It was just a few years ago that Brendan stumbled into treatment for alcohol addiction at Renascent’s Punanai Treatment Centre (Punanai), barely able to walk. Today, he’s lacing up his running shoes, training for Renascent’s Road to Recovery Walkathon/Run, to help raise funds for addiction treatment for people in need.
Brendan knows all too well the challenges that come with addiction, not just through his own experiences but those of close family members. After reaching his bottom in 2016, Brendan called Renascent. “My wife had moved out, I was at home alone, drunk every day, missing work, and I’d simply had enough,” shares Brendan candidly.
After investing fully in his recovery, Brendan began to see the benefits of his commitment. His wife returned home, he graduated from Renascent’s inpatient and Continuing Care Programs, started a new job, took up running, and continues to live a life of sobriety.
“In recovery, my wife and I discovered travel and every time we travel to any new city we look for three things: the 50 best things to eat, the best running events and recovery meetings,” says Brendan, with an ear-to-ear smile. “Before I became sober, I used to pull myself out of bed with a hangover to drive my wife to racing events. Then I would sleep in the car while she ran. When I got sober, we were travelling and she would still participate in running events while I attended recovery meetings. Eventually I got tired of being sidelined and found a way to incorporate both into my life.”
Now an avid runner himself, Brendan will be running the half-marathon distance (21.1km) in Renascent’s Road to Recovery Walkathon/Run. Held in September – National Recovery Month – every dollar raised through this fundraising event is invested toward giving hope and healing to people who are beginning their road to recovery, and changing the lives of their family members and loved ones.
Once again this year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, participants are able to enjoy the event virtually, running or walking a distance of their choosing (1km, 5km, 10km, or half-marathon marathon) – any day between September 1 and 30. Like other similar events, participants can create a team or join an existing one as they work toward meeting their personal fundraising goal.
Brendan’s participation in Renascent’s Road to Recovery Walkathon/Run is driven by his passion for helping others, his own experience with addiction and his gratitude to Renascent for the life-changing experiences he had in treatment.
“I remember when I decided to tell my boss that I needed to go into treatment. That was probably one of the hardest parts of this journey because it is tough to admit to your addiction to someone else,” said Brendan. “That conversation with my boss went very well and they provided me with the time-off I needed to attend treatment – which has made all of the difference in my life.”
When asked if there’s any advice that he’d give to alumni starting out on their journey to recovery, Brendan smiles and says, “The 12 steps are referenced as the “suggested” 12 steps of recovery. I think you should see the 12 steps like a parachute. If you’re jumping out of a plane, they “suggest” you pull the rip-chord. You don’t have to, but it’s suggested. That’s how I feel about the 12 steps too. While it’s considered optional by many, I’ve seen the results of not doing the work.”