Doug Desenberg

Executive Director

 

I literally have the coolest job in the world, though I really don’t think of it as a job….It’s just this amazingly fulfilling, fun thing I get to do every day. I believe I am doing exactly what I was put on this earth to do today. 

 

My role at Rejuvenate Homes evolved organically and 100% as the result of constantly and unwaveringly focusing on 2 things; my recovery and service to others. It started when I came to Minnesota  for inpatient treatment at The Retreat. After treatment I moved into The Dayton House as a resident. On the one year anniversary of my sobriety, I was asked to serve as House Manager at Dayton House. Several months later I started doing marketing and admissions on a part time basis. That role became a full-time position in November 2017 and a year later I became Executive Director. 

 

Full disclosure; I never intended to stay in St. Paul. I had struck a bargain with a generous benefactor that they’d finance my badly needed treatment if I agreed to do it at The Retreat and then go to Sober Living for 6 months. My plan was to get back to my so-called life in New York ASAP. As it turned out, the universe had a way different plan……a much better plan. I’ve since learned that this is invariably the case when I get the heck out of the way. 

 

I arrived in treatment feeling hopelessly addicted to opiates (and a few other substances,) completely broken in every way…. physically, spiritually, mentally.  I was a total mess and really scared....fully broken and broke. During my 30 days in The Retreat, somehow the simple message of recovery through the 12 steps got through to my messed-up brain. I realized that in order to stay sober and thrive, I was going to have to work a legit program of recovery, change everything and everyone in my life and immerse myself in the community of recovering people. Frankly, I was no better when I left treatment than I’d been when I got there. If anything, I was worse, in fact I was one of the guys in treatment that everyone sort of said “he’s so screwed!” I arrived at Dayton House broken and broke....yet with a tiny glimmer of hope based on what I'd experienced in The Retreat. I had one month of sober living paid for, 2 weeks left on a pre-paid cellphone and $3 in my pocket....From that low point sprung the best life I could ever imagine. I am certain that my time spent  in a Rejuvenate Homes Sober Living environment, in the heart of the St. Paul Minnesota community of recovering people was the absolute difference maker....also it's important to note; it was a lot of fun!

 

  In sober living I found a diverse, supportive environment in which I was able to safely take the necessary time to work the steps, to truly become fully immersed in the recovery community and to build a strong foundation of recovery. This does not happen overnight. It does not happen in 30 days of treatment.It does not happen in 2 or 3 months .  It’s a process. It takes time. Living in a 12 step based and community focused sober house gave me the time to do it safely, with lots of support, structure and accountability. It gave me the time to grow and to build the relationships I cherish so much today. Just today I've texted repeatedly with a couple of the guys I lived with in Dayton House. They're still in my life and a part of my "village" years after we actually lived together.

 

Today I don’t see myself ever leaving this place. The community of recovering people here in St. Paul is flat out amazing. I believe that immersion in the recovery community and helping men find and grow their own community of other recovering men are the primary functions of a quality Sober Living Environment. That’s what all of us at Rejuvenate Homes focus on every day. We are constantly living our mission and looking for new ways to help people in early recovery find what we’ve found. 

I am always available to talk with anyone who's trying to figure things out...men and women new to recovery, family members, anyone. Call me any time. 612-756-9339!