The 35-year-old mother of three was searching for a program that would teach her why she did the things she did, not just how to remove herself from temptations.
“Even if you avoid the people, places and things, you still have confusion about why,” she said.
Through a new recovery program called Recovery, Education, Support and Training, Renew said, she finally understands what the addiction stems from.
Started by 25-year veteran rehabilitation counselor Rick Sholette, the program is built out of what he thought was missing from other programs: a deeper understanding of why people turn to addiction.
“None of us are raised in perfect families,” he said. “We all have relationship issues. Sometimes those issues cause a downward spiral into addiction.”
According to the 2010 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, more than 20 percent of people ages 18-25 use illicit drugs. Those ages 12-17 were at 10.1 percent, and people 26 or older were at 6.6 percent.
Among young adults, the rates were 18.5 percent for marijuana, 5.9 percent for nonmedical use of psychotherapeutic drugs, 2 percent for hallucinogens and 1.5 percent for cocaine.
For years, Sholette watched as many people he counseled relapsed. He decided part of the problem was a lack of education and skill building.
“My thought was, if they knew where all this comes from, how much better would they do?” he said
For Chris Newman, the program offered a piece he felt was missing from other programs: a focus on faith.
Although the program is only in the sixth of 20 weeks, Renew and Newman said they have learned skills they believe will help them permanently recover.
“I feel a lot stronger,” Renew said. “It feels really good to finally understand why I do the things I do. Relief. It really feels like relief.”
Newman said one homework assignment in particular stood out. To build self-esteem, Sholette had his students write down 25 reasons why they like themselves over the course of a day.
“I found myself searching for good things to do for people,” Newman said. “It really makes you feel good and understand why we’re here.”
A large part of the program that stuck with Renew was the idea of addiction as something you pass on. She said that by learning to recognize her core issues she will be better at spotting them in her kids and will learn how to not pass them on.
“I am here to help fix me because I love my children,” she said. “I like me so much better today than last month.”