Perspective: Life Lessons

by Stan R.

When I was young I never truly knew the extent to which my father’s alcoholism affected my family. I thought that the bouts of shouting and the extended periods of silence and misery between my parents was simply how an average family ran.

When I was seven years old, my parents announced to me that they were getting a divorce and explained that a major cause was my father’s addiction. They tried to elaborate on his addiction but most of it was lost on my young mind. All I took away was that I would only see my father on certain days and that both his body and mind were plagued.

Neither my parents belong to a profession relating to alcoholism, thus their knowledge on the matter regarding children was very limited. Thankfully they enrolled me in the Children’s Program at Renascent’s Wright Centre.

Fundamentally, the program was a gargantuan success.  It taught me everything I could possibly need to know about dealing with the addiction of a loved one. It also improved my life through important life lessons it taught me that have stuck with me since I did the program four years ago.

I learned that emotions are meant to be expressed and that keeping them bottled up can have major negative impacts on your mental health. I learned that those with addictions aren’t bad individuals, they’re just ill – proverbial diamonds in the rough. The most important lesson I learned was that I should be the most important person in my life and I shouldn’t have to sacrifice my personal happiness and well-being for the sake of others.

Taking the Children’s Program also introduced me to my long-time friend and mentor Christine McNicol. Christine, who led the Children’s Program, had an infectious joy and kindness to her that inspired me to become a better person. The best way I sought to do this was by volunteering in the very same program I met her in and attempting to bring a similar kindliness that she showed to me and the other children during our time in the program those few years ago.

I greatly enjoyed the experience of volunteering for the Children’s Program. I was able to witness a beautiful healing process, especially when seeing typically shy and sheepish children hurt by addiction finally able to truly be kids upon realizing they weren’t alone in their struggle. This is why I volunteered for several programs. Doing this also helped me greatly academically, as I amassed well over 100 volunteer hours when my high school only required 40.

After volunteering I took a great interest in social work as a potential profession so when I was offered the opportunity to take a co-operative education plan in my 11th year I gladly accepted and immediately applied to Renascent for my placement. Thankfully I was accepted and began working in October of 2015.

Since then, under the teaching of my extremely kind and intelligent supervisor Sunil and with help from my other fantastic co-workers, I have learned a great deal about social work. The lessons I’ve learned here, from when I first started as a child in the Children’s Program to my official placement as a student, will help me throughout the rest of my life. Never before have I been so thankful for an organization.

I am Stan R. and this is my Renascent story.

About the Authors

Renascent Alumni
Members of Renascent's alumni community carry the message by sharing their experiences and perspectives on addiction and recovery. To contribute your alumni perspective, please email