Of the many reasons to come to Renascent, Paul had a very specific one.
“I’ll be honest – I chose Renascent because the program was, at the time, only 21 days,” Paul admits. “I thought that was about all I needed. And two weeks in, I had a complete breakdown. I told the counsellors that if I left the following week, I would almost certainly die.”
While the program has since grown to 28 days to help create a stronger foundation for recovery, Paul’s journey spanned inpatient treatment, Renascent’s Continuing Care program, and ongoing support as an alumni. Despite what he thought at the outset, the intensive and comprehensive support was essential to his recovery.
“I remember a point about three months out of the house when something upset me,” he recalls. “I was on my way to a meeting, and old coping mechanisms and habits kicked in. For a moment, I decided the best thing I could do was go to a bar. But something told me not to do that, to go to Renascent instead.
It was, as he says, “one of those moments that got me through ‘one of those moments.’”
While in recovery, Paul also began to address the underlying issues that first led him to addiction.
“When I came to Renascent, a counsellor asked me what I was afraid of. The truth is, I was most afraid of myself,” he says. “I really felt that with every decision I was making, my life, and the lives of those around me, got worse. I had to acknowledge that a lot of my choices were informed by things that had happened in my childhood.”
Paul notes that he has a “soft spot” for children. “They are innocent, born perfect in every way. Yet I had come to believe this wasn’t true of me. I had to reconnect with my own inner child and re-parent him to believe he was enough. When I submitted to the idea that I, too, had been perfectly created, I began to learn how to be that person again, to heal and to feel worthy.”
It’s still a process, he says, but “I no longer have this need for people to like me. I’ve stopped looking for acceptance and recognition outside myself.”
Today, Paul is nearly five years into recovery and an addictions counsellor at men’s residential facility. “I truly love helping people,” he says, noting he encourages them to stay open to new ideas, do the work and reach out when needed.
He’s active in Renascent’s alumni community, citing the “common bond” he shares with others in recovery, and close with his children, their mother, and his young grandson.
“Life is full,” he muses. “It’s not perfect, but I don’t get frustrated nearly as much.
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: Renascent saved my life.”