Virtual Treatment and a Real Recovery

When Pat found out she had a drinking problem, there were two feelings that welled up within her – disbelief and denial. The mother of two had been off work for a number of months on long-term disability and medical test results showed Pat and her doctor the stark reality of her situation. Willing to accept immediate help, in November 2020, Pat was enrolled in Renascent’s Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP).

The virtual program – which launched in April 2020 – was designed to enable the continuity of services for clients while Renascent, like many other mental health and addictions treatment providers faced the new realities of COVID-19. Many treatment centres had to reduce inpatient capacity to ensure adequate distancing and some even closed their doors all together.

But not Renascent. The not-for-profit organization launched this virtual program at no cost to clients thanks to the generosity of Renascent Foundation, and started providing treatment to those with mild-to-moderate addiction treatment needs, while serving people with severe needs at its inpatient treatment centres.

“Adopting this approach meant Renascent was able to meet the needs of many clients at a time of reduced treatment services across the health system,” said Alessandro Motta, Renascent’s Supervisor, Outpatient Program. “Our Intensive Outpatient Program is derived from a person-centred approach emulating our inpatient setting where possible, while providing the tools, resources and support our clients need to manage their recovery within their own home environment.”

Pat was nervous at first about attending treatment virtually, but she adapted quickly. “I’d never used Zoom before but I learned the program, and was able to participate to the fullest extent,” said Pat. “The councillors were welcoming and I was amazed at how quickly we all bonded.”

Through the program, over the six-week period, Pat and clients like her participate in twice daily group sessions on weekdays and have weekly individualized counselling sessions. Each client also has access to Renascent’s Continuing Care, Family Care and Alumni Care once they complete the outpatient program.

“Our compassionate clinical team has been effective in creating an environment that provides support, safety, structure and flexibility, preparing clients to practice the skills they learn right away in the real world,” said Motta.

Life is very different now for Pat, who is now in her seventh month of sobriety. She connects with her sponsor three times a week, has returned to work and is playing an important role in encouraging others along their recovery journey as Chair of Renascent’s virtual Intensive Outpatient Program Alumni Committee

“The Intensive Outpatient Program helped me understand and process my experiences, gave me connections to others who understood what I was going through, and provided tools to help me abstain from drinking while remaining at home,” said Pat. “I was given a second chance with Renascent – which transformed my life. I am so grateful for my journey with Renascent, as being sober gives me a whole new perspective on life.”

April 29, 2021 marks one year since the launch of Renascent’s IOP. To the donors who have made this program possible for the last year, Pat has a simple thank you message: “There are so many people who need treatment and do not have the funds required to pay for it. We are all lucky there are donors who choose to help,” said Pat “Without donors there are many people who would not have access to the addiction treatment services they desperately need. Their generosity is deeply acknowledged; I am so thankful for them.”

Learn more about Renascent’s Intensive Outpatient Program.

About the Authors

Renascent Staff
The staff at Renascent is passionate about helping people with substance addictions so they can reach their full recovery – with compassion, respect, empathy and understanding. Our staff includes our counsellors, all of whom have lived experience of addiction and recovery.