February 2024 - Hader Clinic Queensland

Henry’s Alcohol Addiction Recovery Story

After completing 60 days of Hader Clinic Queensland’s Residential Addiction Treatment, Henry is almost five months sober and looking to the future. This is his story.

I didn’t grow up in an environment that involved lots of drinking or taking drugs. It was around, but it wasn’t a big part of my life growing up. Then around when I was 14 I started partying and getting into alcohol and drugs. Eventually, it impacted my life to the point of needing to go to rehab, so I booked into Hader Clinic Queensland’s alcohol addiction treatment program, and now I’m almost five months sober. Even though I was taking drugs at a young age I never felt like I couldn’t stop taking them, whereas alcohol felt different.

After school I moved up north and did my apprenticeship, becoming a tradie and just working away. I was working with a lot of older blokes and was drinking a lot as it was kind of normal, part of the culture. The problem for me was that when the party finished I didn’t stop. Even before the party began I was having pre-drinks, and pre-pre-drinks, basically drinking all week in preparation for the big event on the weekend. And then continuing after the weekend had passed.

I was constantly battling with the desire to stop but with no willpower. It was always “I’ll stop tomorrow”, or “in the new year”, or “when I’m having a break from work”. In my head, I was telling myself that I would get sober, but I wasn’t. I knew I was an alcoholic, and I had tried outpatient detoxes and a wellness retreat, but there wasn’t any desire to sober up. I just wanted everyone around me to leave me alone. I thought I was fine as I was still functioning at work even though I was drinking all through the day. However, my general wellbeing was declining, and I was in a really bad place. There was a lot of unnecessary pain.

With my constant drinking came the alcohol withdrawals. That was the biggest indicator that something needed to change. My Mum also said to me that I needed to go to rehab, so I researched my options and wrote them all down. I had no desire to follow up with any of them.

Then a few months later I just called Hader up and said that I was struggling and that I needed to go to alcohol detox. I sorted some life stuff out, rang my boss and told him I was going to rehab, told my family, and then I went to complete the 28-night alcohol detox program at Hader Clinic Queensland.

I think the first week is pretty much the same for everyone, it’s a bit of a haze and you’re not sure what’s really going on. But by the second week, I was quickly realising that the 28-night program was not going to be enough. I wanted to put the work in, and I saw that there was more I needed to learn before I went back out into the real world. The world outside wasn’t going to change, I needed to change and to do that I needed all the tools I could get.

So, I booked in for a month in the rehab program, making my time in residential addiction treatment a total of 60 days. I’m grateful that I made that decision because Hader’s program gave me what I needed to stay sober for almost five months now.

The best part for me was being introduced to AA and NA, as it’s been a big part of my ongoing recovery. If I had gone to an AA meeting on my own I don’t think I would have gone back. But having it as a part of the Hader Clinic Queensland program meant that I could start to see the similarities in other people’s stories and realise that I now had a place to talk about getting sober and then staying sober.

Coming out of rehab I focused a lot on my recovery, but I did struggle at first with coming to terms with the fact that I wasn’t going to be 100% better straight away. But I remembered what I learnt in rehab, that by going back to drinking my life was going to be the same as it was, and so I put the work in that first month out.

I attended 6-7 meetings a week (mostly AA) and I did everything to the letter, with some aftercare as well. Three months later and now I can see the improvements and feel the benefits. I attend 3-4 meetings a week, and every morning I journal, do my readings and write my gratitude list.

It’s just a really good feeling after so many years of darkness to understand that so much of my bad luck and what I thought was normal was really because of my drinking. Through using the tools, I got in the Hader program and just trying to do the next right thing and stay sober, a lot of good opportunities have come to me. And it seems to be working because I am coming up to 5 months sober now and I’m feeling good.

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

Muriel’s Alcohol Addiction Treatment Journey to Recovery

Muriel’s alcohol addiction was spiralling out of control so she completed 90 days of residential addiction treatment and is now in early recovery. This is her story.

I used alcohol as a way to cope with things until my drinking started to really impact my life and I felt that I had no control over it. I sought alcohol addiction treatment at Hader Clinic Queensland, completed 90 days of alcohol detox and rehab, have been sober since and working hard at my recovery.

I experienced a lot of childhood trauma growing up that I struggled with. I would lash out and sneak out of home, and left my family home around 15. At 16, I was a victim of domestic violence and developed a habit of drinking alcohol to cope with what life was throwing at me. This habit followed me as I struggled with my marriage, my relationships with my daughters, and my work. I didn’t drink a lot when my children were young, as I was a single mother with three kids by the time I was 24.

I started socially drinking again in my 40s when my kids were a bit older. In the last few years, this compounded into a full-blown addiction. I had been experiencing a high workload with some workplace bullying and was so burnt out that as soon as I finished work for the day I would immediately scull a glass of wine to start the process of numbing myself. And it felt like it worked until I would wake up in the morning with a bad hangover and a number of calls and messages I had no recollection of making or sending that night.

Then I turned 60 and realised that my job was killing me and I didn’t want to work anymore so we bought a caravan and decided to travel. I had gone on a cruise with a friend, and she actually told me that I was getting out of control and she was really worried about me. We went away on holidays with another friend, and she also told me how I was getting really bad as I would fall over and blackout, and that if I didn’t do something about it I wouldn’t have a marriage. At the time I thought I didn’t care and wanted to drive up to Cairns and drink myself to death.

A friend of mine actually emailed Hader Clinic Queensland because she was so concerned about me. I was very mad at her at the time, but now I’m grateful because she saved my life. At that time my drinking was out of control, I was fighting all the time with my husband and the blackouts and falling had me worried that I was going to end up killing myself.

I reached out to Hader and got myself booked into the 28-day alcohol detox program. I honestly thought that I would do the 28-day detox and be fixed. I went to Hader and 12 hours into alcohol withdrawal I was having seizures so I had to be sent to hospital. I don’t really remember the first 2 weeks but I do remember that people were looking at me strangely. One of the other clients actually told me that they were wondering what I was on because I looked so unwell.

My experience of alcohol addiction treatment at Hader Clinic Queensland was really good. I ended up doing the 90 days as I realised I needed more than 28 days. I understood pretty quickly that I needed to put the work in. The program is there to give you the tools but if you don’t put the work in you’re not going to get what you need out of it. I had a fantastic Therapeutic Community in there with me and I’m still in contact with a few of them.

The best thing about Hader was the staff. Every single one of them has been through it before, it’s not some person who has gone to university, read a book and is then relaying that to you. It’s someone who has experienced what you are experiencing and is really passionate about you succeeding. They keep you accountable and I was only ever in trouble once because I was late to class one time. I really liked the structure of the program and I enjoyed the normalcy helping with the cooking and cleaning brought back into my life while in rehab.

Since leaving Hader life has been really good. I’m going back to work in about a month, just for a few days a week, and I’m really keeping myself accountable in my recovery. I live in a country town so finding AA was difficult at first, but I’ve found some that I can do over Zoom, and there’s a town I can travel to if I would like to do it in person. I have a wonderful sponsor where we text every day and she also keeps me accountable. Every Wednesday I do the Hader meeting and I really look forward to it every week.

I’m looking forward to giving back at the Hader Clinic and sharing what I have learned with those who are just starting their recovery. I am also considering a career change and moving into support work for people with alcohol, drug, and mental health issues because I feel I can be compassionate and understanding. I’m taking my early recovery one day at a time and making my amends, but since taking the plunge into 90 days of detox and rehab at Hader Clinic, life has been really great.

 

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

Gary’s Transition to Recovery from Alcohol and Drug Addiction

After 90 days of Hader Clinic’s residential addiction treatment and six months in the transitional housing program, Gary is 18 months clean and sober and looking to the future. This is his story.

From using alcohol to cope as a teen to an out-of-control drug addiction, it took a couple of times hitting what I thought was rock bottom until I actually did hit rock bottom, sought help and completed 90 days of detox and rehab and 6 months of the transition program.

My upbringing was pretty stable, I had a supportive home life and externally it looked like my life was pretty good. I went through some bullying at school and experienced some difficulties with my mental health in my teens. I started getting treatment for my mental health at the end of high school, which is also the time that I discovered alcohol. I thought I had found the answer as it took me away from my difficult mindset and distracted me from what was going on.

I went to university and kept drinking heavily to escape. Sometimes I wouldn’t leave my room and instead drink as I was too afraid to do anything. I got my degree in Pharmacy and started working rurally. I felt like I was thriving for a couple of years there, then I went overseas for six months and was introduced to cocaine. While I was travelling I was drinking heavily and using cocaine which resulted in my mental health deteriorating rapidly.

When I came back from overseas and started working again things went downhill pretty quickly. As a pharmacist I had a bit more access than the average person to pharmaceuticals so I started using drugs more heavily. I had a bad car accident where I was prescribed strong pain medication and suffered from PTSD, so I was using pretty heavily and I thought I had hit rock bottom.

I was self-medicating and utilising my knowledge of how drugs worked to use alcohol and Valium to come down at night, and then Ritalin and stimulants to wake up and work during the day. Working in healthcare I had seen signs of addiction before, but I was in denial that I was experiencing the same issues. Eventually, the drug usage got out of control and I had a breakdown at work, causing me to lose my job and my registration.

Work was my identity; it was what I had wrapped my idea of ‘Gary’ around so to speak. When I lost that I thought I had lost everything. My mental health plummeted, and I ended up in a mental health unit before being transferred to a detox program. I detoxed and thought that I was fine, but once I got back out I was drinking and using again.

I was working as a labourer and using and drinking heavily. Because I had lost my access to drugs I was drinking far more than using and I thought it was fine because alcohol was legal and therefore it wasn’t as bad. The denial remained strong as my mentality got progressively worse and worse. My partner left me, I moved to another city and then lost my job due to flooding. I had a breakdown and overdosed which caused me to end up in more detoxes and rehabs, but I was so entrenched in denial that I didn’t want to change anything.

Mum was looking into rehabs for me and found Hader Clinic Queensland on Facebook. She called them up and told me about the program but there was no way I was going. Well, that’s what I thought at the time. I was pretty adamant but one day I felt so broken and alone emotionally that I finally hit my true rock bottom.

Out of desperation I called Hader and was booked in for the 28-day detox program. During my 28 days, it soon became apparent that a month was not going to be enough for me to have a real crack at making a positive change in my life. So I enrolled for the additional 60 days of Hader’s residential addiction treatment program, making it 90 days in total.

The best thing Hader did was introduce me to NA, which is when things really started to change for me. After 70 days in rehab, I started to look into the Transitional Housing Program as a few people had mentioned that you could keep doing what you were doing in rehab but living normally in a house at the same time.

I did six months of the Transitional Housing Program as I knew I didn’t feel ready to be let loose back into the real world. Hader’s Transition Program had the structure and accountability of the rehab, but the freedom of living normally in a house. I really started to change as a person during those 6 months. I did everything I was told to do; I ate my three meals a day, got a sponsor, got a homegroup, followed the program and ended up getting a lot out of it.

I really surrendered to the Transition Program and things just started getting better. I got a job, I found an outside psychologist and a GP who is helping me, and I started working on getting my pharmacy registration back. One of the Hader Clinic workers, Olivia, actually encouraged me to try for my registration as I had doubts that someone in my position had a shot at getting that back.

Having that support throughout the Transitional Housing Program, and the community as well around me meant that when I was struggling I could immediately reach out and have someone to talk to. And having others in the house who were going through similar experiences motivated me to stay on track as I stayed clean and sober and went through early recovery.

Since leaving the Transitional Housing Program I believe in myself and have a newfound sense of confidence. I had doubts about things, especially getting my registration back, but I stuck to my guns and was very honest with those around me. I have now got my registration back and even landed a job in the place I had always dreamed of living. Thanks to my time at Hader Clinic Queensland I am 18 months clean and sober, I have the tools to handle what life throws at me, and I have self-esteem and confidence in myself.

 

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

Ben’s Journey through Residential Addiction Treatment to Program Coordinator

Ben completed 90 days of residential addiction treatment and then went on to study at university. He then returned to Hader Clinic Queensland as a support worker and has now moved up to become one of the program coordinators. This is his story.

What started as partying in my teens snowballed into a decade of using that I couldn’t control and eventually, I had to seek residential addiction treatment. I was a swimmer in high school, and I found partying, drinking and taking drugs as a release from it all. I would do anything and everything that I could get my hands on. After school, I worked in my family’s business and generally tried to keep my drug use separate. I used drugs on the weekends but sometimes I would do coke and drink gin to get through the days at work.

Eventually in a 2-and-a-half-year period leading up to rehab my life started to spiral and my drug use got out of control. I got married but it didn’t start off the way I suppose it’s meant to. I had tried to get clean before the wedding, but it didn’t last long as I wasn’t committed to the change.

I started pushing my wife away, my work and addiction lives came crashing together, and I started using drugs daily. I was doing an eight-ball of coke a day which put me in a lot of financial hardship. I was making bad decisions and behaving very differently from my norm. I was selfish and treated those around me poorly. I still look back and feel ashamed of my behaviour then.

I tried to end my life one night after a bender and ended up in a psych ward. I didn’t want anything to do with anyone so I took off for a few months down south, thinking that I could change all my problems by getting away. I got a job but within a couple of weeks, I was selling drugs while I was working.

One night I passed out and woke up to everything gone out of my apartment. I just lost everything. I lost my wife, and my family didn’t want to talk or have anything to do with me. I didn’t want this life anymore and wanted some sort of normalcy again.

So, I ended up calling my mum, who I hadn’t spoken to or said anything nice to in a while, and told her that I needed to go to rehab. She must have been waiting for me to reach out and make the decision to get help, as she had done all the research on getting help for a family member. She suggested Hader Clinic Queensland, so I booked in. I drove for 10 hours up to the Sunshine Coast, detoxed on their couch for seven days and then went to rehab at Hader Clinic.

The first two weeks were the hardest and probably two of the most depressing weeks of my life. I did and didn’t want to be there so I was searching for two weeks for a legitimate reason why I could leave. I couldn’t come up with a good enough reason to leave, and the Hader Clinic staff helped me finalise my decision to stay.

Drug addiction treatment is not an easy thing, but it came into my life when I needed it. I learnt a lot about myself during my 90 days in rehab. Not only did they help me give up drugs, they really helped me become a better person.

I got my life back! I was trapped in a cycle of addiction and Hader Clinic Queensland gave me back a life through their residential addiction treatment program. My previous life revolved around money and drugs, and now I have so many other, nice things in my life.

I lost things in my drug addiction that I will never get back. I don’t regret much in my life but what I do regret is not getting clean sooner. I have this whole new perspective on life and the things that I want in my life. Rehab doesn’t fix you; you fix you. But it gives you the tools you need, it sets you up to change your life.

I have a process now that I follow and the better I am at following it the more positive outcomes happen in my life. Previously I would make little things in my life into massive issues, and not pay any attention to the big things. Now I have that better perspective and can look at things a lot clearer, I am making decisions that are generally more positive.

I never thought it was in my future to be helping other addicts and alcoholics, but I was participating in a lot of give-back at Hader Clinic Queensland and an opportunity came up to become a Support Worker, which has now led to a position as Program Coordinator. I jumped at the opportunity to work at the place that had done so much for me. I see a lot of my old behaviours and justifications in the people going through Hader. I’ve been exactly where they are.

I’ve been learning a lot about how to adapt my approach to what people need. I needed tough love when I went through rehab, but I know now that it doesn’t work for everyone. I try to instil in the clients that we can teach you and inform you of all the good things you can have for yourself and your recovery, but if you’re not putting it into action you’re not getting the full benefits of rehab. The person who does the work when they are in treatment is going to have a much easier time going through recovery.

I started in rehab not wanting to do anything, I wasn’t committed to my recovery. But then I committed, and I started putting all that I was learning at Hader Clinic into practice. Now I have a better life where my work is supporting people who are going through what I did at the place that helped me. I go to the gym and feel a thousand times better afterwards, get a good night’s sleep and feel energised and ready for the next day. I’m making better decisions for myself which are helping to make the bigger things work out. It was never in my plan to be where I am now, but I don’t think I could be happier. I got my life back.

 

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

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