my story - Ivy Tolchinsky
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my story

“My journey has given me more gifts than I ever imagined.”

In 1992 the first Nicotine patch was introduced to help people stop smoking, Bill Clinton became US President and Roberta Bondar became the first Canadian woman in space. I had been divorced and a single-mother for five years. I had a secure job in my father’s business, owned my own home and had some money in the bank- but not for long. I was also a daily drinker, (had to have my wine after I picked up my daughter from daycare) cocaine user and a pack-and-half-a-day smoker. I had made an attempt to get sober a year before but it didn’t stick. I wasn’t ready.


Most people were unaware of my secret “good girl by day/bad girl by night” life because I always managed to look good on the outside. But trust me, I was a bag lady on the inside.


The thing about untreated addiction is that it never gets better over time, only worse. My two lives had begun to collide. It took more energy to keep the dark side from leaking into the light. The hangovers were legendary. (I should have bought stock in Tylenol.) I was either anxious or depressed. I remember breaking down at a Pizza Hut one morning on the way to work. I called my sister sobbing hysterically, that I couldn’t take it anymore.


My romantic life was a disaster. I was a needy woman/child looking for love in all the wrong places. I was wasting hundreds of dollars a week on drugs, vodka and cigarettes. People were always covering for me at work. But the worst consequence by far, was not being emotionally present for my daughter; this made me sick with shame and guilt. I knew I needed to stop but couldn’t.


In October of 1992 I finally (and thankfully) “hit my bottom” when I picked up a book called Adult Children at a New Age booksellers conference. There was an immediate recognition and I knew in that instant the crazy party was over. It was time to get help. So after my final night on the town I did just that.


My recovery began like many others, in the rooms of 12-step meetings. I lived and breathed recovery in church basements for many years. I loved the connection with the group because it felt like summer camp. Those of you who are not fans of 12-step meetings may be groaning but there weren’t a lot of options at that time; and it worked for me along with therapy. It wasn’t until many years later when I began working at treatment centres that I discovered many other possible tools and models of recovery.

“… recovery has allowed me to find my true calling: helping addicts and alcoholics to become sober.”

My journey of recovery has given me more gifts than I ever imagined. Not only did I let go of drugs and alcohol, I quit smoking; not with the Nicotine patch, by the way, but the good old-fashioned cold turkey way. I travelled from self-loathing to self-love. I developed stronger relationships with my family and friends. I tried out different professions and then found my true calling: bringing recovery to addicts and alcoholics. I have worked with hundreds of them over the past 15 years.


Recovery today is like a great big buffet filled with many different options; 12-step, SMART recovery, yoga recovery, detox, treatment centres, outpatient clinics, sober coaches, etc. The choice can be overwhelming. It is definitely not a one-size fits all as in the past! I choose to offer My Resilient Recovery Coaching because it’s a strengths-based option focused on life beyond addiction; perfect on its own if sobriety is generally stabilized or a great compliment to therapy. It is a powerful way to create that “compelling option” for the future that addicts so deeply need not only at the beginning of their recovery but on an ongoing basis.


My goal is to be there with you as a co-creator and co-navigator. With my help you find the best of yourself and design the most resilient life EVER!




Professional Background



Ivy has dedicated over 15 years of her career to the field of addiction treatment, working as a counselor, supervisor, group facilitator and clinical manager. She has experience in both the inpatient and outpatient environment. She has worked in a variety of treatment facilities including Edgewood Heath Network (Canada’s premier addiction treatment and mental health provider) and Chatsworth Pavilion (internationally known exclusive residential treatment centre).


Ivy has designed and delivered numerous programs and workshops on Relapse Prevention, Identifying Values and creating your vision, Finding the Career you love and Improving communication skills in recovery. She has thriving practice in Montreal, Canada but works online with many clients across Canada and the U.S.A.


She received her B.A. in Communications from McGill University and her M.A. in Human Systems Intervention from Concordia University. She has a certification in Use of Self, Group Facilitation and Appreciative Inquiry. Ivy is also a member of CACCF (Canadian Addiction Counselor Certification Federation).


When Ivy is not working, you can find her singing, playing guitar, cooking, chalk painting, reading, watching movies, meditating, working out, traveling or just hanging out with her family and friends.


Schedule your 30-minute complimentary session to see if My Resilient Recovery coaching is right for you.