Ben’s Journey through Residential Addiction Treatment to Program Coordinator
Ben completed 90 days of residential addiction treatment and then went on to study at university. He then returned to Hader Clinic Queensland as a support worker and has now moved up to become one of the program coordinators. This is his story.
What started as partying in my teens snowballed into a decade of using that I couldn’t control and eventually, I had to seek residential addiction treatment. I was a swimmer in high school, and I found partying, drinking and taking drugs as a release from it all. I would do anything and everything that I could get my hands on. After school, I worked in my family’s business and generally tried to keep my drug use separate. I used drugs on the weekends but sometimes I would do coke and drink gin to get through the days at work.
Eventually in a 2-and-a-half-year period leading up to rehab my life started to spiral and my drug use got out of control. I got married but it didn’t start off the way I suppose it’s meant to. I had tried to get clean before the wedding, but it didn’t last long as I wasn’t committed to the change.
I started pushing my wife away, my work and addiction lives came crashing together, and I started using drugs daily. I was doing an eight-ball of coke a day which put me in a lot of financial hardship. I was making bad decisions and behaving very differently from my norm. I was selfish and treated those around me poorly. I still look back and feel ashamed of my behaviour then.
I tried to end my life one night after a bender and ended up in a psych ward. I didn’t want anything to do with anyone so I took off for a few months down south, thinking that I could change all my problems by getting away. I got a job but within a couple of weeks, I was selling drugs while I was working.
One night I passed out and woke up to everything gone out of my apartment. I just lost everything. I lost my wife, and my family didn’t want to talk or have anything to do with me. I didn’t want this life anymore and wanted some sort of normalcy again.
So, I ended up calling my mum, who I hadn’t spoken to or said anything nice to in a while, and told her that I needed to go to rehab. She must have been waiting for me to reach out and make the decision to get help, as she had done all the research on getting help for a family member. She suggested Hader Clinic Queensland, so I booked in. I drove for 10 hours up to the Sunshine Coast, detoxed on their couch for seven days and then went to rehab at Hader Clinic.
The first two weeks were the hardest and probably two of the most depressing weeks of my life. I did and didn’t want to be there so I was searching for two weeks for a legitimate reason why I could leave. I couldn’t come up with a good enough reason to leave, and the Hader Clinic staff helped me finalise my decision to stay.
Drug addiction treatment is not an easy thing, but it came into my life when I needed it. I learnt a lot about myself during my 90 days in rehab. Not only did they help me give up drugs, they really helped me become a better person.
I got my life back! I was trapped in a cycle of addiction and Hader Clinic Queensland gave me back a life through their residential addiction treatment program. My previous life revolved around money and drugs, and now I have so many other, nice things in my life.
I lost things in my drug addiction that I will never get back. I don’t regret much in my life but what I do regret is not getting clean sooner. I have this whole new perspective on life and the things that I want in my life. Rehab doesn’t fix you; you fix you. But it gives you the tools you need, it sets you up to change your life.
I have a process now that I follow and the better I am at following it the more positive outcomes happen in my life. Previously I would make little things in my life into massive issues, and not pay any attention to the big things. Now I have that better perspective and can look at things a lot clearer, I am making decisions that are generally more positive.
I never thought it was in my future to be helping other addicts and alcoholics, but I was participating in a lot of give-back at Hader Clinic Queensland and an opportunity came up to become a Support Worker, which has now led to a position as Program Coordinator. I jumped at the opportunity to work at the place that had done so much for me. I see a lot of my old behaviours and justifications in the people going through Hader. I’ve been exactly where they are.
I’ve been learning a lot about how to adapt my approach to what people need. I needed tough love when I went through rehab, but I know now that it doesn’t work for everyone. I try to instil in the clients that we can teach you and inform you of all the good things you can have for yourself and your recovery, but if you’re not putting it into action you’re not getting the full benefits of rehab. The person who does the work when they are in treatment is going to have a much easier time going through recovery.
I started in rehab not wanting to do anything, I wasn’t committed to my recovery. But then I committed, and I started putting all that I was learning at Hader Clinic into practice. Now I have a better life where my work is supporting people who are going through what I did at the place that helped me. I go to the gym and feel a thousand times better afterwards, get a good night’s sleep and feel energised and ready for the next day. I’m making better decisions for myself which are helping to make the bigger things work out. It was never in my plan to be where I am now, but I don’t think I could be happier. I got my life back.
Photographs of this client have been changed to protect their privacy.
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