October 2023 - Hader Clinic Queensland

James’ Story of Ice Addiction and Recovery

Since completing the Residential Addiction Treatment Program, and engaging in the Intensive Outpatient Program, James is committed to his recovery and enjoys living a life clean and sober. This is his story.

From a life in the country to a life revolving around drugs… It all started off fun when I was socially drinking and socially using party drugs. Then I discovered meth, and it was all downhill for me from there on. I couldn’t stop on my own. Meth had me, and only a rehab could help me get clean. The first time I tried residential addiction treatment at Hader Clinic Queensland I wasn’t in the right mindset and ended up leaving the program early. I thought I would be okay, but I needed to go back again to really set up a life free from drug addiction and start my recovery journey.

I grew up in a country town, I had great parents and I worked hard in the family business. My childhood was okay, but one thing I struggled with was feeling like I didn’t belong and always feeling like I wasn’t living up to the expectations of my family. I turned to marijuana as a teen, as an escape from my feelings, I was selling cigarettes at school to pay for the weed. I started to push away from my family as I struggled with school, and I only managed to scrape through Year 10 to land an apprenticeship. I was still playing football at this time and ended up living with my football coach after getting kicked out of home at 17. I moved out and went to university at 18, still playing football, but I met some of the wrong people there. Due to the poor income from my apprenticeship, I started selling ecstasy. This helped me have money and I enjoyed the party scene. I partied too hard, and it wasn’t long before my life started to become unmanageable. I got kicked off the football team, left my apprenticeship and eventually ended up in a bad situation that forced me to tell my parents what was going on.

My parents sent me away to work on a property to try and stop me from doing ecstasy, but I’d come back on weekends and keep partying hard. I had a good work ethic so I could always keep showing up for my work, but I ended up becoming a gypsy. Partying and doing drugs had become my everyday life. The drugs changed and so did I when I discovered meth. I was young so I thought I was just having fun and could handle it. I did have some friends tell me that I needed to get help, so I went back to my family’s business and tried to get clean. It worked for a while, I got married and had a family, but I ended up falling back into addiction and this time it felt uncontrollable. I would disappear just to use, and by now I was injecting meth, so my marriage was falling apart but I couldn’t see it because meth blurred my vision. When I look back, I can see I did some pretty awful things during this time. I knew I needed help, but I just couldn’t stop using. During a bender where I was just partying with random people and was awake for about 10 days straight, I ended up driving to rehabs, knocking on doors and just trying to get help. I ended up meeting an old fellow who gave me some tough love. He looked at me (I was a complete mess and had track marks all up my arms), told me to go inside, and I ended up detoxing on his couch.

I slept through my birthday, and a few days later I woke up and the old man had gone to the shops but left his phone open on a Google search of Queensland rehabs. I found Hader Clinic Queensland and pretty much booked myself in then and there. I booked myself in for the 90-day program but only did 60 days before I left against staff advice, thinking I could now do it on my own. I wish I had stayed and listened to the staff.

I went straight back to my fly-in, fly-out job, thinking I could do that and then fly to see my kids. I spread myself too thin, ended up relapsing and was back in a dark headspace, this time experiencing psychosis. I was almost 5 months clean and sober, and it went all down the drain, meth had me again.

So, I booked myself back into rehab at Hader Clinic Queensland. Even while surrendering back to rehab again, I could not stop using and used drugs right up until I walked in the door. Mark, the Program Coordinator, took one look at me and said, “Get in here and put the whip down”. The staff at Hader Clinic Queensland understand what addiction is and how addiction keeps beating addicts down. What I like about them is they have a lived experience, so it’s easier to hear it from them.

For the next 29 days, I really struggled to stay and my addict mind was planning to use again as soon as I got out of there. Just days before I was due to leave, something happened; I had a lightbulb moment, and realised I didn’t want to use anymore. I went straight to Mark and said, “Please tell me what to do and I’ll do it”. In that moment I completely surrendered and changed my mindset, I took on what the staff said and started to put an effort into my recovery.

Hader Clinic Queensland gave me the foundation to start my recovery, they helped me understand that I had a disease of addiction and gave me the tools to start recovering from it. They introduced me to the 12-step fellowships. They took me to meetings every night, where I got to meet people who were like me and helped me realise that I wasn’t alone. Hader Clinic Queensland introduced me to people who had been living in recovery, some even 20 years clean and sober and I realised that I could do it as well. That there was a way to live life without drugs.

This program was eye-opening for me, before I came to the clinic, I didn’t know there was another way to live, I couldn’t see how much drugs were destroying my life.

If you are thinking of getting help for yourself, I really recommend the long-term rehab program followed by the aftercare programs. I’m currently in my 3rd month of the Intensive Outpatient Program. With their support, I am doing really well. I still have days where I struggle but I know now that it will pass and the most important thing is I don’t pick up the first one, drug or drink. The program helps me to hold myself accountable, I have a routine and daily program, and I have peers to talk to about how I am feeling. I attend the morning check-ins and follow my recovery plan. I’ve also realised that I can’t drink alcohol as it will lead to me using drugs again, so I’ve decided to live a life of abstinence from it all. I’m feeling amazingly healthy and clear-minded. I’m grateful to have gone back to rehab and now being able to live a clean and sober life where I can be there for my kids, for myself and my family.


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

Jon’s Journey to Recovery through DVA-Funded Addiction Treatment

Jon is over six months sober and clean after completing 90 days of residential addiction treatment and engaged in the transitional housing program. This is his story.

My ice addiction really began during my time in the military and grew worse after I left. Then after completing the 90-day residential addiction treatment at Hader twice, I’m now over six months sober and clean.

I was deployed to Rwanda during the 1994 genocide, and upon return, I started having issues with discipline and alcohol offences. My drinking led to marijuana use and then methamphetamines, so I chose to leave the army. I got a job in security, but I was having trouble interacting with the general public and started having severe nightmares, so I increased my methamphetamine use until I ended up hospitalised. I went into military rehab where I was diagnosed with severe PTSD and then it was a never-ending cycle of prescription medication.

I moved to a community with my partner which had a strong drug culture, and we were both alcoholics and substance abusers. As we were both pretty high-functioning, she had a job, and I managed the property. We were together for about 20 years before going our separate ways. After that, there were a few drug incidences and I had a breakdown, before ending up in military rehab again. There I found out about the Hader Clinic Queensland program, which supports ex-service people through DVA-funded addiction treatment.

At the time I was not ready to make the commitment to recovery. I had criminal charges pending and was hoping that rehab would keep me out of jail. I did the 90-day drug addiction treatment program and when I came out of it, I was sent to nine months in jail.

I didn’t use meth during my time in jail and managed to continue staying clean after I was released. Unfortunately, my property had been sold out from under me while I was in jail, so I ended up staying in rentals, first with an aggressive alcoholic and then a passive alcoholic.

During this time, I believed that I was only addicted to ice and so could drink casually. A few times when I was drinking with people someone might offer cocaine, so we would use that and then eventually someone ended up coming around and offering methamphetamines. I relapsed, injecting meth every day for about 2 weeks. At the end of the two weeks, when I was intoxicated and drugged, I got an email from Hader Clinic Queensland. I opened it, read it, and broke down. There was a number at the bottom, so I called them and was booked in for the 90-day DVA-funded addiction treatment, arriving in less than 10 days’ time. Hader Clinic Queensland then mentioned to me that I should do the 12-month program, which includes the 90-day residential addiction treatment, followed by aftercare, including the transitional housing program, so I did.

This time around I was motivated to do everything I needed to recover, following the program exactly and getting the best support I could. When I got there, I couldn’t walk 200 metres up the track, and three months later I could run it six times and do laps around the oval.

When I got to the transition house, I gave up smoking and I would do 5kms on the elliptical and then 5kms on the bike at the gym. I’ve been going to AFL games and concerts and just enjoying life. I’m feeling really good, and just thankful for all the staff at Hader Clinic Queensland.

The best part about doing the program for me was having the time to understand that relapse wasn’t the end of the world. It actually opened my eyes to the fact that I could come back and make another attempt to get clean. And just learning everything and getting that discipline back that I lost after leaving the army.

I still do the program; I’ve really changed my life around and am over six months sober and clean. I’m really grateful for the support for Veterans like me in Australia from the DVA and Hader Clinic Queensland, as without that I wouldn’t have been able to access the drug addiction treatment I needed once, let alone twice.

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

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