July 2021 - Hader Clinic Queensland

Steve’s Drug Addiction Recovery

After being put in jail in his early fifties, Steve completed the residential addiction treatment program for drug addiction with the Hader Clinic Queensland. This is his story.

Hey, my name’s Steve, and I’m fifty-five years old. I’m currently undertaking the Hader Clinic Queensland’s residential addiction treatment program. I’ve been a drug user for over forty years. You could say that before I went to the Hader Clinic Queensland, that I knew no other life.

It all started in my early teens. My old man, who’s an ex-bikie, called me and my brother into the kitchen one night. He had some hash on the stove and he said, “go on, try it”. We smoked it thorough an old milk bottle with the bottom broken out of it and two knives on the stove.

So, my brother and I used to smoke hash underneath the house with Dad. We’d be up all-night giggling. We all thought it was bloody great. And that’s where it really started. Later on, I got into the weed and after I got married and started working a lot of twelve-hour shifts, I started getting into the speed and then got into the rock (ice), and things just got worse.

I got really bad into the ice when my mother died, and I’ve never really gotten over that. That was about ten to fifteen years ago.

My wife never got into the ice or anything. I got her into it about ten years ago. I wish now that I’d never let her try it. I was working in transport. We’ve always been pot smokers – and hash, and got onto the eccies, and acid trips. Had a crack at everything except heroin. I’ve always been a smoker, not an injector.

The smoking of meth caused aneurysms in my brain. I haven’t had them attended to yet but smoking all that crack gave them to me. It’s a good reason to stay off it.

How did I get to rehab? Well, that’s a bit of a story. When COVID-19 hit, the price of meth went through the roof. So, my partner and I turned to selling to maintain our habit. Then I got caught and sent to jail. I was there for three months and was offered the opportunity to be bailed, so long as I went to a live-in rehab, which I did for three months and had to wear a tracker on my ankle.

Honestly, I had no clue that rehab even existed – that there was a place that could help people like me. I just thought it was a way to get out of jail. Initially, I didn’t want to be there when I was in jail, but then I got there and started learning about the 12-step program.

I started reading the text.

“This is about me,” I thought. Being raided by the cops saved my life. The pain of trying to maintain my addiction through COVID-19 had planted the seed in my mind that I’d had enough.  Once I started reading about it, I started liking it – and then I started learning it. I thought, “I have to do this”.

And I did do it. And I’m going to stay clean.

While I was devastated to be in prison, I was relieved at the same time. I didn’t touch drugs in jail. I decided that I wanted to stop using for good.

My partner, however, wasn’t keen on stopping. Before we got raided, we were arguing a lot – we’d never been like that before. I said, “this has got to stop. I’ve had enough”.

I was relieved when we were raided. Yes, I was finished, you know. Because my partner didn’t want to get clean, it stopped me. You really have to both want the same thing in order to stay away from the drugs.

At my worst, I’d be collapsing to the ground and not knowing I had these aneurysms. I thought it was just the gear, that I was tired. However, it was way more serious.

At the rehab, I really liked Donna and Mark. It wasn’t all roses with Mark, I got myself into some arguments and I had to write a 500-word awareness essay because I coughed and farted at the same time, and someone complained. I can laugh about it now.

There were a few blues, but when I finished, I bought them all a box of chocolates and said “thank you”. They’re all good people and they are all doing a tough job.

My life is completely different.

A typical day involves getting up and going to check in. Then I come home and work in my two big sheds. I used to fix lawnmowers and motorcycles but that went past the wayside, and it all grew into a bit of a mess. I’ve been fixing up the yard and cleaning up the sheds. It keeps me busy.

I go to a meeting at 7pm, usually after tea.

I have a sponsor, who also attended Hader Clinic Queensland. He gives me solutions and answers to the questions. He meets me in the coffee shop outside the Hader Clinic Queensland.

My wife comes to meetings with me and is now clean. It’s fantastic.

I was about to do Step Four of the 12 steps, but my sponsor suggested to go back and do the first three which has been fantastic. In the rehab, you tend to rush them, especially if you haven’t done them before. It wasn’t until I did the first step again that I got a good understanding of how it all works.

I said to my wife, “I get how this works”, and she said, “Maybe I should give it a go too”.

She’s been through it with me. She was jailed for a month. She has been so great, loving and understanding. I couldn’t do it if she wasn’t clean.

Our kids are proud – they’ve never touched drugs and for that I am so grateful. I’ve never hidden my using from them. They can see that there’s no happy ending with them.

I am grateful and happy to be in recovery. I’m living a life now that I never knew could be possible. I have court proceedings ahead of me and I have still been able to stay clean despite the stress of this. Thank you to Hader Clinic Queensland for all your support and help.

Eleven Signs Your Drinking may be More Than Social

Spotting the warning signs of unhealthy alcohol consumption can be difficult; because alcohol is everywhere and drinking is not just socially accepted but somewhat expected in Australian culture.

It is easy to find a good excuse to have a drink. Knock-off drinks on a Tuesday, big nights out on the weekend, birthdays, engagements, work functions, Sunday afternoon barbeques… the list goes on.

There is a fine like between social drinking and habitual drinking; and while it can be confronting to take an honest look at your drinking habits, it is nonetheless an important thing to do.

If you are suspecting that your drinking habits are getting out of control, or if you feel like you are developing an alcohol dependency, it might be time to re-think your drinking behaviour. It’s never easy to address uncomfortable truths, in fact, it can be hard to know where to start the process.

The following questions are designed to kick-start your introspective – take your time and answer honestly. Remember, you are not the only one going through this; and it’s never too late to get help and change.

How much are you actually drinking?
When we talk about alcoholism, we usually distinguish between heavy drinkers and binge drinkers. Per current definition, heavy drinking constitutes more than four standard drinks per day/fourteen standard drinks per week for men and three standard drinks per day/seven standard drinks per week for women. The term binge drinking describes less frequent but very hard drinking behaviour; more than five standard drinks within two hours for men, four or more for women.
If you exceed the weekly or daily limits, you might be at risk.

Are you drinking on your own?
If you no longer require company to drink and have started drinking regularly on your own at home, it might be time to start monitoring your intake more closely. There is nothing wrong with a quiet beer or wine on the deck after a hard week; however, if you feel you can’t unwind without alcohol, this could mean you are developing a dependency.

Are you drinking secretly?
Secrets are never a good thing when it comes to alcohol consumption. If you feel you must lie about how much and how frequently you drink to avoid judgement, it’s time to put on the breaks and rethink your behaviour.

You might think you are protecting your loved ones, friends, and colleagues by bending the truth about your drinking habits; but at the end of the day, transparency it always the best policy.

Do you feel guilty about drinking?
Problem drinkers are usually in denial about their unhealthy habits; however, even the most powerful denial can’t keep feelings of guilt at bay.

While some might describe drinking as a ‘guilty pleasure’, once the guilt takes over there is nothing pleasurable left – and if you’re not drinking for pleasure, you might be drinking for the wrong reasons.

Is your drinking causing problems?
To be clear, you don’t have to be a rock-bottom level alcoholic to acknowledge that your drinking habits are problematic. Even seemingly small things can be red flags for alcohol abuse.

Do you spend more money on alcohol than you should? Are your drinking habits causing arguments with your partner? Have you missed work or school because you drank too much the night before? Have you engaged in unsafe behaviour while intoxicated?

There is no shame in admitting that things have spun out of control; but the sooner you acknowledge these issues the sooner you can address them.

How often do you think about alcohol?
Are you spending a disproportionate amount of time thinking about when you will have your next drink/where you will procure your next drink/how soon it will be socially acceptable to have a drink? Do you think about having a drink as soon as you wake up? Do you worry about not being able to have a drink until much later in the day?

If alcohol is a source of anxiety and rumination, you might need to consider seeking help to adjust your drinking behaviours.

Are you experiencing extreme mood swings?
Alcohol abuse doesn’t just impact your physical health, it also destabilises your mental health.

If you find yourself getting snappy and agitated over small things, impatient with loved ones and generally unable to cope with life’s little annoyances, your drinking habits could be part of the problem.

Even high-functioning alcoholics – who are holding down a job, paying the mortgage and maintaining relationships – aren’t immune to mood swings; so, if you’re reactions are out of character and out of your control, it might be time to seek help.

Do you drink first thing in the morning?
Feeling the need to have a drink as soon as you wake up and being unable to resist this need is a huge red flag. Drinking in the morning often translates to ‘drinking to feel normal’, which is the very definition of alcohol dependency.

Can you stop yourself from having ‘just one more’?
Drinking alcohol becomes a problem when you are no longer in control of your intake. Often this means going out for ‘a drink’ and staying until the bar runs dry or the money runs out.

If you can’t stop drinking once you have started, it can be a sign that your alcohol consumption has moved outside your control; and that professional help might be needed to change your habits.

Are you neglecting your responsibilities?
Alcohol dependency tends to get in the way of fulfilling your responsibilities.

You might be late to pick up the kids because you got waylaid at the pub. Perhaps you missed an important meeting because you overslept with a hangover. It could be something as simple as not contributing to the housework because you are too busy having a relaxing drink (and then some) on the couch.

If you find that you prioritise drinking over everyday tasks, it is time to examine your behaviour and get help.

Is the fun gone?
Can you still enjoy yourself without having to drink alcohol? Do you still get pleasure from simple things, like hanging out with your partner on the sofa or having a quiet coffee or walk with a friend? Or are ever-present cravings and thoughts of alcohol getting in the way of having a good time sober?

No one deserves a joyless existence; and there are many options available to help you break this cycle of misery. The Hader Clinic Queensland can help you with Alcohol Addiction Treatment today.

What are the Signs of Addiction?

Addiction is a serious issue, whether it be to alcohol or drugs. It can be difficult to recognise if you or someone you know has an addiction problem, and when they need residential addiction treatment.

Addiction is defined as a chronic disease which affects many of the brain’s functions such as reward, motivation and memory. If you have an addiction, you will crave a substance or type of behaviour, and you will ignore the other areas of your life to maintain your desire.

Common signs of addiction are:

  • You have a lack of control or an inability to stay away from the substance or behaviour
  • You experience decreased socialisation or you pull out of commitments or ignore your relationships
  • You ignore other risk factors such as sharing needles despite being aware of consequences
  • There are physical effects such as withdrawal symptoms or requiring a higher dosage to feel the effect

The intensity of your addiction may depend on how long it has been going on or the type and amount of the substance you use. Individuals without addictions can often identify a negative behaviour and remove it from their life, however if you have an addiction, you will find a way to justify the addiction rather than getting rid of it.

In order to get help, you must recognise the signs of addictions. These may be physical, mental or emotional. For example, you may experience changes in your personality, your weight, or how your loved ones act around you.

There are many types of substances you can be addicted to. It may include one or multiple of these:

There are also various behavioural addictions, such as:

  • Gambling
  • Shopping
  • Video games
  • Internet
  • Sex
  • Working

Whatever it is that you are addicted to, it is important to recognise the signs early on and seek help if required.

Often, individuals with addictions show signs, such as:

  • Lacking interest in previously enjoyed hobbies
  • Neglecting loved ones
  • Missing important events
  • Taking risks
  • Ignoring consequences of actions
  • Keeping secrets
  • Bloodshot eyes
  • Change in weight
  • Memory loss
  • Changes in mood
  • Aggression

Addictions can severely impact your life. For this reason, it is important to reach out and get help, so you can begin to move forward with your life and go down a healthier path.

If you’re struggling with an addiction, The Hader Clinic Queensland can help you understand how you can get on the road to recovery.

Paul’s Addiction Recovery

After starting drugs at twelve and alcohol at thirteen, Paul started a journey of drug & alcohol abuse that would change his life. After completing drug and alcohol addiction treatment, Paul shares his story.

Hi my name is Paul and I now live in Western Australia. I’m 31 and in my first year of study doing a Bachelor of Christian Theology. I also work casually as a support worker for a rehab here.

I’m sharing my story to give those who are struggling with addiction some hope and reassurance that sometimes the journey to success is not linear.

My substances of abuse were alcohol and meth, especially at any time I needed to stay awake. However, alcohol was my favourite as it took all of my inhibitions away, and warmed me up to use Meth.

The journey to addiction started insidiously. I started experimenting with weed when I was twelve. That was all fun and games until I was introduced to alcohol at thirteen.

I LOVED alcohol right from the get go. I loved what it did for me, I loved the effect – it took away my cares, my worries, and made me feel invincible.

I would drink every single weekend. However, I drank differently to my peers. I wanted more. There seemed to be no “off switch”. I would be thinking about, and craving the next weekend’s drinks. As soon as I stopped, I’d be thinking about drinking again. I was fourteen.

My teenage years were essentially divided into two separate lives – there was the sportsman who was a keen footy player and the captain of the team. Then there was the life of drinking heavily on the weekend.

When I finished high school, my drinking increased. I played one more season of footy and then I gave it away and became a bartender.

I let go of all of my sporting fitness. At that stage I didn’t have a plan to go to university. I just wanted to have fun.

Working in a bar, my sleep patterns began to change. I’d be up at night drinking and then sleeping for the majority of the day.

This is when I started using cocaine and dexies to stay awake.

When I was twenty one, I got a job in the mines. That’s when I tried meth. I thought it was a party drug. I was pretty much hooked from my first time using it. Because I was working in the mines, it was easy, I could afford it.

I could also work my way around the testing system. I could use for four days, then stop for three and it would be out of my system. I did this for the eight years I worked in the mines.

A relationship with a girl got me tapered off meth. However, the drinking took over, as well as doing party drugs like cocaine, ecstasy and so on. Drinking was always a problem and got in the way of everything.

I was able to hide it from her over the two years that we were together. However, I knew the relationship wasn’t going to work out as I was unfaithful.

After the break up, I fell into a pit of despair. At 23, that’s when I got right back on it.

The experts talk about it being progressive and that’s been my experience.

I would get a new job or friendship group to dry out and start fresh. I kept using in secret. I figured that “if nobody knew, it wasn’t happening”.

In 2017, at twenty eight, I lost everything. I was unemployed, friendless, stuck with my parents and my behaviour was odd and erratic. My parents organised for me to go the Hader Clinic Queensland.

I had no other option. I knew that I had a problem.

It was surreal walking down those stairs into rehab. I thought that everyone was waiting there for me – I was in psychosis.

I was shy, timid and really broken. I couldn’t talk to anyone. There seemed to be two types of people in rehab – the expressive, outgoing, jovial sort and then there were shy, timid recluses like myself.

Fifteen days in, I had started to really detox and realised that thirty days would not be long enough. I extended my time, because I knew that if I went back to Perth, that I was just going to pick up.

I extended my stay to ninety days. It was exactly what I needed. I was still smoking cigarettes though. I have since quit those as well.

I did transition and didn’t want to go back home. I started a relationship with a girl in the transition house. I knew it was wrong, but I kept it a secret. This went against the rehab’s rules – even though I was doing everything else right.

Our relationship did not work out and my recovery went out the door emotionally and physically at five to six months’ clean. I was trying to hide my secret relationship and couldn’t talk honestly to anyone. I relapsed four days before I left Transition. I used for one weekend, then stopped.

Having been introduced to the 12 Step Program by the Hader Clinic Queensland I stayed close to those groups. I had my own place by then. I obviously got booted out of the transition house. My relationship started again. I relapsed again at 44 days. Then I had to come back to Perth. I was broken again. I didn’t want to use, but I felt like I’d ripped a scab off and reopened the wound.

I returned to Perth. I tried to stay clean on the 12 Step program. I was living with my Mum. Two months in I met a man at a meeting who suggested that I go back into rehab. However, I picked up again at 50 days’ clean.

I’d always run into the same emotional pain, so I’d pick, so I knew in December 2018, I had to go back into rehab – I had to attend locally. This rehab was a bit different, there was no smoking plus there was a support system in place where you picked up on each other’s behaviour. It was hardcore. I lasted thirteen weeks.

I had a family issue pop up, then I left the rehab and subsequently relapsed.

By March 2019, I was the worst that I had ever been. I was hanging out with older using mates. I didn’t have any self care routine. I injured myself badly as a result of the using.

At this stage I had this belief in a Higher Power, so I asked God, “what do I need to do?”

Something told me to go back to rehab. I went back to the rehab that I had just left on the 2nd May, 2019. I stayed there for a year.

Eight months into rehab I started reading the Bible. It struck a chord. I started to read it every day.

I got to step seven in the 12 Step program and realised that I needed a “Higher Power”. And that is how I found God. I was baptised in 2020 and started studying a Diploma of Theology.

Now I have been clean for two years and a month. Life is completely and unimaginably different.

Now I am studying for my degree in Christian Theology. I’m obviously still working out life as I go, but I know I have God on my side.

If I had anything to share, it would be “don’t doubt yourself!”, and “have faith that there is something better, different in life. You can live a good life free from addiction.”

Hopefully my story can help you if you are struggling with relapse. The Hader Clinic Queensland was my first real step in the journey towards recovery, where I learned about the 12 Step program. However, it wasn’t quite the end of the story and that’s OK. Keep at it and believe there is a better life waiting for you if you work your program and stay clean.

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