Alexia at Hader Clinic Queensland

Sheehan’s Journey Through Alcohol Addiction to Recovery

After 60 days of residential addiction treatment at Hader Clinic Queensland, Sheehan is over nine months clean and sober. This is his story.

After a childhood of moving around a lot, I discovered alcohol and drugs in my teens which resulted in years of active addiction. I’ve completed 60 days of residential addiction treatment at Hader Clinic Queensland and am looking to a future sober and free from drugs.

My parents migrated to England from East Africa before I was born, and we spent all of my childhood moving countries every couple of years and changing schools every few months. I struggled to develop close friendships and experienced a feeling of internal displacement from the constant readjusting after each move. When I was 15 I drank alcohol for the first time and smoked a bit of pot.

I hadn’t been exposed to alcohol really before this, except in music, movies, and TV where it was romanticised, so I went pretty hard. Even though I had made a mess of myself I do remember loving it from the start though, because of the feeling of peace I felt when I drank. All the noise and confusion and feelings of internal displacement that was running through my teenage head was quiet. And I was able to talk to girls.

When I was 18 I decided to move back to Australia which we had spent some time in during my childhood. I studied at university and developed strong relationships with people that I am still friends with today. But I had developed a relationship with alcohol that was already turning into alcoholism.

I knew that drinking by myself wasn’t great so I used social situations to feel more comfortable. I also dabbled in drugs, getting really into psychedelics as I tried to find the answers to life’s big questions. My drug use has always kind of been there but fluctuating, whereas alcohol has been my primary drug. Alcohol was always available, legal, and everywhere in Australia and overseas.

After university, I worked on and off as I went through lots of blackout benders and travelling. I was in a long-term relationship, and she tried to make it work even though I wasn’t a great partner. She even took me to my first-ever AA meeting. I was so drunk I don’t remember much, but I do remember being very uncomfortable. However, it planted a seed.

Over the years I went through periods of being dry drunk and then relapsing. I moved in and out of my parent’s home up north, gained weight and drank more. It continued like that pretty much up until I went to rehab.

In the lead-up to going to Hader Clinic Queensland, I had lost jobs, had relationships fail, and gone through periods of feeling suicidal. I’d tried going to AA a few times, but things just went from bad to worse. Eventually, I started opening up to my family more and my Mum recommended Hader Clinic Queensland and alcohol addiction treatment to me.

I called them and chatted with JJ and Jo. I didn’t go in straight away; it wasn’t until I realised that I couldn’t do it on my own that I booked in. I tried to stay dry in the lead-up to rehab but it just wasn’t really possible for me. I decided to have one last hurrah.

In the end, 60 days of alcohol addiction treatment at Hader Clinic Queensland saved my life. When I checked in I didn’t really need detox and I didn’t want to mess around so I went straight to the rehab program.

One of the best things I took from my time in Hader was when I walked into a class that Mark was running and he was explaining the difference between being abstinent and being in recovery. It really sunk in what that difference was, and I still think about it almost on a daily basis. I realised that my sober periods before never really worked for me because just stopping drinking and taking drugs isn’t enough, I need to work on myself.

After completing 60 days of residential addiction treatment, I’m still working on myself and my recovery every day. I go to meetings every day, sometimes twice if I have the time.

I do everything that Hader Clinic Queensland taught me in the rooms. I maintain the fitness I got back during my time in rehab. I’ve got a great sponsor, and I’ve got God in my life again. I pray every day and I try to meditate as well. I’m even looking into seeing a therapist to help me resolve some past traumas that I know I need professional help with.

Another big thing I took from my time in rehab was the importance of re-establishing and maintaining loving and caring relationships in your life. Those connections are one of the most important things to me now. I have a lot of people in my life that I love, and who I’m loved by, and I’m just very grateful.

Thanks to my time in Hader Clinic Queensland’s drug addiction treatment, I’m over nine months sober, and recovery and those love-filled relationships are the biggest part of my life.

Joe’s Journey Through DVA-Funded Addiction Treatment

Now in Hader Clinic Queensland’s Transitional Housing Program, Joe completed 90 days of DVA-funded residential addiction treatment and is feeling better than ever. This is his story.

I lived a life of active addiction after experiencing some trauma in childhood, difficult experiences in the army, and losing a child to Sudden Infant Death syndrome. Most of my time as a young adult I spent using drugs and drinking alcohol, and eventually, it affected every aspect of my life until the point that it was either get help or die. I have now completed 97 days of residential addiction treatment through Hader Clinic and am in the Transition Program, with a new life ahead of me.

I started taking prescription pills when I was a pre-teen after an event that happened to me early in life. Through my teens, I was using speed, marijuana, party drugs, painkillers and dabbled in intravenous use. When I was 17 I joined the army and attempted special forces and completed recon and several other courses including combat first aid.

I experienced some pretty tough medical incidents as a combat first aider that have stuck with me. Drinking culture in the military is huge which meant if you didn’t drink you were left behind pretty quickly. So, my drinking was pretty heavy and I was also using heavy amounts of pain medication. As a combat first aider, I had access to lots of painkillers, including morphine. Eventually, I spoke up about what was happening, I tested positive and was discharged from the army.

When you leave the army you lose all sense of purpose and are completely lost. I got a job in a pub and was still using drugs. I was definitely a poly-substance user, but the one thing that was pretty consistent was the painkillers.

When I had my first child I reduced my drug use, slowed my drinking, and stopped intravenous use. After my second child was born I lost my job as I was stealing money to fund my drug habit. I got involved with the wrong kind of people as I had been missing the brotherhood feeling from the military. I left my partner and started up intravenous meth use in addition to what I was already doing at the time, but I always made sure that I didn’t inject through my arms to hide it from my kids and family.

I ended up getting a job in a hospital that I loved so I applied to study medicine. But things were getting worse, so when I was supposed to start med school I ended up in the ICU a couple of times. I had some overdoses but was still able to hide it from my family and kids. I had been lying for years and using a friend as next-of-kin so they didn’t know about the hospital visits.

I blew every opportunity to break the cycle of addiction and eventually was told by a doctor that I had six months or less left to live. I went to the pub to celebrate. My Mum found out about my alcohol and drug addiction when I locked myself out, called her to help, and she found me completely passed out with tracks in my arm. She googled rehabs and found Hader Clinic Queensland and suggested it to me. To please everybody, I went in but when I found out that I wasn’t going to be able to leave rehab to go use I did freak out.

The first month in drug and alcohol detox I was a complete mess. I eventually realised that when you’re in my kind of situation, 28 days was not going to be enough. I needed to grasp the concept that I had a problem before I could start to do the work to change. Rehab was good, the staff were awesome, and the best thing was definitely the fact that all of the staff had lived experience. It was imperative to me that I wasn’t going to be told stuff from someone who had just read it in a textbook. I could actually learn from someone who had been there before and done it. The individual support was amazing and there were a couple of specific people that definitely saved my life.

I did 97 days of DVA-funded addiction treatment and am one month into Hader Clinic Queensland’s Transitional Housing Program. I didn’t think I had changed, but the people I respect and trust said that I have grown incredibly as a person. The Transitional Housing Program is a brilliant program that has been really really good at getting me used to the realities of life with the support I need.

If I had gone straight back into the real world I would likely be in active addiction again. My life now is good. I’m the healthiest I’ve ever been, my head’s clear, and I’m in the best shape I’ve been in a very, very long time. I’m nowhere near as reactive and I can face life’s challenges head on and not blow things out of proportion. I am in the best mental state I’ve been in since I started using painkillers as a pre-teen and it’s all because I decided to do the work and complete 120 days (and counting) of DVA-funded addiction treatment at Hader Clinic Queensland.


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

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.

Scott’s Journey through Alcohol Addiction Treatment to Sponsorship

Scott is in recovery and supporting others to stay sober after completing residential addiction treatment at Hader Clinic Queensland. This is his story.

Alcohol addiction is a disease with a cycle of addiction that runs in my family. My father is 38 years sober, my brother is 6 years sober, and I was almost 11 years sober when I was diagnosed with cancer and relapsed. I was at my lowest when, with the support of my family, I went to Hader Clinic Queensland and completed 60 days of alcohol addiction treatment. I’ve been sober ever since and am helping others to do the same.

My relationship with alcohol started at a young age as I watched my father grapple with addiction and recovery. I despised alcohol, and the 12-step program, because they took my father away from me for a period of time. As a young man that negative relationship turned into aggressive blackout drinking. I was a functioning alcoholic who worked hard and played hard. Fortunately, around the time my daughter was born, I had a light-bulb moment and I got sober. I was sober for almost 11 years, helping others to work their way through addiction and even supporting my brother to sobriety when he went through Hader Clinic Queensland.

Then the perfect storm hit. I was diagnosed with cancer on a Monday and wrote my will before surgery on Thursday. I had no idea whether I was going to live or die. Instead of processing it emotionally or physically, I spent my time working 10 hours a day, 6 days a week, and doing radiation treatment in the morning and evening. I stopped reaching out to my sponsor, stopped sponsoring others, stopped attending meetings, and stopped doing service. I didn’t want to feel so I picked up a drink.

During my relapse, I knew at some point my ability to continue functioning and providing for my family was going to break. It all came crashing down around me as my family and employers became aware, and my wife of 30 years made the powerful decision to leave me (which I’m now very grateful and proud of her for doing).

So, I resolved to end my life. I planned out how I was going to do it, where I was going to do it, and when I was going to do it. But my higher power had another plan as on the day I was going to end my life, Rural Alive and Well attempted to contact me three times and then sent the police for a welfare check. The police took me to the hospital where I detoxed for 24 hours.

My brother recognised what was going on, and due to his pre-existing relationship with Hader Clinic Queensland, he contacted them while I was in hospital. They were absolutely first-class in their response and understanding, and within 48 hours I was booked in.

I flew up to Queensland and entered Hader Clinic with 48 hours of sobriety under my belt. The receptionist, nursing staff, GP, and Mark in particular made me feel very welcome. I had a strong pre-existing knowledge of the program, so I was able to get through the non-physical part of alcohol detox comfortably. At the end of my 28 days, I didn’t feel like it was time to leave yet so I booked in for an extra 30 days of rehab, committing to my recovery and making sure I attended every class.

The unique part about Hader Clinic Queensland is that every staff member, including some of the medical staff, are recovering alcoholics or addicts. In 1930’s Bill and Bob created the 12-step program, a program of one alcoholic/addict sharing their experience, strength, and hope to another alcoholic/addict and helping them stay clean and sober. In Hader Clinic Queensland that extends to their staff, which is a unique and positive aspect to the program.

I successfully completed the 60-day program at Hader Clinic Queensland, and I am very grateful to all the staff of the Hader program, especially those that I worked close with, Rosie, Jason, Riri and Mark who helped me through the massive highs and lows I went through. When I entered Hader Clinic Queensland’s residential treatment program I was 107 kilograms and when I left I was 88. Ever since my life has been great as I have been exercising and eating clean and fulfilling some lifelong dreams of mine.

I have an overwhelming desire to return to give-back at Hader Clinic Queensland and one day work in the field. Since leaving rehab I have completed the 12 steps and I’m working the program every day. I have a sponsor who supports me not only in my own recovery, but in coaching me to sponsor others. Because of my almost 11 years of sobriety before my relapse and my deep knowledge and working of the program.

My sponsor is comfortable with me sponsoring others and I am currently working with 8 sponsees. My goal is to continue to give away what’s been given to me and help as many people on the road to recovery as much as I possibly can. My sponsor and Gary Simpson, one of the founders of NA in Australia, are currently coaching me to achieve just that. I feel very fortunate and blessed that I get to live the rest of my life trying to do what Bill and Bob set out to do in 1930/1935 when they got sober; help others do the same.

Veteran Ross’ Journey Through DVA-Funded Ice Addiction Treatment

After becoming homeless Ross completed the 90-day residential addiction treatment, and the 9-month transitional housing program at Hader Clinic Queensland, and is now over two years clean. This is his story.

Most of my life I’ve been using drugs and alcohol but things really began to spiral out of control when I started using meth. It was when I really hit rock bottom that I decided to try rehab and called Hader Clinic which got me into DVA-funded addiction treatment, and after some hard work, I’m now two and a half years clean.

I started when I was a teenager, smoking marijuana and drinking a lot. I just worked, smoked and drank until my 20s when I went to work in the mines and then joined the army. I quit the drugs and just drank alcohol while I was working in the mines, and I proceeded to do that when I joined the army as well. I was in the army for a few years and left toward the end of my 20s. It wasn’t really until my 30s that I started up on the drugs again. I’d tried amphetamines, or speed, before so when I was hanging out with some people that offered me meth I thought, why not.

But that’s when things really went downhill for me. Once I started, I was hooked. I started selling weed and that covered the cost of the meth for me, and at that time I was only smoking it every couple of weeks. I made a lot of money dealing weed, but I eventually gave up as it got too stressful, and I just didn’t want to do it anymore.

By then my ice addiction had started to take hold and I began using every day. Eventually, my money started running out so I had to start selling meth, and so I had access to a lot of it and I was in the throes of addiction. My life started spiralling, I became homeless, and I just was in a really dark place.

When I was living in a men’s homeless shelter, I started seeing a caseworker from the Salvation Army weekly for a couple of years. At the end of every session, she would mention Hader Clinic Queensland’s residential addiction program, and how I could access the program through DVA, so I didn’t have to pay out of pocket.

I was not in the right headspace, so I eventually told her to stop mentioning it to me as I wasn’t interested. I said I would work my stuff out by myself, I just needed to get it together, but really, I was just wanting to end my life. I even made plans to that effect, but then one night this feeling came over me that I was worth more than this. It was the smallest window into a feeling of self-worth and that I was meant for a better life than the one I was living. And then Hader popped into my head.

So I called Hader Clinic the next day, and they explained how it all worked with DVA and everything, but I didn’t book in then and there. I wanted to wait for my paycheck to come in so I could buy some stuff in preparation for the 90 days of DVA-funded addiction treatment. It took me about a month to call back, but when I did they got me into the program within days. I didn’t even have to do anything with DVA, Hader organised the whole thing so all I had to do was fill out the forms and go to rehab.

I was so reluctant when I got to Hader. I had no idea what to expect. I guess I saw it as surgery where you go in, they fix you, and then you come out better. So yeah, I was way off, but I had a great counsellor that I could talk to and be honest about what I was experiencing during my time there. That was the best part of my experience in the program, being able to talk to someone who just listened to me and didn’t try to push something on me.

After 90 days I went to the transition program and I enjoyed having the accountability and honesty of the rehab program but also the freedom to do what I wanted with my days. It was a good way to get back into the real world without losing the support. I would have my weekly chats with Olivia and just talk about how I was feeling, and my concerns, and just be truly honest about how I was going. I got to take the program at my own pace and continue to work on what was going on in my head while adapting back to society.

After the transition program, I didn’t do much but focus on my recovery. I went to a meeting every day and I just took it one day at a time. I was dedicated to staying clean and that meant just taking it day by day and not being hard on myself. I took it slow and I took it easy, and I didn’t compare myself to others, which is something I had to learn.

I always tell the newcomers at NA that it’s hard but you just take one day at a time for the first three months and it gets easier to manage. I’m much better at managing what life throws at me. I relax and avoid things that are too stressful as I know my limits better now.

I’m now 2 and a half years sober, I go to meetings at least once a week, and I meditate when I’m feeling overwhelmed. From a dark headspace in the throes of addiction, through DVA-funded ice addiction treatment at Hader Clinic Queensland, the transition program, and now living clean for over 2 years. It’s a roller-coaster but it’s worth it.

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

Cam’s Alcohol and Drug Addiction Treatment Journey

After 30 years in the throes of addiction, Cam is over five months sober and looking forward to a life of recovery. This is his story.

I started drinking alcohol and experimenting with drugs at a young age, but things really started to take a turn and I became addicted to the prescription drug benzos before ending up in alcohol detox and residential addiction treatment at Hader Clinic Queensland. In rehab I learnt that alcoholism is an illness, something that my family and I didn’t understand before.

My alcohol addiction began when I was in my early teens. My school at the time had a culture of experimenting with drugs and alcohol, but something that set me apart from the others was that I couldn’t control it. Whereas others would come to a party with a six pack I would turn up with a carton and a bottle. I just wanted to get drunk as fast as I could, ended up almost dying and hospitalised in my mid-teens, and had a DUI as soon as I got my P plates at 17.

The alcohol was what I mainly stuck with through my life, the other drugs came and went but the alcohol was a constant. I got married young and had kids, so I kicked the drugs to the curb but thought it was normal to keep drinking. That manifested over the years into what is now a really strong addiction. I experienced a couple of job losses from my alcoholism, one as a direct result and the other I left before it could eventuate. In my 30s everything just started to crumble around me as my marriage broke down, my friendships were affected, and my finances started to take a hit. Up until that point I thought I was fine because I was still taking care of my kids and paying my bills, but I was really just treading water.

As a result of my drinking, I developed anxiety and depression, so I sought help from a psychiatrist. I went 30 days alcohol-free but was prescribed Valium which I started to develop an addiction to. It was a double-edged sword as I used the benzos to control my alcoholism. After my divorce, my addiction got worse and I was basically just working a lot, looking after my kids, and using drugs and drinking alcohol.

Then this year I was stood down from my job and deemed unfit for work. I saw a psychiatrist and they basically told me that there was nothing more they could do to help me because of my alcohol and drug addiction. I was told to seek residential addiction treatment, which honestly wasn’t something that I was really willing to try. But I was suicidal and just didn’t want to live anymore so I started googling rehabs and came across Hader Clinic Queensland. I thank my higher power for looking after me and guiding me that day.

At first I was really scared. I had never tried anything like rehab, and I was experiencing a lot of anxiety and panic attacks at the time so I was quite on edge. I struggled at the beginning of my time in Hader, by day four I wanted to leave. I was in alcohol withdrawal and just wanted to get out of there. The staff at Hader talked me into staying, which was definitely the right thing for me. What really helped me stay was that all the Hader support staff have had similar experiences and could relate to and understand what I was going through.

So, I completed Hader Clinic Queensland’s alcohol detox program and started my 30 days of rehab. The rehabilitation program was really structured which I liked, with the daily morning readings, the classes and the 12 step meetings which were essential. But I will admit I was still on edge, even at the beginning of the rehab program. It wasn’t until I finally fully surrendered to the program once I realised that without doing that I wasn’t going to get anything out of my time there.

Once I surrendered it was like a breath of fresh air and I began to take in everything I was being taught and it all just started to flow. I completed Hader Clinic Queensland’s 28-day detox program and the 30 day rehab program. Once I came out of Hader I had the tools and belief in myself that I could stay sober. For the first month out of rehab I did the aftercare program and counselling with Olivia, and it was super helpful to catch up with someone each week who knew my background and could walk me through transitioning back into day-to-day life. I quickly found a sponsor and a home group and am now a very grateful member of the fellowship that Hader introduced me to, which has been an absolute game-changer for me.

Life has been so much better since my time at Hader Clinic Queensland. Doors started opening up for me, I got rid of all my old resentments and made changes that feel amazing. I’m a completely different person. I still have everyday problems but now I don’t get as affected by them as I used to. I’m not that angry, frustrated person where nothing seems to go right for me like I was in active addiction. My biggest takeaway has definitely been learning that alcoholism is an illness, and I now have the tools and beliefs to manage it and live a simple suggested program of recovery. Thanks to the residential detox and rehabilitation addiction treatment programs at Hader Clinic Queensland I am over 5 months sober and every aspect of my life has changed for the better.

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

Mel’s Journey Through Alcohol Addiction Treatment

After 90 days in residential addiction treatment, Mel is nine months sober and looking to the future. This is her story.

Alcohol addiction has a history in my family over multiple generations, but I didn’t think I was an alcoholic until I started my 90 days of residential addiction treatment at Hader Clinic Queensland. You might be wondering how I couldn’t think I was an alcoholic when I had enrolled myself in alcohol addiction treatment, but the reality was I knew I had a problem, but I just thought I needed some time out.

Having a family of heavy drinkers meant that I was introduced to alcohol pretty early in my life, but it wasn’t until the COVID-19 pandemic that things started to affect me.

In my 20s and 30s I was a binge drinker but not in a way that raised alarm bells. I had a lovely house, 2 cats and a successful career. On the outside, I was doing really well. Then the COVID-19 pandemic hit, and things started to spiral out of control for me.

I had a very high-pressure job where I was working from home, and I started to become very isolated. My drinking progressed into daily drinking as I gradually became dependent on alcohol as a way of coping with the stress and relieving the anxiety and depression that I’ve had for most of my life. I was working like a dog and drinking heavily to cope with it.

I also isolated myself more and more because I was drinking so much. I started drinking while I was working because I was working from home, so I didn’t think there was anything wrong with that.

I wasn’t looking after myself at all and my health really started to deteriorate. From the outside, I was a happy, bubbly, lively person because I could turn it on as needed, but on the inside, I was fractured. I’d been suicidal over the years, but I had never tried anything until this period of my life when I first attempted suicide.

It’s hard to process how I got to residential addiction treatment at Hader Clinic Queensland as it’s a bit of a blur, but I remember feeling like I just needed some time out. A chance to put a pause on my life and reset, which I thought would solve the drinking.

So, I started Googling healthy detox places in Bali and Thailand but I soon realised that I was under too much financial stress and couldn’t afford those programs. Funnily enough, because I was Googling detox programs I came across Hader Clinic Queensland. I was probably drunk at the time, but I thought, perfect, an opportunity to go away and eat healthily and be without alcohol for a month. So, I sent an email to Hader and days later I was completing the admission process.

I’m not going to sugarcoat it; Hader Clinic Queensland was hard on me at the beginning. I went in with preconceived ideas of what alcohol detox would be, and I was shown pretty quickly how wrong I was.

I was overwhelmed and struggling but two weeks in I realised that I was an alcoholic, I couldn’t do it on my own and I needed to stay longer than 30 days. Once that realisation kicked in I went to Mark and asked “How do we keep me here?”. I extended my program to the 90-day alcohol addiction treatment program and for the first time, I had to admit to people in my life what was going on.

Once I committed to the program I started to work hard at my recovery. A big part of the program at Hader was having to do AA, and I think that’s the best thing I took from it. I know other programs it’s optional or not included, but for me having AA as a requirement was the best thing for me and I wouldn’t be sober without it. AA has given me so much support through the meetings and the fellowship, and meeting different people like me who were very successful in their careers and struggled with alcohol dependence.

I believe support is vital in recovery when you’re emotionally vulnerable, and I’ve seen so many of my friends fall off the wagon because they didn’t embrace the ongoing support of AA and NA that Hader Clinic Queensland introduces you to.

Life is still life since leaving rehab, but I am so much better equipped to handle things as they come. I’ve grown so much since I left treatment. I embrace the spiritual aspect of the program and I start the day with a whole hour to myself to work out, pray and meditate. I am back at work, but I’ve left my ego at the door, taken a lesser-paid job, sold my house and moved into a rental with my partner. Not something I thought I would ever do because of pride but my time at Hader Clinic Queensland really humbled me.

I have a much more peaceful existence now being nine months sober and practising active recovery. I take pleasure from the simple things, and I am accountable.

Entering Hader Clinic Queensland, I had thought of myself as a victim and that I had done nothing wrong, but I soon came to realise how much addiction had changed me and impacted those around me.

Since my time in residential alcohol addiction treatment, I have been honest with those around me and am creating more meaningful relationships. I am embracing a simple, peaceful life and enjoying my days that are now so much more fulfilling.


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

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