Renascent Foundation Inc.
Our Impact Why We Exist
Renascent facilitates recovery, education and prevention relating to alcohol and drug addictions through a continuum of programs and services for individuals, families and organizations.
Renascent's vision is to be the leading treatment and resource centre for alcohol and drug addictions.
Our Story What We Do
History of Organization
For over 40 years, Renascent has offered hope and healing to men, women and families struggling with addiction. Renascent Fellowship was founded in 1970 with the goal of opening a new type of treatment centre based on a model piloted by the Addiction Research Centre in the late 1960s.
Renascent’s treatment centre would be 12-step, abstinence-based and gender specific.
After a year of planning, Donald, Renascent’s first client, entered treatment for alcohol addiction at Renascent House on October 20, 1971. More than 40,000 clients would follow him over the next 40 years.
Ten years later, Renascent opened the first women’s only residential treatment centre in Ontario on May 1, 1981. Based on the same 12-step principles as the well-established and successful men’s treatment program, counsellors now had a facility to address the unique needs of women recovering from addiction.
Shortly after that, in 1983, the Renascent Foundation was incorporated to enhance funding for the treatment of alcoholism and drug addiction for both genders. With the support of its foundation, Renascent began to offer support programs for families and children of alcoholics and drug addicts. Over the years, it had become obvious that addiction is not only a disease that affects individuals – it has profound and devastating effects on entire families. With this realization, Renascent began to treat the family disease of addiction.
Today, Renascent operates four houses: The Paul J. Sullivan Centre for men in Brooklin, the Punanai Centre for men in Toronto, the Graham Munro Centre for women in Toronto and the Lillian and Don Wright Family Health Centre in Toronto – home to our head office and family program.
Accolades and Accomplishments
In a 2011 study out of McMaster University, Renascent was recognized as a vital and extraordinarily effective community partner supporting women and families.
The research looked at the naturally occurring network of partnerships among organizations that serve women with substance use issues and their children. More than 700 agencies across Canada were asked to identify the top six organizations that they see as community partners (e.g., direct and receive referrals, share information, share programming).
Renascent was ranked third nationally and second provincially as having the most robust community partnerships.
Renascent’s programs are truly helping people reclaim their lives.
71.4% of Renascent clients who completed at least the primary and continuing care components of Complete Care are clean and sober 24 months post treatment (2008, Sue Weinstein Research & Evaluation Consultants).
Our Programs How We Do It
When you help an alcoholic into treatment, the whole family has the chance to recover. Support the addict’s family in recovery and everyone has the chance to heal. Provide the tools for kids to break the cycle and we can prevent entire generations from experiencing the anguish of addiction. That’s what we do at Renascent.
Our full spectrum of services addresses the multiple facets of this family disease. We are helping individuals, families and workplaces begin the journey of recovery.
Our Complete Care approach consists of four different aspects:
- Primary Care (intensive three-week live-in kick-start to recovery)
- Continuing Care (15-week program designed to support the client after leaving Primary Care)
- Family Care (recovery programs for those impacted by a loved one's struggle with addiction)
- Alumni Care (year-round, continued learning, growth and services in order to safeguard and nourish an addict's recovery)
Renascent pioneered a new approach to addiction in Ontario when it opened the first women’s only treatment centre on May 1, 1981. Since then, thousands of women have passed through Renascent’s doors.
Women encounter unique challenges to recovery and they require a safe place to face these challenges. Higher instances of trauma and abuse, concurrent diagnosis and financial strain are the most notable among these challenges. Women are also typically the custodial parent in a single parent family. Renascent’s gender-specific treatment offers hope and a client-centred approach that recognizes these issues.
In the foyer of the Graham Munro Centre for women there hangs a print by artist Johannus Boots called Surrender. It depicts an angel kneeling in a stream of light; a lone feather drifts above her head.
“That was how I felt,” says Scarlett about the Boots print, referring to her time at Renascent. “It’s the only piece of art I own. I bought myself a print after treatment.”
At rock bottom, Scarlett woke in her apartment, covered in vomit, her cat biting her toes. Two weeks later she found herself on the steps of Renascent’s Graham Munro centre. Scarlett describes those two weeks as the “unseen hand of God.”
Years after treatment the print still inspired her. Scarlett had the angel’s wings and a lone feather tattooed on her arms.
“I was ashamed of my arms,” she says. “I used to cut myself. I thought: instead of being ashamed you should be proud. You are a walking talking miracle, Scarlett.” And she’s not the only one who thinks so: in 2009 Scarlett was recognized by the 4Life Foundation as a Woman of Inspiration.
Scarlett’s recovery journey continues to unfold at the Munro Centre where she now works as a counsellor. She says she is grateful for the chance to guide other women – one young woman especially.
“I tell my daughter, this is you and this is me,” she says pointing to one of her tattoos then the other. “And this is our feather of hope.”
When a man arrives at Renascent he is usually at the lowest point of his life. He may have considered suicide and often feels there is no hope, sometimes having tried repeatedly to ‘conquer’ his addiction alone.
Facilitated by trained counsellors who know firsthand what it’s like to be addicted and to recover, Renascent has always embodied a very human approach to recovery.
Frank was in his early 30s. He sat alone on a park bench. It was June 2001. He had a couple of king cans of beer and some other “stuff” in his pocket for later. Frank says that in those days he needed to drink in order to get ready to drink. That night he thought about the people he grew up with. Everyone seemed to have things he wanted – houses, cars, families, BBQs on the weekend.
“The drinking had gotten out of hand,” recalls Frank. “I was on the verge of getting fired. They gave me a couple of days to get myself sorted out. I went to the doctor and he referred me to Renascent.”
Frank is a tall man and his frame sagged under the weight of everything he carried into treatment. He kept his eyes on the floor. “He’d share in group,” recalls Charles, Frank’s roommate at Renascent. “But he’d never look up and he could barely be heard.”
Treatment was a movement from isolation into fellowship, into community. That’s what the disease does, it isolates people. Recovery is about learning to be in the community again.
“That’s the thing about treatment,” says Frank. “Lawyers and street people can bond. It doesn’t matter about status, race, creed, nationality. The shame and everything going down the drain, we share that in common.”
“Renascent showed me the way,” he says. “That’s why my mother wanted me to stay involved. She saw the way it changed my life. When I came back from a meeting at Renascent, she saw something in me that she liked.”
“I am awed by the recovery I’ve seen in Frank’s life,” says Charles. “He’s different than the man I met in treatment. I was honoured to be at his wedding in 2007. When I see him speak he stands tall and confident. He’s been an active alumnus for years and always willing to help out. It’s awe inspiring… that’s the only way to describe it.”
Renascent’s program begins with a 21-day live-in residential treatment program that gets clients started on the road to recovery, which includes:
- Good sleep
- Nutritious food
- Around-the-clock support from a team of certified addiction counsellors
- Structured group sessions
- One-on-one counselling
- Independent study
- 12-step meetings in the community.
Following primary care, clients have the option of participating in a 15-week relapse prevention program that provides additional peer and counsellor support.
Regardless of whether clients choose to participate in our relapse prevention program, all graduates of Renascent’s residential treatment program have access to our extended Alumni Program. Addiction is a lifelong condition that requires lifetime vigilance.
Renascent’s Alumni program is a recovery community available to all alcoholics, addicts and families. Participants benefit from practical recovery advice from experts and fellow alumni, regular seminars and workshops, social events and spiritual retreats. This is especially critical in early recovery but even alumni with five plus years of sobriety say they benefit from staying connected.
Funding and Program Partners
Renascent receives partial funding from the Toronto Central Local Health Integration Network. A significant portion of the residential program, family program and all alumni activities are funded through donations to the Renascent Foundation.
Toronto's Vital Signs® indicator(s) addressed by Program
Women come into treatment having experienced higher rates of sexual abuse and mental health issues. In 2011-12, 32% of our clients reported a major depressive disorder, 13% reported an anxiety disorder and 5% reported a bipolar disorder at the time of admission.
Evidence tells us that addiction contributes to social inequities, poverty and even homelessness. A Canadian Senate report on Mental Health and Addiction Services, Out of the Shadows at Last, notes:
“As with other health problems, people who are poor, marginalized or otherwise disadvantaged suffer disproportionately from addictions...” (p. 34)
For over 40 years, alcoholics and drug addicts have turned to Renascent when they needed help. Now children and family members have a place to call their own on their personal road to recovery — regardless of whether the addicted person in their life is ready to start on that path or not.
Renascent has provided services for adult family members of addicts for over 20 years. In 2003, Renascent initiated a project to re-develop and expand its Family Program for adults. During the re-development of the adult family program, the need for services specifically for children of substance abusers became dramatically apparent.
Designed by one of the world’s leading experts on family and addiction, Dr. Robert Ackerman, Renascent's Family Program is specifically tailored to meet the distinct needs of children, parents and other family members affected by addiction. Anyone who has been affected by another person’s drinking or drug problem is welcome to participate in our programs. It is not a requirement for participants to have a family member or friend in treatment at Renascent.
Having a common framework to understand recovery gives families an advantage. Renascent’s Family Program includes the following components:
- Essential Family Care Program: Four sessions facilitated through group counselling (in-class or distance learning format). Graduates of Essential Family Care are invited to join Renascent’s weekly support group.
- Children’s Program: During this four day intensive session children work with their caregiver and a team of professional counsellors to learn about addiction, express their feelings and develop problem solving and self-care skills.
- Parenting Program: Helps parents rebuild trust and open up the lines of communication with their children. The Parenting Program is offered one night a week for eight weeks.
- One-on-One Counselling: Additional professional support for children and family members. Offered as needed to client of Renascent’s other Family Care components.
At the heart of Renascent’s Family Program is the message that you have a right to recovery for you and your family — you have a choice. The Family Program provides a safe place for everyone impacted by addiction to begin the process of healing.
“My 23-year old had a full-on relapse this past May (2010). I think I’m fearless and then, like all moms, will find my mother bear instinct driving me to move mountains when my kids need it. But as I was driving him to detox, I honestly thought he was going to die,” Anne Marie recalls.
“I remember saying to him ‘don't you die on me, or I'll kill you myself.’”
Anne Marie hit bottom. When her son came to Renascent for treatment, she learned the door to recovery was open to her as well.
She first connected with a Renascent family counsellor when she attended a free family information night hosted by Renascent on the first Tuesday of every month, 7 to 8 p.m., at its family health centre located at 38 Isabella Street.
Together with her husband, she met parents, siblings, spouses and children of addicts who shared very similar stories of pain, frustration and chaos. She learned about Renascent’s education support groups, parenting program and children’s program.
At Renascent, Anne Marie learned that addiction is just like any other disease — it progresses if left untreated. Like cancer or diabetes, you can put it into remission but once a person has the disease he or she has to make a lifetime commitment to managing it.
And like many diseases, addiction runs in families. Anne Marie’s mom has been sober for 30 years but in her wildest dreams, she never thought it could happen to her child.
Having a common framework to understand recovery gives families an advantage. At all four of Renascent’s centres (family centre, one women’s centre and two men’s centres), trained counsellors facilitate treatment using the 12-step program of Alcoholics Anonymous and Al-Anon because it has helped millions make profound and lasting changes in their lives.
Funding and Program Partners
The Family Program relies exclusively on support from Renascent Foundation. Your donations to Renascent Foundation cover the cost of treatment and counselling for children and other family members of alcoholics and addicts.
Addiction is a generational disease. The goal of the Family Program is to break the addiction cycle and create awareness about how addiction impacts children and the entire family. The objective of the Children’s Program is to provide children with the resilience needed to become healthy people – protected from the issues that place them at high risk of addiction, codependency and depression.
Toronto's Vital Signs® indicator(s) addressed by Program
“The poverty rate rose 22% in one year in the Toronto Region and the rate of children in poverty was up by more than 43%.” (Toronto’s Vital Signs, 2011)
“There are more than 100,000 low-income families in the city of Toronto, over 10,000 more than ten years ago.” (Toronto’s Vital Signs, 2011)
The disease of alcoholism and drug addiction is often paired with financial depletion making any form of treatment inaccessible. Approximately 85-90% of families that participated in Family Program last year did so despite the lack of ability to pay for the cost of treatment.
The support and healing that these families found at Renascent is made possible by donors like you.
What You Can Do
Residential Treatment for Women and Men
From first contact to lifelong sobriety, your donation will fund:
- 24 hour a day access to professional addiction counsellors, trained to respond to clients in crisis. Renascent’s Access Centre fields over 14,000 calls for help and information.
- Residential treatment: 21-day abstinence-based residential treatment at one of our centres.
- Renascent’s Alumni Program: weekly recovery advice from experts and fellow alumni, regular seminars and workshops, social events and spiritual retreats (approximately one per month).
Take someone under your wing. Become a Guardian Angel.
Guardian Angels – individually or collectively – take one, two, four or eight people under their wings with annual gifts of $1,400, $2,800, $5,600 or $11,200.
Guardian Angels are recognized with bronze ($1,400), silver ($2,800), gold ($5,600) and platinum ($11,200) plaques. With each gift renewal, a Guardian Angel’s plaque graduates to a higher step – we have 12 steps in total.
Renascent has 28 beds available to accommodate our 21-day abstinence-based residential treatment program for women and 63 beds available for the residential treatment program for men. While we receive partial funding from the Toronto Central Local Health Integration Network (TC-LHIN), Renascent Foundation still needs to raise $1,400 per client to make up the funding shortfall between service delivery costs and monies paid to us through the TC-LHIN.
We serve over 300 women and 700 men each year. Donors make that possible.
More than 87% of the women and 75% of men we serve are unable to afford treatment. We are able to safeguard access to our residential program for everyone because of the operating grants provided by the Renascent Foundation. Our Foundation relies on the philanthropic support of people like you.
You can help break the cycle of addiction in families.
- With a donation of just $320 you can give the gift of support and recovery to an individual affected by a loved one’s addiction. Renascent’s Essential Family Care Program provides education, group and one-on-one counselling support to over 200 family members each year.
- A donation of $400 allows one child and a parent to participate in the four day intensive Children’s Program, followed by ongoing access to Renascent’s monthly drop-in alumni program for children after they graduate.
- One-on-one counselling. For some clients with complex needs additional professional support is needed beyond the group delivery format of the Essential Family Care and Children’s Programs. Your $80 donation will provide one counselling session to an individual in need of support.
For every person with an addiction, there is a family who is intensely affected by this disease.
Every addict seriously impacts a minimum of at least four others. Yet only one cent is spent on family members for every $1 spent on treating the addict. This inequity places children, youth and adult family members at greater risk of complex health conditions, including addiction, mental health issues and a range of medical conditions that strain our health care system. The almost exclusive focus on treating the addict stigmatizes families and impedes prevention strategies aimed at reaching the most vulnerable (and invisible) victims of addiction: children.
The disease of alcoholism and drug addiction is often paired with financial depletion making any form of treatment inaccessible to most. Approximately 85-90% of families that participated in the Family Care program did so despite the lack of ability to pay for the cost of treatment.
Through your investment in Renascent, we were able to provide direct outreach to over 2,400 families across Canada who have been negatively impacted by addiction in the home this year.