Stephanie’s journey toward addiction started when she was still quite young.
“I struggled with eating disorders before I started using drugs and at around age 14, I started drinking and smoking weed,” she shares.
What would follow is a years-long journey which included opioid addiction, homelessness, human trafficking, and domestic abuse, punctuated by a drug-free pregnancy and the birth of Stephanie’s now teenage son.
Having tried numerous times on her own to stop abusing substances, Stephanie knew that she needed professional help.
“It was either I get help or die. I was losing my friends and had lost contact with my family. I realized that if I overdosed no one in my family would know. I was also in a very dangerous and unhealthy relationship,” said Stephanie, who was trying to escape human trafficking as well. “I knew that if I kept using, life wouldn’t get better.”
Ultimately, it was through Victim Services – an organization that provides direct and indirect support to victims of crime in Ontario – that Stephanie was referred to Renascent.
“I looked into different treatment centers. I went to school for addictions counselling and social service work when I was younger. Some of my peers did their field placement at Renascent and they loved it, so I wanted to go there for my treatment,” she said.
Stephanie stayed at Renascent Graham Munro Centre – Renascent’s treatment centre for women – for 45 days. It was a place of healing and growth for Stephanie even though she was at first anxious about the new experience.
“I was nervous coming into treatment. I have social anxiety. When I was out there using, I didn’t have female friends. I was afraid of how I would fit in with the girls. All of the change was scary, but I remember thinking, “I can do this; I am not alone,” said Stephanie, who found that Munro Centre provided her with excellent initial trauma stabilization support.
“The staff were all really good – very supportive. They let me go on my own pace and let me get stable on my medication. If I was having a hard day, they would check in on me. They were accommodating and motivating,” she adds.
Due to the extent of Stephanie’s trauma, after completing addiction treatment at Renascent, she went on to receive longer-term support from another facility which focuses specifically on helping victims of trauma.
On October 7, 2023 Stephanie will celebrate her one-year milestone of recovery. It’s a milestone that she never thought she could achieve.
“At Renascent, I learned that I am worthy. I learned to be grateful and to forgive myself,” Stephanie shares. “Yes, I suffer from addiction, but I am not the choices that I made. I am learning who I am and as I learn, I find healing. It takes away the pain and shame that kept me in my cycle of addiction.”
Today, Stephanie’s life is very different from the one she left behind when she walked through the doors of Renascent. She has fostered a closer relationship with her son and was able to secure a home.
“Now, I get to do simple things like back-to-school shopping, with so much joy. I wouldn’t have had that if it wasn’t for Renascent,” she said. “I am looking forward to each day.”