by Kim R. (Munro 2013)
One year sober and my heart is filled with gratitude for all of the counsellors at the Renascent who showed me through their own experiences the spiritual program of Alcoholics Anonymous – my “seed planters.”
When I walked through the doors of the Graham Munro Centre, I knew that I was powerless over alcohol, but I had no idea that my life had become unmanageable as the result of my drinking. These counsellors drastically changed my perceptions about the nature of my disease. I was told that I had a soul sickness and that if I straightened out spiritually, I would straighten out mentally and physically as well. I was incredibly terrified and I felt as though I were destined to be broken, always.
Gradually, my design for self-destruction was pulled away in small pieces through the convictions of these powerful women. I borrowed their faith in the program. They believed in me when I could not even muster up an ounce of hope for myself. I certainly was not the same when I walked out of those doors 21 days later – the seed of sobriety had been planted. And I began to believe that my life could possibly be better if only I could stay sober.
I have been blessed with incredibly strong sponsorship and as it turns out, getting sober was the “easier” part. Recovery was never sugarcoated for me. I was told that it was going to be difficult and that certain aspects of my life would seemingly feel worse before they felt better and that was good advice. I had dismissed the reality of my life entirely.
The real culprits were not my past or the people surrounding me – the real culprit was my disease of alcoholism and my inability to accept responsibility for who it was I had in fact become. I was imprisoned by alcohol, a slave to my bottles, and had an unrelenting obsession that I could one day control my drinking. This was the illusion of my addictive mind, one that I believed time and time again.
One year ago, I could not envision staying sober for an entire day.
One year ago, I was completely broken on the inside.
One year ago, I thought the only thing that I had going for me was getting drunk.
One year ago, I could no longer endure being me.
One year ago, I felt absolutely worthless and undeserving of love.
But, I was desperate for a solution.
Today, I am learning to live from the inside out. I can love a lot and be loved. I can feel and I can share my feelings. And I can finally start to let go of some of the shame that never actually belonged to me to begin with. Sobriety still feels surreal for me on most days because I conditioned myself to “enduring” life. Now I am learning how to be me and that has been an amazing gift.
But most importantly – I can help others. I can be a seed planter too! I can share my life story in front of people. I can look people in the eye. I can find value in my past experiences and strength in my weaknesses. I can breathe for the first time. This is the journey that you helped me to find – and I am incredibly grateful to be able to see life with shimmers of colour.
Renascent changed the lens with which I view the world and gave me the opportunity to admit that alcohol had defeated me – and that is when I finally began to win at living.
I will never be able to find the perfect words to express just how Renascent has changed absolutely everything in my life. But I can strive to be that member of Alcoholics Anonymous who shows the newcomer this program. I want to promote the attraction of this program because that is what saved me from myself. The miracle of recovery is real.
As I continue to work and delve deeper into the causes and condition of my addiction, I know that the counselors are always just a phone call away when I need them. Knowing that they are available keeps me on path and reminds me of how far I have come and how much further I can go if I let them help me.
To my Guardian Angel: Thank you for your donation because without the financial support I received, I may never have been able to get the help that I needed. My new life would never have been possible had it not have been for you. I wish I could place my heart into your body, if only for a split second – just so you could experience what it feels like for me to be alive today. Gratitude.
Thank you for painting my life with colour,
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 [email protected]