EDIT: We’re now off for today! Will check back in tomorrow to answer a couple other questions, and have included our goodbyes below!

PROOF: https://www.instagram.com/p/CTwtSfNAT0w/

In 2003, I found myself surrounded by friends and family who came to tell me they were worried about my cocaine use. I had changed: I was irresponsible, unreliable, and absent. When I look back now, the word I always think of is “drowning”. Yet somehow, the fear of change was less than the fear staying the same.

I was admitted to treatment shortly after and my road to recovery began. Once I graduated, I knew I wanted to give back. So I began volunteering at a Toronto treatment centre. Seventeen years later, I’ve had experience dealing with process addictions (i.e. gambling, eating disorders, sex addictions, PTSD) and substance addictions. I’ve lectured at universities and in communities across Ontario. The ongoing problem of addiction and recidivism in jails lead me to write and facilitate a recovery program pro-bono for clients at Ontario Correctional Institute. In 2017, I was elected to the Renascent Foundation Board of Directors, where I advise on CPQ (client programming quality), business development, and fund-raising initiatives.

I also have two Great Danes because I’m not allowed to have horses in the city.

I have gone from addict to sitting on the board of director at one of Canada’s leading non-profit treatment centres for 50 years. To anyone reading this struggling with addiction or know someone who is, it is never too late to recover. Addiction is a disease. Having it is not your fault, But treatment is your responsibility.

September is National Recovery Month, so I’m more than happy to answer questions about how addictions are formed, how to identify signs of struggle, crisis management, how to find help in your community or within your peer group, and how to tell others that you need help.

But of course, you may ask me anything!

ABOUT RENASCENT Renascent has been a trusted leader in the treatment of substance use and concurrent mental disorders for over 50 years; helping more than 50,000 people experiencing addiction on their road to recovery. Renascent is an accredited non-profit treatment centre, which provides hope and healing to individuals, families, loved ones, communities, and organizations impacted by addiction. Renascent Foundation enables the health and well-being of people experiencing addiction by inspiring investment in to mental health and addictions programs and services.

Connect us with on our social pages for content on addictions and wellness:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/RenascentCanada

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/renascentcanada/

And our weekly e-newsletter, "TGIF", for blogs, interviews, and multi-media delivered right to your inbox: https://renascent.ca/blog/

EDIT: 3 PM EST: That's all for today. We'll be back tomorrow to answer a couple questions already posted, but we're signing off for now. But before we do...

We want to apologize if we couldn't answer some questions well enough for some of you.

The truth is that addiction is a highly personal problem. When we recommend resources in your area, it is a means for you to reach out to those who can personalize care for you.

We also wanted to keep Renascent’s methods at the forefront of all we said and cannot speak about treatment methods that we don’t practice.

This is our first AMA, and we want you to know that we came away from the experience having learned something.

Thank you so much for participating!

Comments: 443 • Responses: 48  • Date: 

deyheimler56 karma

I’m an alcoholic and I can’t find the will power to quit. Life without it seems like something I would never want to experience. But at the same time I’d really like to stop. Any advice?

RenascentAddictions21 karma

It's not about will power, it's an illness and requires an understanding of the reason behind the substance use. Believe it not, the alcohol is not the problem, it's the solution we choose to deal with life's problems. Treatment involves skill building and developing healthy life skills.

deyheimler24 karma

Yeah. I’ve been to rehab twice. Managed to kick major drugs but alcohol just works to well for me. Thanks for responding

RenascentAddictions-12 karma


Brutis7753 karma

I work as a blackjack dealer at a casino so i see many people who have gambling addicitions all of different levels. Are there any things i can do as a dealer to help my players with their addictions without losing my job?

RenascentAddictions-43 karma

What resources does the casino provide? Maybe you can pioneer this in your workplace and help people struggling.

justavtstudent39 karma

How do you feel about your employer's promulgation of discredited 12-step programs that are based on praying instead of treatment? https://renascent.ca/twelve-steps-principles-alcoholics-anonymous/

RenascentAddictions-9 karma

The best approach is person-centred and evidence-based treatment, not one approach works for everyone. There are many studies that demonstrate and prove that 12-step programs, combine with other third wave therapies are very effective. Decide what works best for you and have a discussion with your healthcare provider and employee.

liamemsa21 karma

Why is it so hard to find twelve step groups that aren't Christian based?

RenascentAddictions-3 karma

12 Steps programs are spiritual, not necessarily religious - look for non-secular meetings online and hopefully you'll find the right one!

Keep looking for a meeting that works for you! Check out SMART recovery!

fecalmatter21 karma

What do you think of porn addiction and the noFap movement?

RenascentAddictions12 karma

Sex is a natural instinct, the treatment for sex addiction is unlike other treatments where you a can develop skills for healthy sexual relationship with others/self.

najing_ftw18 karma

What do you think of psychedelic treatments?

RenascentAddictions-77 karma

Renascent's treatment approach is abstinence-based and works for many people, but there seems to be more and more use of psychedelic treatment - check out the best approach for you!

-stayHard-17 karma

What is something that's common in all addiction. What would you like to say to every addict and what is one solution that always works?

RenascentAddictions-23 karma

Addiction is an illness, you're not responsible to the illness but you are responsible for your own recovery!

sixshots_onlyfive10 karma

Our culture is intertwined with alcohol. It’s everywhere, and people generally expect it to be available at social gatherings and events. How can we do a better job of being conscious and considerate to those who don’t drink?

RenascentAddictions9 karma

Have an open and honest conversation with people about their comfort level, set boundaries, communicate your needs and start to host alcohol free events. Most people will be happy to oblige!

jwill60210 karma

What are your thoughts on 12 step programs vs newer more empirical evidence-based programs that evolved out of research?

RenascentAddictions4 karma

There's research that supports 12 step program and third wave therapies and there's many different approaches, including harm reduction - all necessary need to meet the person where they are.

Look for evidence-based, accredited treatment programs to support your needs.

FirstFarmOnTheLeft9 karma


RenascentAddictions-14 karma

The treatment for an eating disorder is similar to other process addictions and one has to form a healthy relationship with food, eating disorders are very difficult to treat, it starts with an assessment with a healthcare professional.

It's not the food, it's the underlying issues that need to be addressed.

chocolatekitt5 karma

Im about 6 months clean off heroin. Will I ever feel happy and stop having constant, vivid dreams of using/ everything triggering me to use? So far I’m still a depressed piece of shit.

RenascentAddictions8 karma

I hear you, post acute withdrawal can last up to 18-24 months, depending on the history and drug of use. It will get better, if the depression isn't resolved you should speak to your healthcare provider and talk about what you're experiencing. Congratulations on 6 months!

MidianDirenni4 karma

What is your opinion of medication vs. Healthy diet and exercise for those who can do this?

What is your opinion of how effective medications are when the mechanisms in the brain aren't fully understood? What about meds with Black Box warnings?

RenascentAddictions6 karma

Healthy diet and exercise are key to everyone's health, and under the direct care of a medical professional medications are sometimes necessary and advised. Please speak to your Healthcare provider.

It is VERY important to be honest about your substance use/mental health with your healthcare professional.

Str0ngTr333 karma

My issue is not as impacting as others but I want a fix. I can't stop chewing my nails. It was an early childhood response to the stress of my father's frequent military deployments and our family moving away from friends and feeling like I abandoned them. What's a good start?

RenascentAddictions-4 karma

Your nail biting can be result from childhood trauma, I would recommend you find a therapist specialized in difficult childhood experiences and start there.

ixinar2 karma

Did you ever listen to the old Loveline show? Dr. Drew (Kind of a shell of himself, now) was absolutely fantastic in helping people recognize addiction and helping with treatment. I still go back and listen to them via a podcast and it is a wonder he didn't get even more credit back in the day for his addiction work. Also, Adam Carolla's introduction of Drew still rings in my head, "Dr. Drewww Board certified physician...addiction medicine speciaaaallllliissssst."

RenascentAddictions2 karma

Thanks for recommendation, always learning!

CookPsychological9332 karma

My partner and I are both in recovery, are there any resources (books, articles, etc) about relationships in recovery that you would recommend?

RenascentAddictions5 karma

Melody Beattie offers some good material - check it out!

mp3ksc2 karma

What are your thoughts on sending criminal addicts to treatment against their will as part of their sentence?

RenascentAddictions0 karma

Treatment vs jail....what would you choose?

Daenerysjon2 karma

What are steps to get rid of phone addiction and social media addiction?

RenascentAddictions5 karma

Set boundaries for yourself, self-regulate, remove any unnecessary social media platforms, turn the phone off for periods of time as a first step.


When do you think people will start treating porn addictions seriously?

RenascentAddictions1 karma

They do, sex addiction is recognized in the DSM-V and there are good resources out there. Excessive pornography can fall under sex addiction.

MadaRook1 karma

If someone is hiding their habit from their family out of shame and guilt, is it a good idea to tell them you are aware of their drug habits? (Meth) I am her brother and about to move away from my parents home (1000+ miles), and she is staying with my elderly parents.

She moved back home 2-3 months ago, and I noticed very shortly after she arrived that she was using again. When her friend visited her, she found her with the stuff red-handed and my sister told her she feels extreme shame and guilt, and that she would rather not be sober. Also told her she is fine as long as she has supply, and can hold off on it a bit.

She promised me to care for our parents and I trust her with that, and I'm worried about her mental health deteriorating. Yet I hope caring for our parents will give her more reason to face her habit.

I intend to let her know before I leave I have known, and also let her know I accept and care about her, and I'll be here when she's ready to be clean.

I'm not sure about this approach, perhaps I should go without telling her I knew of her habit.

Thank you for any perspective or insight you can share.

RenascentAddictions2 karma

Be open and honest in an non confrontational way, express your concerns and let her know you're there for her if when she wants help. You may need a back-up care plan for your parents until she's ready to get some help. Most treatment programs offer supports for family and loved ones, check out local resources in your area.

MilwaukeeMilkshake1 karma

When did you realize you hit rock bottom?

RenascentAddictions1 karma

When the fear of change was lesser than the fear of staying the same.

jimmycarr11 karma

What are your thoughts on caffeine addiction? Sometimes I feel like I'm the odd one out not using caffeine, it's everywhere.

RenascentAddictions1 karma

Caffeine is not listed in the DSM-V and can stay in your system for up to 12 hours, limit or eliminate it works best for you!

Stellar-Polaris1 karma

I have been diagnosed with PTSD by more than one therapist. I’m doing great overall but sometimes I worry that I’m not accessing situations accurately. How does one know if they can trust their judgment? Thank you for trying to help us with our questions!

RenascentAddictions0 karma

PTSD is learning to live with these types of situations, have a strong support network and a trusted professionals that you can lean on for support.

Thank you, it's our first AMA and are learning as we go!

chillperson171 karma

Im 16 ive smoked weed for a lot of my life to deal with mental issues, ED, anxiety, etc. I've done other drugs before and like to have fun but my parents are freaking out, they think im a drug addict and want to send me to rehab, put me in therapy and imo overreacting. Are they?

RenascentAddictions2 karma

Can you speak with your doctor about of all of your mental health issues and be honest about the weed, let the professional do a proper assessment?

cuddle_cuddle1 karma

I think I'm addicted to shopping, is this also process addition?

I have kids, I don't have time to paint or play games any more like I used to, so I turned to shopping instead --- ~3 hours a time, ~3 times a week. That's my stress relief mechanism. I like thrifting and buying books, just like the process of looking at things, weighting options, getting a good deal and buying a subset of what I like. I donate what I don't like any more back. If I don't go shopping for a week, I feel so wrong and restless.

I spend fair a mount of money on it, and I have talked to my counselor(s) about it, but they said that if I can afford it and live with it, and it's not my biggest problem (I have bigger mental health issues) then I can live with it.

I've gotten a promotion recently, and I am spending more money on shopping now. Am I addicted? Should I be worried?

RenascentAddictions2 karma

I would suggest looking at the underlying issues for the shopping and escapism, it may be a pre-curser for something deeper. If you address the "bigger" mental health issues, it may be something that you can work on in time with your counselor(s).

cuddle_cuddle1 karma

I have OCD, I'm a PureO to be more specific. For a while, I had to hit the same 3 stores once a week. I highly suspect that I'm bipolar, but with 6month + wait time for diagnosis in Ontario, I don't even know if I should go get it diagnosed.

My family doctor (she's pretty good at least other wise) recommends counseling most of the time because it's faster, but they can't make diagnosis and not helpful in what ever is underlying. The doctor pretty much said that I should just walk in emergency to tell them that I want to harm myself, and that's the fastest way to see a doctor.

So yeah, counselors are okay, but they're more like bandages that don't fix underlying issues. I've seen enough that by now I don't see one unless I'm having a crisis. Can't get a doctor. I don't know what the next steps should be honesty. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

RenascentAddictions1 karma

Have you tried CAMH? They have great resources and may be able to get you the help you need.

cuddle_cuddle1 karma

Not really!

I don't live in GTA and I have small children, so I can't travel far... X(

Should I still call them?

RenascentAddictions2 karma

Absolutely - if they can't try your local CMHA! Best wishes.