’s “bottom” is different. For Patrick, his came one day in April 2020, after a culmination of many unfortunate events, including the end of a relationship and coming close to homelessness. Patrick would have sought help sooner, but it was the stigma associated with addiction that kept him from taking the steps he needed to get well.

“Stigma was a barrier for me. I didn’t feel comfortable telling my employer about my addiction because I thought I would be judged,” says Patrick, who eventually told his supervisor. “I knew I couldn’t keep on living like this and it took me about a year to get the courage I needed to seek help. I told my boss and was pleasantly surprised by the support that I received,” he explains.

A few weeks later, in the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, Patrick began treatment at Renascent’s Paul J. Sullivan Treatment Centre. Skeptical at first, Patrick followed his treatment plan and was able to successfully complete treatment.

“At first, I wasn’t sure what I would get out of treatment. I wondered whether everything the counsellors were teaching me was going to work,” he says. “I kept telling my buddies that I don’t think I could go through treatment and now, over a year later, I am still sober.”

Like many others who seek help and follow their treatment plan, Patrick has truly come a long way since the first day he walked through Sullivan Treatment Centre. Patrick wears his past experiences as a reminder of how painful life was before treatment and reminisces candidly about his time in active addiction. “My worse day came after I didn’t sleep for about a week. I finally slept for two days, then had intense headaches. My girlfriend at the time and I had a huge disagreement, then I realized I needed to figure it out a better way of living,” shares Patrick.

Now, Patrick is well established on his recovery journey and full of optimism for his future. “I 100% feel like a different person. I have already accomplished more this year than I did in the last five years,” says Patrick proudly. “I tell others who are still struggling with addiction that the path ahead is their choice. You have more power than you think. My first line of cocaine didn’t amount to anything serious until six years later, and I should have been more aware of the impact it was having on me all along.”

When asked about the keys to his success, Patrick shares that consistency has helped him stay sober. He developed a disciplined approach to working the 12 Steps and attending meetings, despite the challenges posed by COVID-19. He also used music as therapy, listening to music that echoed his experiences with addiction and brought him hope for long-term sobriety.

“I listened to music I identified with and went to meetings throughout the entire pandemic. In the winter, we met outdoors, socially distanced, to stay safe,” says Patrick. “My friends were so impressed that I made it through the last year and I know that was only possible because of the strong foundation that I built at Renascent. The experience in treatment was really great. I had amazing teachers who explained everything I needed to know in a way that was so clear and easy to understand. This saved my life.”

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.