In a recovery journey spanning over twenty years, Terry has learned a few things about persistence, commitment, surrender – and himself.
“I’ve attended multiple programs and relapsed several times,” he says. But while he always thought ‘the next time would be different,’ it wasn’t until he embraced the spiritual aspect of recovery that things truly changed.
“When I first looked into the Big Book,” Terry recalls, “I saw Step 1, admitting I was powerless over alcohol, and thought I was screwed. But then it forced me to ask a question: if I was powerless, where was I going to get the power I needed?”
He found the answer in Step 2.
“When I saw the second step – the belief that a power greater than me could restore me to sanity – I thought, maybe I could do this. What had stopped me before was that I hadn’t yet found the one thing I needed: the God of my understanding.
When I figured that out, I got myself a sponsor and together we went through the Book.”
As he worked through the Steps, Terry built upon what he’d learnt while in recovery.
“I’ve been to a number of treatment programs,” he says, “and Renascent is the real deal. In other places, I’ve been treated by medically proficient doctors who do brilliant work, but they don’t have any personal experience with addiction.
At Renascent the counsellors are all in recovery themselves, in addition to having the education behind them. I can’t ’BS’ them, but I can identify with them – and they with me.”
Periodic relapses over the years have also taught Terry that vigilance is key. He knows both how easy it is to fall back into old habits and how sneaky his illness can be.
“If I had cancer, I’d get chemo,” he says. “But I don’t – I’ve got a disease that tells me I don’t have one. Addiction is a disease in which my body allows me to drink, but my mind won’t allow me to stop. Knowing that, I have to rely on and draw upon the wisdom of a power higher than myself.”
It’s a wisdom he credits with shaping a new life filled with visiting family, attending meetings, volunteering and sponsoring others in their recovery. He’s determined to make a difference in the lives of others by sharing all that he’s learned.
And while he knows he can’t drink, he’s quick to point out that’s the only thing he’s not allowed to do.
“The freedom I have today is due to two things: God and the program,” he shares. “Before, I had the information – but the 12 Steps are what have led to my true and lasting transformation.
I have so much to enjoy, and so much to look forward to. I’m not cured, but I have recovered from a hopeless state of mind and body.”