August 2023 - Hader Clinic Queensland

A Veteran’s Story of Alcohol Addiction and Recovery

After completing 90 days of Residential Addiction Treatment at Hader Clinic Queensland, Carlos is six months sober and moving forward with a positive outlook. This is his story.

I wasn’t really much of a drinker, my dad had an alcohol addiction and I didn’t want to be like him so I didn’t really drink, but then I joined the army and things changed. I got into drinking socially, it was a heavy drinking culture in the armed services, and then continued after when I became a tradesperson. I thought I was doing okay because my life looked good from the outside, but everything fell apart and I turned to drinking. My alcohol addiction kept getting worse until I went into the 90-day residential addiction treatment program at Hader Clinic Queensland.

When I joined the army, I really started drinking. They had these ‘boozer parades’ where it was mandatory that you turn up and drink. I was still doing well, I even got ‘Soldier of the Year’, but when I was drinking I was drinking hard. I was deployed during my time in the army, and I also had undiagnosed complex PTSD from a traumatic experience in my childhood. After the army, I became a tradesman, which involved a lot of social drinking. From there my drinking continued into partying, which I hadn’t been doing before.

Around this time I had my first child, and my partner had postnatal depression but didn’t want to get help with babysitters or anything like that. I did whatever I could to leave the house and go drinking, even hiding a lot of it from my partner. From the outside, we looked like a happy family as I built a house, and we had two children. We were trying to make it work. I was really into my fitness at the time and was only drinking on the weekends or on special occasions, but when I was drinking it was heavy.

Things started to change after my partner and I broke up. I started partying a lot and I got into a relationship with another alcoholic. Fitness began to take a sidestep, and I got into a car accident that rendered me unable to work. Because I was in this bad relationship and unable to work, I was just drinking all the time. After that relationship ended I was living in motels and my alcohol addiction was in full swing as I had nothing to do but drink due to not being able to work.

I was living in hotels at the time through the help of RSL, and my alcohol addiction was just so bad that I called them up one day and said I needed help. I couldn’t stop drinking, I couldn’t work, I was just so full of depression and suicidal, and I didn’t know what to do. RSL said I should try DVA-funded addiction treatment and suggested Hader Clinic Queensland, but that I had to make the call myself.

I ended up calling Hader Clinic Queensland when I was drunk, and they said I could go to the 90-day residential addiction treatment program in two weeks. At the time I was coming up with every excuse to try and push the start date back, but I realised that I was choosing to die instead of the opportunity to get better. So, I took the date in two weeks’ time. I drank all the way up until the night before I entered the residential addiction treatment at Hader Clinic Queensland, but I got into the taxi, and I started the program the next day.

I progressed through rehab thinking I would stay for just over a month, but I ended up finishing the whole program. It was about week 10 when I was doing the Exit Plan strategies that I realised that this was the first time in my life that I had actually tried to stop drinking. Previously I had tried cutting down and controlling it, but I’d never tried to stop. Since my time in the 90-day residential addiction treatment program at Hader Clinic Queensland, I have been smashing my goals. I go to meetings as much as possible, sometimes even driving to the coast to remind me of what I was thinking and feeling in rehab.

I’m coming up to 6 months sober and have been spending that time really focusing on my addiction recovery. I haven’t had the desire to drink, and I think it’s because I’ve stuck with the program. Get a sponsor, go to meetings, do step work very thoroughly, and I don’t lie. I have my kids every weekend now and we spend time just doing what we want to do together with no devices. Everything is starting to come together, and I’ve really been focusing on staying grounded.

The photograph of this client has been changed to protect their privacy.

Lily’s Story of Alcohol Addiction Recovery

After completing 29 days program of Alcohol Addiction Treatment at Hader Clinic Queensland, Lily is moving forward and embracing her sober life. This is her story.

I was an awkward kid. I was bullied at school and in general just felt socially inadequate. It wasn’t until university that I found alcohol could ‘help’ me fit in socially. I started drinking socially but unfortunately, it turned into a problem and I had to seek out alcohol addiction treatment. I was 11 years sober when I fell into a cycle of addiction again and engaged in alcohol detox at Hader Clinic Queensland.

I drank socially for many years at parties and special occasions. Around the time of my first marriage breaking up, I would look after the children, but I also had my own business and was working from home. Back then I would have a beer at lunch, in the afternoon, and then in the evening.

I really got into trouble with my drinking when my second husband and I moved overseas and worked as teachers. The expat community is a very social lifestyle with lots of parties and plenty of drinking. As it was so social, I was drinking heavily to fit in, however, it started to impact me socially because I was too drunk to engage with people properly. In retrospect I feel like the alcohol really changed me as a person, there were health issues and I was just not enjoying things that I used to, like playing with my kids.

I noticed I was having issues and decided to see a doctor when I was living overseas, and then a psychiatrist. I did some alcohol addiction treatment and managed to stay sober for approximately 11 years. During my long period of sobriety, I moved back to Australia and retired, my mother died very suddenly which had a big impact on me, and I just didn’t feel comfortable in my own skin. I isolated myself a bit as I’m quite introverted and wasn’t feeling comfortable socialising with people at the time.

A whole lot of things just happened and eventually, I ended up drinking again. It really upset me, and I was very annoyed at myself, but once I started, I couldn’t stop. It was worse than it had ever been, I tried stopping by myself, but it just wasn’t working. Eventually, I turned to my husband and my two daughters and said I need some tough love. I found Hader Clinic Queensland and thought the 29-day detox program would fit me, as long as I put the hard work in.

So, I went to Hader Clinic Queensland, I did everything I had to do to get my sobriety back. It was the right program for me, it was the intensive rehab program that taught me self-discipline and introduced me back to my recovery. The program provided me with all the tools for me to start my new life.

The therapeutic community helped me feel not alone as we share each other’s journey of the good and bad times days. The staff helped me with their lived experience strength and hope. The lead support worker Mark was great, he gave me all the tough love and support I needed to open my eyes, he taught me about the disease of addiction and how to deal with it. Mark made me aware as long as I worked the program, it would work for me as long as I was willing to do the work.

Hader Clinic Queensland supported me to build a daily program and a solid exit plan for me to follow. The clinic also introduced me to the 12-step fellowships of AA to be part of the maintenance part of my recovery. I have taken so much from the AA program and still go to a meeting every day. Life has been really good for me and my family.

My husband has also learned so much from The Hader Family Program, where he was introduced to Al-Anon the 12-step support network for families, and he now goes to those meetings as well. We have stuck to the same morning routine that Hader Clinic Queensland gave me. I have followed my exit plan and now me and my husband are doing a daily reading in the morning and setting our intentions for the day. I take each day as it comes.

For anyone that’s thinking of going into an addiction treatment program and has tried on their own and with their family, the 29-day detox program at Hader Clinic Queensland is very giving and supportive. You never feel like you’re the one who’s doing all the work. I feel very thankful for the program.


Photographs of this client have been changed to protect their privacy.

Jordan’s Story of Drug and Alcohol Addiction Recovery

After completing the residential addiction treatment for his drug and alcohol addiction, Jordan is applying what he learnt in the program to build a solid foundation for himself to recover on. This is his story.

My name is Jordan and since I was twelve I’ve been dealing with a drug and alcohol addiction. From the outside, I looked like I was doing well, but I was high functioning and eventually everything started to unravel until the point that I asked my family for help, they got me into drug and alcohol addiction treatment at Hader Clinic Queensland.

Alcohol has been the backbone of my addiction, but drugs have been there too. I was twelve when I started smoking marijuana. I was a shy kid and I probably used alcohol and drugs to take the edge off, help ease anxiety and to fit in. I knew that I was probably doing more than others but I didn’t really see the alarm bells going off as I was still enjoying it. I was about sixteen or seventeen when I started using party drugs like ecstasy, and twenty when I started using speed. I was about twenty-four when I started using ice (meth) and the party drugs sort of went away. So, I settled on drinking alcohol, using ice and smoking a bit of marijuana.

That whole time since I was fifteen I had been working as a plumber, so I didn’t have any issues going to work and holding down a job even though I was drinking and using, but I was still getting into trouble and making mistakes along the way. By the time I was twenty-four, I had been caught drink driving five times and ended up in jail, and drug driving three or four times before that. When I got out of jail I went to AA and NA meetings, but it scared me, and I never went back. I was a young man who couldn’t open up, I was too embarrassed to talk or say I had a problem.

Life moved on and I had a good job, bought a couple of houses, and from the outside things were looking good. Mentally I just thought everything was alright. But the reality was that things were building up until the last three or four years when it started to get the better of me and everything was falling around me. I was staying up too long, I was drinking as soon as I got home and using drugs overnight and then in the morning to last through the day. Eventually, I started to have days where I was too fried to work, or I just kept wanting to do what I was doing and not go to my job.

It really got out of control at this point, and I ended up in a psych ward. I ended up there eight times in about six months. In between I tried to go to another rehab but I only lasted sixteen days. My family has always tried to get me help for my drug and alcohol addiction but I was selfish because I didn’t want anyone to get in the way of my addiction, so I’d push them away. I had probably five or six cracks at recovery, but they didn’t stick and eventually, my drug and alcohol addiction got so bad that I just couldn’t understand why I was doing it anymore. It wasn’t fun, I didn’t see a purpose and I couldn’t see a future.

I was out of control but for the first time, I was saying I am an addict, I am an alcoholic. I had been saying that to myself for about 12 months, pulling my head in and not stuffing up. Then one night on Boxing Day I had been with my family and I got home and stuck straight into alcohol. I’d been up for a couple of days at this point under the influence of drugs but I thought I was doing okay. I’d been playing with the kids and my nieces and nephews in the pool and spending time with my family, but when I woke up the next day I had crashed my car, thirteen years after my last drink driving incident. It had been building up to this point and I just realised how horrible it was, that I couldn’t remember anything and that I could have killed someone. I realised I wasn’t in a good place and needed help.

That was the first time I really asked for help. My parents had offered me help plenty of times before that, but this was the first time I was asking them. In about two or three hours they came back to me and said they’d found a place in Queensland if I wanted to go. I knew I needed to do something and get out of the place I was in, so I went to residential addiction treatment at Hader Clinic Queensland.

It took me about three or four weeks at the clinic before I knew what was going on. I had gone in with the determination to give one hundred percent, listen as much as I could, answer all the questions and just do all the things that were asked. I knew I needed to do what made me uncomfortable, like opening up and talking about myself. I’d never done it before, but I had nothing to lose. It took about a month before I started to see a bit of light so then I started to pick everyone’s brain and ask questions and talk to the amazing staff and counsellors.

After five weeks I opened up and answered questions, which then my answers to the questions were answering my own questions, and it was just amazing. They’re really good at what they do and they were digging deep. I gave my all during my time in residential addiction treatment and it has really worked for me. I was even on medication for depression and anxiety for years, and about a month before I left Hader Clinic Queensland I managed to get off them and I’ve been off them ever since. Now I just take every day as it comes and use what they taught me there and everything’s been going really well.

Since I finished my ninety days at Hader Clinic Queensland, I’ve been going to one meeting a week in town, and I’ve got a few people I can talk to that I’ve met along the way. I decided not to work for twelve months so that I could cruise along and ease myself back into life after treatment. I didn’t want to put myself under too much pressure and wanted to build a good base while I tinker around my farm and do odd jobs here and there.

If you’re thinking of going to residential addiction treatment, you’ve just got to give it a go. What I loved about Hader Clinic Queensland is that they’re all ex-addicts so they do know. You’ve got to really listen and let everything go, even when it’s embarrassing and hard to sit with all those uncomfortable situations you’ve just got to do it. I turned to drugs and alcohol because I never wanted to sit with those uncomfortable and weird feelings and situations, but in there, you’ve got nothing to lose and you can sit with and address them. It can be challenging but it worked for me, so just give it a go.


Images of this client have been changed to protect their privacy.

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