December 2020 - Hader Clinic Queensland

JJ’s Addiction Recovery

JJ is a support worker at our addiction treatment centre and has lived experience of addiction. Sometimes it takes an addict to understand how best to support another addict.

Hi, my name is JJ. I’m a support worker at the Hader Clinic Queensland’s residential facility. I love my job which entails supporting addicts in the early stages of recovery.

At the height of my addiction, I was a poly user – that is, I used anything and everything I could lay my hands on. I was in foster care at eight years old, and moved from institution to institution until 2002. I was stuck in the cycle of addiction, I didn’t know any different.

Fortunately, my first stint at rehab taught me about the Fellowship and how to create order, structure and routine in my life.

I got married, ran a successful business, owned a few houses. Life was sweet until 2014, when I began to have some marital issues. I fell back into drugs trying to cope.

My ice addiction cost me my home, my businesses, my marriage – basically everything I’d worked hard for in my life.

However, my love of the fellowship, and again, attending rehab, got me back into the swing of working my daily program and staying clean. In fact, I’m a month off knocking over five years today.

I think residential rehab is possibly the best tool to allow recovery to happen. The benefits of stepping out of everyday life to focus on healing yourself and recovering from addiction are priceless.

Residential rehab removes all outside worries away and removes the distractions that can distract someone from their recovery.

Additionally, a good rehab program has all types of programs to help you get back into life as a recovering addict, rather than someone in active addiction. Working on fitness, cooking classes, cleaning, doing your washing – it all helps create a positive routine.

Plus, there’s the mind work and programs that help undo all the negative self talk and blaming, for example, “I’m not good enough,” “I’m a lost cause where using is concerned,” and “it’s my family’s fault that I turned out this way”.

Rehab makes you stop and look at yourself critically without the pressure of what the world thinks of you, or what the world has done to you to make you sink this low.

Of course, we have some people that have been using for a long time. Sometimes it takes a while to adapt to a new routine. Half of it is helping people realise that they need to “surrender” and then embrace the concept of living, and working, a daily program to stay clean.

What I love about the fellowship and our rehab program is that it’s evidence based.

Everyone slots into a spot within the fellowship and rehab program seamlessly.

At any one time at rehab and within our therapeutic community, we have support workers, people who are learning to work the program, and people who come and visit on what we call “give back”.

This whole cycle is what makes the fellowship and our rehab work so well.

Five years ago, as I finished my rehab, I wrote down my goals and dreams. Suffering addiction propelled me to wants to lead a different life. I left the construction industry and started doing support work. And I haven’t looked back. Today I really am living the life I dreamed about five years ago.

I believe that being in the grip of addiction can give you the gift of desperation that makes you want to change.

If an addict can continuously remember how bad their addiction had them feeling, along with the feelings of guilt, shame, isolation etc, often it’s a good way of staying clean. It’s far more appealing than having to deal with the fallout from addiction.

People walk down our stairs broken, they start to feel better in addiction. However, some people believe they an just go home and go back to “normal”. We know that in recovery, you’ll never go back to the old “normal”. You need to be prepared to take responsibility for creating that “new normal”.

Once the veil of addiction is removed, often we find that several “home truths” are revealed. If someone can see those truths and understand that they need to behave differently, then we are ahead already.

Many of us try to make ourselves feel better with a narrative that isn’t always truthful – “I’m not that bad,”, “Why should it matter, I’m not hurting anyone,” are a few good ones.

Rehab identifies and challenges these ideas and teaches people the tools they need to manage their behaviours – I reckon drug use a learned behaviour – we weren’t born using – we started and it became a habit.

The other thing to remember is, that in the scheme of things, rehab is a relatively short period of time, when you consider the concept of lifelong abstinence.

That’s where the Fellowship comes in, having a sponsor, and then being able to sponsor others yourself. This is why lived experience of addiction is valuable – it helps people to connect without fear of judgment or shame.

And that is the main thing – connection is the opposite of addiction and the isolation that goes with it.

When clients stay connected to the rehab by participating in programs like our “give back”, they tend to be the most successful at long term recovery.

Recovery and fellowship provide relief from the chaos and pain of addiction and provide us with purpose.

I believe that our Fellowship carries a message of hope to those suffering from addiction and if you’re in this position and reading this, I look forward to sharing that hope with you in person at The Hader Clinic Queensland.

Thanks for sharing my story, recovery rocks!

Bringing Our Son “Home” For Christmas

Sophie’s son Darren recently undertook the ninety day residential addiction treatment program at The Hader Clinic Queensland to treat his addiction to ice.

Hi, my name is Sophie. I live in Victoria, and my son, Darren, lives in Queensland. Darren.

He is now completing the extensive out patient program at The Hader Clinic’s main office in Brisbane after completing their residential addiction treatment program.

At the moment, though, he’s here with me visiting for Christmas, which is exciting for both of us, as the coronavirus outbreak in Melbourne prevented us from seeing each other.

Darren’s story starts twenty years ago – he started using marijuana at school and along the way graduated to other drugs, which then culminated in an addiction to ice.

We didn’t really know the extent of his drug use. We would have patches where we were aware he was dabbling in drugs, then periods where we were none the wiser.

In fact, we only discovered the gravity of his addiction when he got into serious trouble with his addiction in March. He was suffering from psychotic episodes as a result of his ice use.

Darren married Ingrid four years ago. Twice he’s left her and separated. Now I believe a large part of this is drug related. However, now that he’s undergone treatment for his addiction, he’s started to reconnect with her and his sixteen year old step daughter.

Until Darren came along, Ingrid had never had any experience of drug use in her life. She comes from a conservative family and has found the whole addiction experience challenging and confronting.

She’s dealt with him leaving her and also with him telling her that his behaviour was normal, when, of course, it was far from that!

However, despite these challenges, she has been a great support to him.

Darren moved to Queensland in 2012 for a fresh start after he lost his license for drink and drug driving. He lost his license at one stage for four years.

When he attended The Hader Clinic Queensland, he started off by thinking that he only had a drug problem. The extensive education he received during his time at rehab helped him to understand that alcohol was also addictive for him.

He’s taken this on board, that he must remain abstinent from both drugs and alcohol to have any chance of being successful in long term recovery.

He’s attending NA meetings and has even booked into some in Victoria, while he is visiting us. He is putting himself and his recovery first.

Even in the short amount of time we have spent with him since his treatment has been reaffirming. When we picked Darren up from the airport, we spent such a lovely afternoon together catching up.

The old Darren would have wanted to go straight to the bottle shop.

We had hoped that Darren would change his drug taking ways when he had a car accident 18 months ago.

He had stopped using for a few days but was still experiencing psychosis. The car was written off – he hit a power pole at speed, completely smashing the front driver’s side of the car in.

He was lucky to survive it. He’s also very lucky that he didn’t injure anybody else.

We thought that this scare would have been enough to stop him from using.

However, it was a temporary fix as six months’ later he was back using and worse than ever.

When he started experiencing regular psychotic episodes, which really peaked in March, he begged for help.

With Covid-19 lockdowns in place, it was very difficult to help him from Victoria. One rehab centre that I phoned even turned him away.

Thank goodness I discovered The Hader Clinic Queensland. It was the best decision we could have made.

I found The Hader Clinic Queensland via an internet search. The website is extensive and packed with information about addiction, not to mention there are several stories that relate to people’s experiences of addiction, both from the addict’s and family’s points of view.

We were also very impressed by the full program that the clinic offered – with Darren saying that he wanted to be kept busy during his treatment.

We cannot get over the changes in Darren – in the past, you never really got the full story about anything from him. Since he’s been staying with us, he’s been honest and open about everything. It’s really helping us to rebuild our relationship.

One other thing I wanted to mention was that many of the staff who work for The Hader Clinic Queensland have lived experience of addiction. To see how well they live their life now and how they help others is inspiring, and gives families that all important hope that recovery is possible.

It has been a long roller coaster for my husband and me over the last twenty years, but at last we actually believe that Darren is now able to make the changes to his life that he needs to – and that support is always just around the corner.

We can’t thank The Hader Clinic Queensland enough for bringing our son “home” for Christmas.

Rehab For Christmas

Christmas can be one of the best times to get addiction treatment. Here are some good reasons to consider spending Christmas in rehab.

Although the Christmas season is usually promoted as being happy and joy filled, for many people, it can be anything but. Christmas can highlight family wounds, disappointments, depression and dysfunctional relationships.

Christmas can be particularly tough on those who are suffering from addiction – the season can amplify the shame of the disease, trigger relapse or excessive use of addictive substances, especially if the addict is exposed to environments that contributed to the addiction in the first place.

Choosing to be admitted into rehab during Christmas doesn’t initially appear to make the most of the festive season, however, it can be one of the best times to tackle the disease of addiction.

It may not be the most joyous time of year for a family

A dysfunctional, unstable family environment often contributes to substance abuse. Fractured and strained family relationships may be a trigger to use excessively – and the guilt and shame that an addict may feel about not being able to control their addiction can often bubble up to the surface and create tension.

From the family point of view, other family members can be angry at the addict’s lack of drive to seek treatment, and also be angry with the addict for creating unnecessary drama due to their addiction.

For an addict, although rehab doesn’t sound exactly celebratory, it is a far better alternative than being passed out under the family Christmas tree.

An addict can get away from a trigger fuelled environment

Heading into rehab over Christmas means that an addict can successfully remove themselves from a trigger fuelled environment – the places, people and times that may propel someone deeper into addiction.

For many addicts, removing these barriers to recovery, provides welcome psychological relief from their struggles.

A quieter environment and personalised attention

Rehabilitation centres are traditionally quieter during the holiday period. However, the number of staff remains the same. This means that there is typically a higher staff to patient ratio at this time, which means an addiction sufferer will receive more individual attention and potentially get better help.

A therapeutic community to support addiction sufferers at the most stressful time of year

Christmas can often amplify the feelings of isolation and disconnection an addiction sufferer can experience.

In rehab, the addict is enveloped by the support of a therapeutic community, whose sole aim is to support a lifestyle that is free from drugs and alcohol, not to mention the associated behaviours that go with addiction.

Plus, the staff at The Hader Clinic Queensland are keen to teach clients the tools they need to maintain a life of sobriety.

Residential rehab provides a safe haven for the addict and their family

Residential rehab can provide a safe environment for an addict, particularly over the Christmas break. In rehab, there is no one to tempt them with a drink or other illicit drugs. They have uninterrupted time to focus on themselves and their recovery, free from the distractions of the outside world.

For families, admission of their addicted loved one into rehab can provide a sense of relief, knowing that they are safe and well cared for – that they don’t have to be “on guard” or worried about the trouble their loved one may potentially be in.

The most precious gift of all

Freedom from the chains of addiction is arguably the best gift of all – the freedom of sobriety is a gift that money can’t buy.

Starting treatment before the New Year can help provide the “fresh start” that many sufferers of addiction crave, but cannot achieve (without the right help).

The Hader Clinic Queensland has availability for Christmas admissions in 2020. Please call us on 1300 856 847 for a confidential chat about how we can help you or your loved one.

Addiction Treatment Gave My Daughter Back to Me

As a mother, you only wish the very best for your children. Christine’s daughter, Rachael, had a bad relationship with alcohol and cannabis for years. She’s now thirty, and recently completed the residential addiction treatment program. This is Christine’s story.

She completed treatment about five months ago, and since she’s been out, she’s bought a house with her partner in Central Queensland, in the middle of nowhere, actually.  Treatment has given her confidence, maturity and as a result she’s become more caring.

I knew for years that Rachael was having issues with both alcohol and cannabis. Every time I’d try to confront her, she’d say, “I’ll do something about it”. However, nothing changed. It went on and on and I realised the truth of that old phrase, “you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink”.

She had to make up her own mind about going to rehab, which eventually she did.

She came down the steps one day and said, “guess what, Mum? I’ve rung a few clinics and I’m going to rehab.”

I nearly fell off my perch.

“WHAT,” I said. I couldn’t believe it.

What triggered the change of heart was that Rachael’s partner, broke off their relationship, because he didn’t want drugs and alcohol in it. Rachael had moved home and I’m not sure if she would have gone to rehab if Ken hadn’t broken things off with her.

Rachael said, “that was the catalyst that made me realise that I couldn’t go on”.

Rachael picked The Hader Clinic Queensland because it was a residential program. She had spoken to the doctor here about it six months before, and she was told that she could go to a clinic as a day patient.

She said to me at the time, “that’s no good, I know myself too well.” She thought she’d go to day rehab but as soon as she got home would be on the grog or the weed.

We had an amazing drive down from Port Douglas to the rehab clinic on the Sunshine Coast. It was a good time for both of us. We had a lot of laughs, we communicated really well the whole way down. It took us four days and three nights to get there with seven or eight hours of driving each day.

Yes, we had a great time. We’re more than mother and daughter, we’re best friends. She’s always told me everything that goes on in her life and always comes to me with her problems.

That’s why I say, it was up to her to take the initiative.

You have to want recovery. It’s no good trying to force someone into recovery, they have to want it for themselves. The good news is that Rachael and Ken are back together.

She’s even got herself a job now. She’s working in a nursing home doing administration and arts and crafts with the residents – which she just loves, because she is very artistic.
Ken, her partner, is a chef who has taken on regular work, rather than split shifts so he can be with, and care for Rachael.

He’s been absolutely marvellous, very supportive. Thank God for Ken and thank God for the Hader Clinic Queensland.

I participated in The Hader Clinic Queensland’s family work online and Ken did a visit to the rehab on the Sunday before he picked her up to bring her home.

She spoke to me extensively about her experience in rehab. At the end of rehab, Rachael felt like she was leaving a bunch of brothers and sisters, because they always helped each other out. She felt that she lost a special bit of support upon leaving.

Rachael attends online meetings five or six days a week. She says that her experience of the meetings is up and down – depending on which one she goes to – and that sometimes she just needs the connection with others who are dealing with the same issues that she is – they can support each other in recovery.

She did struggle a bit and got a bit teary at the thought that she could never celebrate another event with an alcoholic drink.

However, she’s found some non alcoholic beer that she really enjoys and has moved on from that. Nobody knows any different, you can still socialise.

The day I dropped her off at the office at the rehab, the staff told me that I was free to leave..well I just burst into tears. I think I drove as far as Charters Towers and thought, “I can’t drive and cry at the same time!”

So… I had to wipe those tears away and put my foot down.

It’s really been a blessing. I guess my take home message is that the person has to be ready to recover. There’s mental illness in the family and I’ve just learned you can’t always push them. They have got to be ready to get help.

I was very hands off in letting her deal with it. There were always gentle hints and as I said, that Ken broke up with her.. that was the catalyst. She was drinking more than she was earning and then buying weed on top of that was ridiculous.

Plus, her health was shocking. She’s got a rare blood cancer – and all the alcohol abuse was exacerbating all the symptoms – and she knew that. She wouldn’t listen to me when I tried to tell her that she was drinking herself into an early grave.

Her health is much better now. She has more energy, and she’s mentally much better too.

Before treatment, she was continually in tears. Since she’s come out of rehab there have only been tears once or twice for truly legitimate reasons.

The whole family is very proud of Rachael for taking the steps towards recovery. She didn’t want to hide it. She thought I might be ashamed, but, I told her, “no way, that I couldn’t be more proud”.

I shared her story with our family and friends, because we are proud of her. It’s no longer hidden.

I am grateful to the Hader Clinic Queensland for giving my daughter back to me.”

Antonio’s Addiction Recovery

April 6 2018, is a day etched in Antonio’s mind. It’s his first clean day. Now 1000 days following treatment for alcohol addiction Antonio shares his recovery story.

My name’s Antonio. I’ve just turned 39, and never thought I’d be in a rehab clinic at the age of 36.

My substances of abuse were dope and booze. Oh, yes, I did dabble in the party drug scene, but they didn’t do it for me like alcohol and weed did.

I entered into the 90 day residential rehab program at The Hader Clinic Queensland and after my program, had to go straight back at work as it was an insanely busy time of year.

Life outside of rehab has been tough. I was ready to give up my addiction, but learning to live with a new normal and get back into life has been quite challenging.

Using dope and alcohol ended up being a way of surviving for me.

You see, I’d grown up with high levels of anxiety, irritability, anger and discontentment – I had thought this was all pretty normal, how everyone goes through life. However, when I received treatment, I began to understand that I was suffering from some mental health issues.

It wasn’t something that anyone talked about when I was a kid, I just accepted it.

I had always dabbled in dope, and didn’t actually drink that much initially. The whole way through my addiction, I funded my habit – and grew my own weed.

What really set me off was cheating on my wife and having an affair.

At this stage I had started to take medication for anxiety and I was combining this with drinking – I would end up in a semi euphoric state where I wouldn’t know or care what I was doing. I had little thought about the consequences.

Once I added dope into the mix, I’d be off my face and into oblivion.

During this time, a girl came onto the scene who showed interest in me. I was flattered.  It felt good, so I went with it.

Eventually it came to an end and my drinking became an even bigger issue.

One Thursday evening, I was drunk and out of my tree. My wife ended up giving me an ultimatum – do something about my addiction or she would leave. She was sick of it.

Meanwhile, I was a blubbering, incoherent mess.

I ended up staying at my sister’s place overnight and they got me into The Hader Clinic Queensland – I arrived on the doorstep on Monday morning.

Rehab, initially, was a complete shock for me. When I entered, I had three clean days under my belt. However, I was anxious being away from my kids, plus I couldn’t call them for the first week. I was also trying to manage my anxiety medication.

That first week was terrible. I spent a lot of time, sitting alone, crying, feeling a sense of shame that rehab was where I had ended up at 36.

However, I did get through that week, and things started to look up.

I was able to call the kids.

I saw my wife and family during week two.

I had a long chat to my wife who told me that I needed to take the time to really work on myself and not to worry about them.

I could see that I had a decision to make – either sink back into my shell and continue to live the same tortured life, or to believe in the program, listen to others and give things a good go. I’m glad I chose the latter.

During my time at the Clinic I kept busy, I started an exercise program and I started praying.

I’m still praying.

I was at the stage of my addiction where I had no choice but to surrender to, and believe in the program.

I still go to meetings. Initially, I went to two a week but usually it’s one a week unless work gets in the way. I enjoy sharing my story with others and I enjoy hearing about how others are progressing.

What keeps me clean is that I’m not depressed anymore. Using weed all the time got me into a state of deep depression.

I also realised that I was using to try and help myself sleep. The psychiatrist, Andy, was an invaluable help here. Thanks to him I have found the perfect balance of medication that address anxiety and help me sleep.

After I came out of rehab, many of my friends fell by the wayside. People who I’d considered best mates (and who I’d used with) didn’t want to hang out with me anymore. Perhaps they understand it’s because I no longer use. That’s OK.

Every now and again I miss having a beer on a Friday arvo. However, I don’t miss that horrible feeling of being unable to stop myself and then wanting to layer a cone on top of that as well.

I still feel that pain.

However, l understand that the only way to manage my mental health is to stay clean. It’s a promise I made to myself while I was in rehab. I don’t want to use.

I also don’t want my addiction experience defining me as a person. It’s just one part of my life, but it’s not the whole story.

The relationship with my wife and kids, 11 and 8, has improved dramatically. We’ve worked through a lot and weathered some storms, but my wife has trust in me now. That’s important to me.

If I had any advice on staying clean in the long term, it’s to keep “plugging away” at it. One day at a time is really how I manage it.

I’m grateful for the opportunity to have attended rehab and am looking forward to the future.

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