Alexia at Hader Clinic Queensland

Sam’s DVA-Funded Drug Addiction Recovery

Sam completed 90 days of DVA-funded residential addiction treatment and the Transitional Housing program at Hader Clinic Queensland. This is his story.

After I left the defence force, I struggled to transition back to society, struggled with ice addiction and homelessness, and eventually, with Hader Clinic Queensland’s help, completed DVA-funded residential addiction treatment.

I grew up in a pretty good family and was very sporty in high school. I even played soccer for two years in Italy, and it was my life. Then I joined the army. I still played soccer in the army, and we did pretty well but we also had to participate in these Boozer Parades where every Thursday we were paid to drink as part of ‘bonding’. This started my struggles with addiction.

I was drinking a lot, around 1.5 litres of vodka a night, but I was still functional the next day. I’d get up and run 2.4km and do my work, completely functioning. I got married and started a family, but things started to change when I was put on invasion. It really started to take its toll on me, and I became mentally unstable with horrific dreams and paranoia. I used a bit during this time, but nothing considerable until I left the army and moved interstate back to my family. That’s really when my meth addiction took hold.

I couldn’t move back in with my parents as they were struggling with health issues, so I ended up homeless for a while. I was really struggling mentally trying to deal with my PTSD, depression and anxiety that would come out in rages.

I was put into emergency housing, and at one stage had seven different veteran support companies trying to help me. Unfortunately, I got put in a really awful place of emergency housing. The whole time I was there I was afraid for my life, sleeping and showering with a knife. I got into some scuffles there, so they had to move me into another accommodation. I was sick of it, the constant moving and having to watch my back all the time.

I had some charges against me from associating with the wrong people but luckily, I never went to jail. Funnily enough, the meth kept me going during this time. I probably wouldn’t be here today if it wasn’t for the drugs when I was going through all that.

I wanted to get my life back on track, so they put me in a soldier rehabilitation program where they pay for your study and gym memberships, but I didn’t come forward about my addiction because I was scared, so I kept it under wraps.

Unfortunately, my use really spiralled out of control, almost overdosing, and just struggling to maintain some stability. So, I just admitted that I couldn’t do it anymore. I was talking with my dealer who I’d talked about getting clean with, telling them that I just didn’t want to live like this anymore, and they recommended Hader Clinic Queensland to me. I called Hader, spoke to Jo who is just amazing, and she helped me organise everything. I didn’t even have to deal with DVA, Jo and JJ at Hader Clinic Queensland organised it all and I went to residential addiction treatment.

The first day of my 90 days at Hader I just collapsed and cried out to God. I was raised in a very Christian household, and I’d really lost touch with my faith and spirituality when I was struggling with meth. I don’t know what you believe, but for me, I found God again.

I surrendered and did everything I had to do during my time in the program to build myself back up again. The program was great, and I just have so much to thank Hader for. DVA has even been really easy to deal with, especially with Jo from Hader making that connection. I’ve been honest with them and with myself and it’s really opened doors for me.

It’s still early days but I know that I have my higher power looking out for me, and I just do all the work to keep myself going forward in recovery. The program works and I’ve heard some really good results from other people as well. I’m rebuilding my relationships with my family, including my son and ex-wife. My mum is really happy that she’s got her son back and I’m grateful that I can spend however much time she’s got with her.

I’ve been six months sober now and I’m loving life. I’m going back to finish my study and just catch up on the six years I’ve lost to my meth addiction. I can’t tell the future, but I’ve got my health back, I’ve got my family back, I’ve got God back, and I’m just looking forward to maintaining my sobriety.


Names and photographs of this client have been changed to protect their privacy.

Jaxon’s DVA-Funded Journey to Ice Addiction Recovery

Jaxon is over 7 months clean after completing 90 days of DVA-funded residential addiction treatment and the transitional housing program at Hader Clinic Queensland. This is his story.

I enrolled in the Navy when I was 17 years old, and did a couple of tours in Afghanistan, before leaving the defence force after 8 years. After my time in the Navy, I struggled to get back into society and assimilate. I met some people from the wrong crowd who introduced me to meth use. What started as recreational use began spiralling into addiction and moving into intravenous use of meth. Money became an issue as I struggled to fund my ice addiction.

I couldn’t go without drugs, which led me to a life of crime to fund my addiction. My health was deteriorating from the use, and I knew I needed to get away from the drugs. I had been sent to rehabs on court orders about 5 times, but I just wasn’t committed or in the right headspace and would end up using as soon as I got out.

I moved from New South Wales to Queensland to try and get a fresh start, but the drugs and the crime followed me. I got arrested a couple of times and things were really out of control. It was at that point that I was thrown a wake-up call. My home was broken into, and I was stabbed in the throat, almost losing my life. That was rock bottom for me. So, I reached out to Veterans Affairs, asking for help, and they told me about Hader Clinic Queensland’s support for ex-services people with the DVA-funded addiction treatment program. I called Hader Clinic Queensland and they helped me set an admission date. I then got permission from the parole board to recover with family in New South Wales while I waited to get into the program.

When I arrived at Hader Clinic Queensland I was sick, I was severely underweight and just a broken person. All my confidence had gone, and I found it hard to get up in the mornings. I just didn’t want to do anything anymore, but the therapeutic community in Hader Clinic Queensland loved me back to life. It sounds cheesy but they showed me that I was worthy of life, friends, and connection.

The program and staff were excellent and for once, I truly began to understand what addiction actually is. I never got that understanding in the other rehabs. The main difference for me was the introduction to Narcotics Anonymous (NA) which gave me something to follow when I left rehab. Every additional time I left rehab I would use straight away, whereas this time I had the NA program and three months at Hader Clinic Queensland’s Transitional Housing Program. It helped me continue implementing the program with accountability. I’ve now transferred over to the Hader Clinic Queensland’s Intensive Outpatient Program which has counselling and two classes a week to help me adjust to more freedom whilst still being accountable.

I’ve been stepping slowly back into life as I made the mistake previously of just jumping straight back into full-time work after rehab. I’ve just started working again, I’ve got the outpatient program, and I go to NA meetings every day. I’m feeling good, I feel well physically, and I’ve even managed to put on weight. I’m working on all the steps, trying to do all of the suggested things from NA, and I’ve got a sponsor. My gradual recovery through Hader Clinic Queensland’s DVA-funded treatment, I’m now coming up to 7 months clean and I’m doing well.

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.

Brendan’s Story of Drug and Alcohol Addiction to Recovery

Brendan is coming up to 2 years clean and sober after completing 29 days of residential addiction treatment. He shares his story.

I was successful in my career and my personal life, at least that’s what I thought I was. It all came crashing down when I became addicted to meth and I lost everything. It took many years of trying and failing to get clean and sober and off drugs before I was forced to get help or lose my life. I completed the 29-day residential addiction treatment at Hader Clinic Queensland, and 20 months later with no alcohol or no drugs, my life is better than ever.

I had a pretty normal childhood, but I was getting into trouble a lot, even with the law. In the beginning, I played rugby which had a massive drinking culture and so I was drinking a lot on the weekends, but I didn’t think anything of it. I started working in the film and advertising industry, which was a big drinking culture as well, but it never seemed to affect my work as I was getting awards, so it looked like everything was better than fine. I started working on a TV series which meant 14-hour days for six days a week, and that’s when I was introduced to speed. At that time, I was taking speed, smoking marijuana, drinking, and sometimes on a big special occasion taking ecstasy, LSD and cocaine. I always wanted to be the last guy standing, and the funniest person in the room, so I would take anything that would make me that way. I made a lot of money, I had a beautiful wife and kids, had great houses and great cars; from the outside, I had a great life and a successful business.

One day I was doing a photoshoot and afterwards went to the house of the guy I was with to smoke a joint and he pulled out an ice pipe and offered it to me to try. I did and then every now and then would give meth a try before it eventually stuck its claws into me. I started dreaming about ice on a regular basis, and my meth addiction really took hold. I had a double life for three years. Eventually, my wife started to dislike the person I had become, angry, self-centred and lying all the time. She left me when I was in my first rehab and for the next two years my life just went in a downward spiral.

I probably tripled my intake of drugs and criminal activities. I sold my business and my houses. I gave my wife most of the money when she divorced me and then I went on a mission to lose everything I had left. Because of my drug addiction I had nothing left, no houses, no cars and no friends. I would hang around dealers who I thought were my friends, but they really just saw me as another way to make money. I felt very alone and thought about killing myself, even putting it up on Facebook which led to a friend reaching out and getting me into rehab. But it didn’t work. I’d just get out of treatment, and start drinking again, which would make me want coke, I’d have coke and then would want ice. It was an insatiable urge. Everything was a mess. I went to rehab again when I got in trouble with the law, but I just wasn’t ready to stop.

Eventually, there were a couple of life-altering events where I almost died that pushed me to try residential addiction treatment again and this time give it all I had. I was drugged by some pretty bad people and left almost dying on the bathroom floor while they robbed me. I had a serious motorbike crash, and I got beaten up badly by some dealers. Those three things in succession were pushing me to get cleaned up, and then my daughter asked me to please go to rehab. As soon as she asked, I was like “yep”, I got on the internet and started searching, and that’s when I came across Hader Clinic Queensland. It took me about a month to get my stuff together and go into treatment at Hader Clinic Queensland. I was such a complete mess that I took my last drug in the rehab car park before going in.

I did the 29 days and even though I wanted to leave on day 3, one of the workers talked to me and convinced me to stay for day 4, and I’m so grateful that I did. After that, I just did everything that was suggested to me and worked as hard as I could. It was great having recovering addicts as the staff, people like JJ are not just talking to you, they are people who have been where you’ve been which gives it that extra level of credibility. Even Mark’s voice still echoes in my head. He just simplified things into words that I could understand, telling me to “put down the whip” and stop beating myself up for the past. I took it on board, and it made a difference.

Another pivotal part of my time at Hader Clinic Queensland was the yoga and guided meditations. I had always struggled with meditating, but the lady there explained that by getting into that deep state of meditation you can make decisions and change yourself. And because of getting into contact with my true self and deciding no more alcohol, I have seriously found this recovery easy. But I’m never going to let my guard down again.

I go to NA meetings almost every day and have done so for the last 20 months. I read my Just For Today meditation and broke my recovery down to one day at a time. When the depression starts to kick in, I write a gratitude list and sometimes when it’s really bad I pray for strength and guidance, and it works for me. I’m zen these days, life is serene, and I get joy out of the little things. I don’t have that need to seek out big dangerous things, I prefer spending time in nature. My life is better than it ever was. I have great relationships with my ex-wife, my children and my friends. I’m not the odd one out because I was the guy on ice, I’m the odd one out because I’m so healthy. I’ve now become an inspiration to my friends, and other addicts. I went back to Hader Clinic Queensland as part of H & I, and it was the best feeling in the world to speak to people like me and maybe say something that will save someone’s life. It was a special night.

If anyone’s thinking about Hader Clinic Queensland for residential addiction treatment, I would recommend it. I can’t fault it. The nurses were lovely and seemed to legitimately care. I went from the penthouse to the doghouse to now climbing up the stairs with a smile on my face.

James’ Story of Drug and Alcohol Addiction Recovery

James is approaching one year clean and sober after completing the 29-day Drug and Alcohol Detox Program at Hader Clinic Queensland. This is his story.

I started drinking and taking party drugs when I was 16, and the alcohol and drug addiction carried on from there. I was drinking and using every day, and then in the year before I sought treatment, I was injecting meth daily. I needed help to stop, and I needed to save my marriage, so I was admitted into treatment at Hader Clinic Queensland to undergo their detox and withdrawal program.

I took anything and everything – weed, acid, cocaine and then meth. I loved partying and in turn, loved taking drugs. I smoked weed every day, but I kept the other drugs until the weekend. Eventually, it became harder to get up and work, so I started using meth daily and then ultimately injecting it. I’ve been a mechanic for 20 years and had my own business for 10. Although I was still getting stuff done at work while using, I was spending a lot of time stuffing around during the day and then having to get it all done at night.

The drug and alcohol addiction mostly impacted my relationship with my wife. We’d grown up together and have been married for 25 years. We did everything together, drinking and drugs, you name it. But in the last couple of years before I got addiction treatment at Hader Clinic Queensland, my meth use ramped up and my wife and I started to drift apart. It didn’t help that I was also working big hours to supplement my wife’s gambling addiction.

Eventually, I knew I had to go to rehab. I was talking to an older fellow, a role model, and I was explaining that I just didn’t know how to go to rehab with the business and everything. My business was providing for my family as my wife had recently lost her job due to her gambling addiction and I was worried about the kids. So, my wife went and spoke to my sister, and told her I was injecting meth and what had been going on for us. My family confronted me and started looking for rehabs.

I wasn’t keen on residential addiction treatment, but I knew I had to do something to save my marriage and my family. We ended up finding Hader Clinic Queensland, and their 29-day program looked like the right amount of time that I could be away from my family and my business. My mum came and helped out with the kids and financially as well to set me up for detox, even talking to Hader Clinic Queensland on the phone a couple of times.

It took me a couple of weeks at Hader before I actually started listening and participating. We had an in-house men’s meeting that was pretty emotional, and I ended up having an eye-opening moment, the counsellor called it a ‘spiritual awakening’. After that, I really put my head down and started doing the work, stopped messing around and telling them what I thought they wanted to hear. Mark was really great during my time at Hader Clinic Queensland, I got a lot out of him during the lessons. But the main thing I took out of my time there was how important the meetings were.

I’m coming up to a year of sobriety now and it’s been great. Life’s been really good, the kids are doing well at school, the business is going well and we’ve also got a baby on the way. My wife and I are recovering together and getting along. I’m really lucky that we have each other. It’s been 8 months since my wife has had a drink, drug, or a game, she’s doing really well. I’ve been going to on average 6 meetings a week, and I have a sponsor. My sponsor wants me to start the steps again now that they’ve entered the picture, so I will complete step one by the year mark, which is coming up soon. I’m working on finding the balance for everything at the moment. It hasn’t been easy but I’ve been putting my mind to it and just keep moving forward.

The photo of this client has been changed for their privacy.

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.

Larisa’s Story of Addiction Recovery

Larisa recently completed the 29-day residential addiction treatment for her addiction. This is her story.

My addiction started when I had my first child in the middle of the COVID pandemic. It took much convincing from my husband and his family for me to seek out residential addiction treatment at Hader Clinic Queensland.

As any woman would know, having a child can be a very isolating experience, but in addition I had the pandemic and was in a different state to our extended families. I had a very traumatic birth that ended in an emergency c-section, and I have since been diagnosed with PTSD from the experience.

I used to take prescription opioids for back pain and period pain when you could just get them over the counter and never seemed to have a problem with them. It wasn’t until the traumatic birth of my first child that my addiction really started. My cycle of addiction started with opioids when I was prescribed them after the birth of my son as I was in a lot of pain. I was taking them for a while until the physical pain subsided, and when I stopped taking them I realised that they were making me feel better in other ways.

I quite liked the feeling the opioids were giving me but managed not to take them for a while because I was breastfeeding, and I didn’t want to keep taking them. However, once my son weaned it felt like I could do what I wanted. I remembered the feeling they gave me and as I was stressed from other things and going back to work I started seeking them out again.

This was when they changed the laws around over-the-counter medicines and you needed a prescription, so I started doctor shopping. I was doctor shopping to be able to get more and more prescriptions and I was in denial for a long time as even though I needed them for my back pain, I didn’t need as much as I was taking. I kept saying I didn’t have a problem which made the doctor shopping last as long as it did since I was justifying to myself that I actually needed them.

My husband and I were living in Queensland and when I was diagnosed with postpartum depression we made the decision to move back to South Australia to be close to our families. We thought this would be helpful as we would have more support from our loved ones. It was a stressful time moving, but I thought it would help overall, unfortunately, I just got more and more stressed with family drama and other things.

What took me down a really bad road was the fact that my mother-in-law and father both had chronic illnesses with basically an infinite supply of opiates. For example, my mother-in-law was being prescribed 180 Panadeine Forte at a time and I knew exactly where they were kept. I started to get really clever with sneaking a few pills out of my mother-in-law’s room, and then from my father’s prescribed opiates as well.

While I was doing that I was constantly saying to myself how it was wrong and wasn’t like me. I’ve always been a very honest person, but it was like I completely lost control of what I was doing and just couldn’t stop.

Eventually, my mother-in-law realised that a lot of her tablets had suddenly gone missing, and my brother-in-law figured out it was me. They staged a family intervention with my husband, and I went to the doctor and planned to detox without going through opioid withdrawal. I was doing well for maybe a week or two and then I changed to alcohol instead.

Everyone kept telling me that I shouldn’t drink alcohol because I would just replace the opioids with the alcohol, but I convinced myself that I wouldn’t and that I would be fine. There were a few family gatherings where I’d only drink a few glasses but within a month it turned into buying bottles of vodka and hiding them from my husband. It was the addict side of me taking over again as I knew I couldn’t get the opioids anymore, so I turned to alcohol instead.

I was a high-functioning addict because I was still able to work and do most things during this time. I did feel unwell a lot of the time, but I hid it well as I was never throwing up or anything like that, I would just get up and have another shot to get through the rest of the day. I’m not sure how I was still able to function, but I did.

Eventually, I hit rock bottom, I kept blacking out and my husband noticed so he found Hader Clinic Queensland and convinced me to go. At first, I kept saying I didn’t want to go to rehab and that it would be too hard to stay away from my son.

I remember going to my mother-in-law’s house and she was talking about it and then my brother-in-law turned up as well and was bringing it up, saying that they didn’t think I had a choice and that I couldn’t do it alone and it would be helpful. It took a lot of convincing as I thought I could beat addiction myself even though I clearly couldn’t.

Eventually, I gave in and said I’ll go up for Hader Clinic Queensland’s 29-day program. There were a lot of tears, but I was worried that if I didn’t do it my family wouldn’t trust me again, so I made it up there.

I learnt a lot about myself at Hader Clinic Queensland and having those four weeks to focus on myself was really great. I think everyone should do it for themselves, even just for their own mental health.

It was great having the sessions with the Psychologist and Psychiatrist, the classes and just talking to everyone else in the community as well. I learnt a lot about what led me to use substances in the first place, it wasn’t just something that happened, there was a reason why I needed them to make myself feel better.

The residential addiction treatment really helped me deal with the underlying issues of my addiction, like the trauma from the birth of my son that I haven’t appropriately processed, so now I’m doing therapy for that. I was also diagnosed with OCD which has also helped because I’m getting on top of that. I learnt so much about addiction, the disease and how it works and that I’m not alone in it, and the support and going to meetings as well.

I never thought I would go to meetings as I didn’t know what they were except what you see on movies or on tv shows, but since my alcohol addiction treatment at Hader Clinic Queensland, I’ve been going to meetings daily. It’s nice to be able to share how I’m feeling and be the most honest I can be with no judgement. It’s also good to hear others’ stories as they can be really motivating.

It’s been challenging as it’s definitely easier in the clinic, but the main thing I am doing is going to meetings and I’ve managed to find a sponsor who will help me progress through the steps. I’ve also been really honest with my husband and trying to keep myself as accountable as I can.

The biggest impact my addiction has had is on my relationships due to the lying and stealing, which was not like me at all. Everyone trusted me, even when things were missing I was the last person they would suspect, so my addiction has really impacted that trust.

My family is still walking on eggshells a bit but I’m hopeful that I’m getting there. They’re all really supportive and they’ve been telling me that it’s great to have ‘me’ back. I’ve been with my husband for 11 years, so his family knows me very well, and it’s been really rewarding having them make those comments that I’m like myself again because I felt like I completely lost who I was before going to Hader Clinic Queensland.

Lastly, I want to tell anyone that is struggling with addiction, is thinking about going to rehab, or is trying to be talked into going like I was, it’s so much more rewarding than what you could imagine. It was nothing like I expected, and it was so beneficial to have that time away from work, away from any triggers to just focus on myself and get myself together, recover and make some connections with people. It was such a rewarding experience and it’s not something to be scared of, there’s nothing really bad that can come out of going. It’s worth it in the long run. My husband said to me before I went because I was worried about being away from my son for such a long time – it’s a month or it could be the rest of your life, and I think that’s something that is really valuable.

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