Amphetamines Archives - Hader Clinic Queensland

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.

Ten Ways to Avoid Social Triggers

Maintaining friendships and taking part in social gatherings – be it family functions, work events or the classic Australian backyard barbeque – is an important part of recovery.

However, it can also be one of the most complex aspects, as these occasions can be highly triggering for those recovering from substance use disorders.

Consider the following strategies to enjoy socialising without jeopardising your recovery process.

BYO

Bringing your own beverages to a gathering is a safeguard against well-meaning offers of alcohol or being cornered in an environment where no alcohol-free options are available.

Clear Boundaries

You are perfectly within your rights to let people know that, while you are happy attending the get-together, you will not be partaking in alcohol and/or drugs and would like your hosts and other guests to respect and support this choice.

Buddy Up

If you’re not comfortable announcing your recovery status to the entire party, choose a trusted friend or family member as your moral support. If anyone offers you alcohol and/or drugs or tries to pry into your motives for abstaining, your buddy can provide distraction or simply whisk you away.

Escape Routes

If you suspect that certain parties at a gathering could compromise your recovery, plan your escape. Set an alarm on your phone and claim a work or family emergency for a quick exit.

Communicate

It is unlikely that your loved ones will give you a hard time for abstaining from alcohol and/or drugs; but open communication is always a good idea. If you are comfortable talking about your recovery journey, your loved ones will gather valuable insights and be able to support you more effectively.

Be Selective

There is no need to attend every get-together you’re invited to. To avoid getting overwhelmed choose your social events wisely and save your energy for occasions you are genuinely excited about.

Compare Notes

If you are feeling anxious about a social event, have a chat with your support group, mentors, or fellow recovering addicts. Knowing you are not alone with your feelings can be tremendously helpful – as can exchanging coping strategies.

Realistic Expectations

Truthfully, the first attempts at socialising during active recovery can be challenging and awkward – and that is perfectly normal. Learning to socialise without alcohol and/or drugs takes practise and does get easier over time.

Debrief

Scheduling a call or coffee with a supportive friend or fellow recovering addict to recap your experience of a social event can be very helpful in identifying particularly potent triggers and reinforcing your recovery momentum.

Trust Your Gut

If you’re have a bad feeling about a gathering, don’t go. If you feel like leaving half an hour into a celebration, do it. If, to your surprise, you find yourself having a great time and would like to stay longer than planned – fantastic! Treat yourself kindly and trust your recovery instincts.

Christmas Addiction Triggers and How to Manage Them

Christmas. It’s the most wonderful time of the year…unless you are a recovering addict staring down the barrel of a month-long, no-holds-barred partying nightmare.

According to statistics from the Australian Alcohol and Drug Foundation (AADF), alcohol and/or substance-related incidents tend to spike dramatically throughout the festive season, including a 50% increase in ambulance attendance for intoxication. Add the social complexities of family get-togethers and work functions – or, in some cases, the lack thereof – and it’s no wonder that many recovering addicts view the month of December as an absolute minefield.

To make it through Christmas unscathed, it’s important to be aware of the most common triggers lying in wait and put strategies in place to avoid relapse. Some of the biggest challenges recovering addicts face during the silly season include:

Social Pressures

Yes, social drinking and/or substance use is bound to ramp up wherever you turn during the Christmas season; however, there are also other, more subtle stress factors at work. You may feel pressure to buy gifts for friends and family that you can’t really afford. You may worry about being labelled as rude for declining invitations to events that you deem too triggering. You may be about to see friends/family/colleagues for the first time since starting your recovery journey and have conflicting feelings about this.

Family and/or Friendship Dynamics

Theoretically, spending quality time with friends and family should be one of the best things about the festive season. In practice, it can be one of the most confronting aspects, especially when you’re in the middle of your recovery journey. There may be unresolved conflict that originates from your days of active addiction. It may be the first time socialising since you gave up drugs and/or alcohol, which can be a source of awkwardness, as some people may not know whether and/or how to approach the subject.

Loneliness

For some recovering addicts, Christmas can be a very lonely time – and loneliness is as powerful a trigger as social overstimulation. If you are not seeing family and/or old friends, whatever the reasons may be, you may experience a range of negative feelings that are counterproductive to your recovery.

However, it’s not all coal in this year’s stocking; with proper planning and consideration, you can minimise the impact of Christmas triggers and find the yuletide cheer without compromising your recovery.

Embracing “No”

This Christmas, give yourself the gift of saying “No” (or, if you feel some seasonal politeness is in order, “No, thank you”). You are allowed to decline offers of alcohol and/or drugs. You are allowed to decline invitations to events that you feel will be too hard to handle. You are even allowed to do so without explaining your motivations; although there is no harm in simply letting people know that you are in addiction recovery and need to look out for potentially harmful scenarios.

Allies Assemble

Everything is easier with a buddy. Trusted family members and/or friends make for excellent support systems during social gatherings. Having just one person in the room who knows what you are going through and can back you up if an uncomfortable situation arises can make all the difference. The same goes for recovering addicts who face a Christmas season without social gatherings; having a mentor/friend/counsellor you can call or meet up with to alleviate loneliness and maintain focus can be invaluable.

Self-Care First

Keeping up healthy habits during the Christmas season is enormously helpful. Eating well, hydrating in the scorching Australian summer, being active, taking time for mindfulness practice and – naturally – keeping up with your recovery program (be it AA/NA meetings or counselling sessions) are essential factors to ensure your wellbeing. Set yourself daily self-care goals and kick them – the effects will be self-evident.

Guerilla Tactics

Let’s be real: There’s always one (or more) friend/family member who is going to be difficult. That uncle insisting you have just one beer with him, that mate who bemoans the fact that you’re no longer cool…and sometimes there’s no avoiding seeing these people. If this happens, it’s time to go rogue. Bring your own non-alcoholic beverages to the party. Set a phone alarm to simulate a phone call and stage an early exit if necessary. Agree on a signal with your party buddy so they can step in and rescue you. Whatever works to keep your recovery going, now’s the time to do it.

Why Christmas is a Good Time to Seek Treatment

On the surface, Christmas may seem an unlikely time to seek treatment for drug and/or alcohol addiction. It’s a time to celebrate and spend with your loved ones. A time to make merry. However, therein lies the problem.

If you feel like your alcohol and/or substance use has spiralled out of control and will cause you and your loved ones anguish this Christmas, know help is available and there are some very good reasons to seek professional assistance this holiday.

It’s the Best Gift for your Loved Ones

You may think that your loved ones would hold it against you if you ‘disappeared’ into rehab during the Christmas season, but this is very unlikely. True, they may miss you and wish you could be with them, but starting your recovery journey is the best gift you could possibly give them. Reclaiming your life – and all the Christmases to come – will make every moment you spend with your loved ones better, simply because the real you will be present.

Christmas is Risky

Christmas can exacerbate substance misuse, after all, everyone is overindulging during the holidays; and it can have devastating consequences for you and your loved ones. Arguments, unsafe behaviour, embarrassing displays of simply being out of control – none of this says Christmas cheer, yet all of it is likely to occur when you mix addiction and the holiday season. By recognising your substance misuse and seeking help, you can pretty much guarantee you won’t impact Christmas negatively.

New Year, New Start

Entering rehab during the Christmas period means you can start the new year as a recovering addict rather than in active addiction. It may seem a little corny, but it also represents a fresh start in the truest sense of the word. Also, the thought of celebrating one year free from alcohol and/or drugs next Christmas can be a poetic and powerful prospect to see you through the rough patches of recovery.

It Gives your Loved Ones Time to Adjust

The kids are off school, most adults have some time off work…the Christmas period is not a bad time for your loved ones to come to terms with the effects of your addiction and the ins and outs of supporting you in your recovery. Remember, your loved ones are also going to need professional support and will need plenty of time to reflect – the holiday season can provide a very useful opportunity to do just that.

It is the Best Gift for You

If you are considering addiction treatment, give yourself the gift of taking the plunge this holiday season. Christmas is about love, kindness, forgiveness and giving…so giving yourself the chance to live a joyous, contended life free from addiction is the definition of the Christmas spirit.

Drug Addiction, Psychosis and Redemption

Lizzie shares her journey from private school high achiever to drug addiction, psychosis and redemption.

By Taylah Fellows, Courier Mail
Pictures: Lyndon Mechielsen/Courier Mail

This article is from the Courier Mail. (Subscription required).

 

Lizzie’s journey from a privileged upbringing to a decade-long battle with drug addiction and eventual redemption is both an inspiring and cautionary tale.

She had a privileged upbringing, was an academic achiever at Brisbane private school and loved playing sport, but still found it hard to make friends.

For Lizzie, turning to drugs at age 14 was a way to connect with others.

Alcohol made her feel “comfortable” for the first time in her life, but it quickly became boring and was replaced with benders, marijuana, MDMA and cocaine.

Days bled together and sleepless nights merged into school days, so she took Ritalin and other study drugs to complete assessments and exams.

It wasn’t long after she morphed into a “party girl” that teenage Lizzie was introduced to methamphetamine.

“It was a big secret up until it wasn‘t,” she said.

“I knew how dangerous it was … we’d get amped up on ice and be super stimulated and then take GHB which does the complete opposite.

“I hid it pretty well for my family until friends were overdosing and I was failing school.

“I was getting really skinny and I wasn’t coming home and eventually, I was in a drug psychosis and I ended up just having to tell mum what was going on.”

Despite experiencing several mental breakdowns during her college years, Lizzie didn’t consider herself an addict.

She tried rehabilitation. It didn’t stick.

“While I was there my best friend died,” she said.

“I was in so much emotional pain I turned to self harm and I ended up taking someone else’s medication in there to try and soothe myself and I got kicked out.”

Mental health disorders, including substance use disorders, are the third leading cause of healthy years of life lost for Queenslanders.

Drug use disorders alone cost Queenslanders 50,854 years in 2022, up 2.1 per cent compared to 2021.

A 2022 inquiry into improving mental health outcomes found additional alcohol and withdrawal beds were needed across the state, as well as other specialist services to treat people living with substance abuse disorders including pharmacotherapy, psychosocial intervention, rehabilitation and harm reduction services.

There was a particular lack of treatment options and beds available in regional areas, with the committee also recommending more rehabilitation beds be made available for family members supporting loved ones with addiction.

Member for Moggil and member of the inquiry committee Dr Christian Rowan said there were significant accessibility challenges in the public rehab system and better service planning was needed to ensure various needs were being met in different communities.

“Addiction is a neurobiological disorder, a combination of genetics and neurobiological factors which need to be understood,” he said.

“That requires multidisciplinary care by various health professionals.

“Health workforce and planning for the future when it comes to medical specialists, physician and psychiatrists, nursing workforce and allied health professionals is really important and there are significant challenges in recruiting the workforce required to meet those issues.”

When Lizzie tried getting clean a second time, she completed her first year of psychology, got a good job.

But suddenly, “something clicked” and she “decided to self destruct again”.

“I lost that good job, totalled my car. I was getting done with possession, drunk driving, drug raids,” she said.

“Needles came into the picture. I started hanging around sex workers.

“But I was normalising it. I just saw the real world as a painful, unmanageable place … thinking like I just want to kill myself.”

A moment of clarity, and a deep desire to change her life led Lizzie back to the Hader Clinic Queensland Private.

She detoxed, completed three months of in-stay rehabilitation and another three months of transitional rehabilitation.

Lizzie is now 24 and 14 months sober, working a successful job with a new love in her life.

“For the first time in my life I don’t think about wanting to change the way I feel every minute of the day,” she said.

“I enjoy sleeping now. I don’t think I slept for like five years.

“I have people who care about me and they’re not transactional relationships.

“It’s cliche, but I had to figure out who I was, what colour I liked, what food I liked, just recreating my identity.

“I realised the real world is better than the world I was in.”

In 2021-22, 182 publicly funded alcohol and other drug treatment agencies in Queensland provided 49,674 treatments to 34,565 people.

Most received an average of 1.4 treatments, which is lower than the national average of 1.8 treatments.

A Queensland Health spokesman said three new residential rehab facilities were being built in Cairns, Bundaberg and Ipswich to meet rising demand.

The Ipswich rehab location is still under consultation, with the Bundaberg facility due to open in late 2024, and Cairns by 2025.

“The new adult residential treatment services will improve access to specialist treatment and support by delivering withdrawal management and care, as well as rehabilitation programs,” the spokesman said.

On a mission to destigmatise addiction, Lizzie now uses her success story to remind other addicts that help is available if they want it.

But she considers herself lucky to have stayed at a private facility, with many unable to afford it or struggling to access a public rehab bed.

“When I was 19 I thought, surely I can’t be an addict,” she said.

“People see addicts as criminals who are going to rob you and they’ve got diseases.

“But I’ve seen addiction look like so many different things to different people and -the feelings are the same, that deep despair and hopelessness and dependence on something outside of yourself to feel okay.

“To find others who feel like me was mind blowing and rehab is about surrender. It gave me space between that last use to really build up some sort of willpower or ability to not use drugs.”

Aids is a confidential support service for people in Queensland with alcohol and other drug concerns is available 24.7. Call 1800 177 833. To find out more about the Hader Clinic Queensland Private, click here or call 1300 856 847.

This article appeared in the Courier Mail on November 11, 2023.
https://www.couriermail.com.au/news/queensland/lizzie-shares-her-journey-from-private-school-high-achiever-to-drug-addiction-psychosis-and-redemption/news-story/a35da74405a4de4081f0bdc2ab8f90bf

From Conflict to Connection at Christmas Time

Although holidays and Christmas are usually associated with family togetherness and joy, it’s also very common to experience heightened stress and anxiety at this time for various reasons.

The holidays can be particularly challenging for those in active addiction, especially if they have not yet started the journey towards recovery. Being caught in the grip of addiction is not only stressful for the individual, but for the family too, as there is usually a knock-on effect in family relationships. This is one reason that addiction is often labelled a “disease of the family”, rather than just the individual in addiction.

Addictive behaviours can trigger family conflicts as the greater family struggles with how to appropriately set boundaries with their loved ones and their using. For individuals in addiction, going home for the holidays can be especially triggering, especially if their substance use started or occurred in the family home. Often, reliving past memories can trigger addictive behaviours or relapse. Unintentional family enabling can also push someone further into addiction.

Statistics from the Centre for Alcohol and Drug Research in the USA suggest that alcohol and drug consumption in the holidays is markedly increased, as are deaths related to alcohol and drug use.

If someone is struggling with active addiction, they may have difficulty connecting with their family, despite their internal desire to want to belong. They may be hard to reason with and their behaviours, hard to manage functionally.

Given that the holidays can heighten the stress of a substance using lifestyle, it’s a time that may propel your loved one into seeking treatment for their condition. Attending rehab at this time of year can reap great benefits for both the affected person and their family.

Rehab at Hader Clinic Queensland encompasses elements of medical, psychosocial, and educational treatment that allows an individual space to understand that their addiction is a disease, and that, with the right tools and support, recovery is possible.

The gift of recovery for both families and individuals promises the opposite of addiction, connection. When an individual in recovery is supported by, and connected to, others, the urge to use as a means of coping is usually diminished.

When an individual and their family goes to rehab, the tools that they both learn to manage during recovery promotes confidence in relationships and reduces conflict as both learn how to work through their issues in a constructive way.

Rehab is the Christmas gift that keeps giving, because there is no expiry date on the tools and strategies provided to support recovery. Rehab during the Christmas period can give a vulnerable individual the tools, support and friendship that is needed to take those first wobbly steps towards healing.

If you are experiencing issues with substance addiction and your family situation has been particularly inflammatory, rehab can give you a safe space to decompress, recalibrate and take the steps forward that you need to heal.

If you have a loved one in addiction and are not sure what to say, you can reaffirm that you love them, but cannot support their addictive behaviour, thereby separating the disease from the individual.

Hader Clinic Queensland offers private hospital detox and a comprehensive rehab program to help individuals with addiction and associated mental health issues recover safely and effectively based on latest research.

 

How to Lead a Drug Free Life

Are you struggling with drug addiction and ready to lead a drug-free life? The first step is recognising that you need help and being willing to make the change with residential addiction treatment.

It will take more than just willpower to overcome an addiction, as drugs cause the brain to change, creating powerful cravings and compulsions. These side effects often make it seem impossible to achieve sobriety. But recovering from drug addiction is never truly impossible, no matter how dire you believe your situation is.

To recover, you must be willing to put in time and dedication, and you can regain control of your life again and beat your addiction. If you commit to living a drug-free life, you must understand that many elements of life will change. These may include:

  • How you cope with stress
  • Activities you do in your free time
  • The people you allow into your life
  • The way you think of yourself

If you are unsure if you are willing to give up your drug addiction, it is important to consider how giving up may impact your life. Think about things such as:

  • The role addiction plays in your life, such as when you use drugs and how much drugs you use
  • The pros and cons you can think of that will result from quitting
  • The costs associated with continuing drug use
  • What’s important to you in life, it could be your family, career, or health, and how drug use may impact these things

Once you have decided that you want to proceed with living a drug-free life, it is important to consider the treatment options available. These options will vary depending on the type of drug you are addicted to. Successful treatment programs often include many elements such as:

  • Detoxification: cleansing your body of the drug and managing any withdrawal symptoms that may result
  • Behavioural therapy: therapy can help you determine the cause of your drug addiction. It can also assist you with rebuilding relationships and learning healthier coping mechanisms
  • Medication: medication is sometimes used to help you manage symptoms of withdrawal, prevent relapses from occurring, or treat mental health issues such as anxiety or depression
  • Long term follow-ups: long term follow-ups can assist you in maintaining sobriety and preventing relapses. This may mean attending regular support groups or online meetings so professionals can ensure you are on track with recovery

Types of treatments include:

  • Residential addiction treatment: you will live in a facility and be away from your normal life commitments while you undergo intensive treatment. This may last a few days, to many months
  • Transitional Housing: you will live with several other recovering addicts in an environment that is safe, supportive and drug-free. These are beneficial for individuals who don’t have anywhere to go or those who are worried returning home may lead to a relapse.

If you’re looking to end your addiction, the Hader Clinic Queensland can help you go down the right path towards living a drug-free life.

 

It Was No Way to Live

Dan spent sixteen years believing that he had his amphetamine use under control.

However, once he added the trauma of a marriage breakdown to the mix, his using went into overdrive.

Dan’s descent into drug hell culminated in a life devoted to crime and using with little joy in between.

Desperate to avoid jail and rekindle the relationship with his son, Dan knew that he’d reached the end of the line with his addictive behaviours.

Exhausted from the struggle, Dan reached out for help and went to rehab.

This is his story.

I’m 35, going on 36. Born and bred in Brisbane. I’ve spent my whole life here.

I started playing piano when I was six years old and I’m a qualified pianist.

I also ran a few companies. We had a family owned transport company – I ran that for awhile. I also started a company in Darwin.

I come from a decent family, Mum and Dad are still together, we’re a religious family – Dad’s an Anglican Christian. 

My drug of choice was speed, back in the day when I started, so I had my first use of speed when I was 17 intravenously – and I continued to use, right up until I went into rehab last year.

I used for eighteen years.

I started drinking and smoking pot prior to using speed – I was around about fifteen.

Alcohol was also a bit of a problem because when I moved to Darwin for a few years, I decided to stop using speed and became a bit of an alcoholic instead. 

When I returned to Brisbane, I knocked that addiction on its head and took up using speed again.

I guess you could say that I was an active, but functional, addict for the first fifteen or sixteen years but a couple of years ago my life started to go pear shaped and that’s when things started going really crazy.

In 2015, I started getting into trouble with the law.

I ended up having to leave my job so I could deal with the outstanding police matters.

I basically had 56 charges laid against me – I went to court the other day and things were finalised, thank goodness.

When I left my job, that’s when I hit a new low.

I started chronically using, several times a day in fact.

This coincided with my wife and I separating, and eventually divorcing.

That’s when I started using daily and stopped caring about anything.

It was still stressful. My wife wasn’t really aware of my use, as I had kept it well hidden.

We decided to mutually separate as we were arguing all the time.

Looking back now, I know it had 100% to do with my addiction. She knew that I used here and there, but the main thing was that I wasn’t there for her. Never offered her any support. When she had our son, she’d wanted to have a natural birth, but for various reasons needed a C Section. She was pretty upset, but I wasn’t present to support her through it. 

We moved to Darwin three months after our son was born and I started our new business.

She was struggling and having a really rough time dealing with it all and I just wasn’t there to support her through that at all.

We grew apart – because I wasn’t there mentally or physically.

As our marriage fell apart I started using more and more and once we had separated, I really went to town.

I’ve always been dedicated to work, but I … I just gave up on everything. All I focused on was using.

Eventually I started to do everything illegal to maintain that use. Even as I walked out of my company, I had the police after me.

I ended up evading police for a three month period and at my first court appearance had racked up twenty eight charges.

The majority of the charges were about supporting my addiction – seventeen counts of fraud, break and enters, stealing, possession … six drug driving charges.

So life was a mess.

When I separated, we had 50-50 shared custody of our son. But my addiction got so bad, and I was in such a bad place, I had to give that up – and agreed to see him on weekends.

There were two things I never wanted to do – go to jail or lose my son. And I was well on the path to doing both of those things.

There’s no real reason for me to have been destroying my life.

I came from a good family. Dad’s always supported me and always gave me everything I needed. He’d give me money to survive, not for drugs, but I’d spend it on drugs anyway. Once he was shown that he was enabling me, that stopped pretty quickly.

I never really wanted to stop and my stint in the Hader Clinic Queensland is my first, and hopefully last attempt.

I had three big court cases – one spread over sixteen months.

In the meantime I just used more and more. I got a suspended sentence and I thought, “you beauty, everything’s over now. I can stop using so much and get back into life”

But at that stage I was so far gone that I couldn’t stop  – and with the use came seventeen fresh charges. I faced court for that. I ended up getting parole.

Again I decided to try to stop using.

Three months into my parole, I just couldn’t stop. I ended up getting picked up for possession and then driving under the influence.

I got charged with those offences.

I was skating home and out of nowhere, it hit me like a ton of bricks – I was buggered, I was exhausted, I was done.

So I called my father, and said, “I need to go to rehab”.

My Dad used Google, found The Hader Clinic Queensland – I wasn’t in any fit state to wait for public rehabilitation – and I was admitted straight away.

I was at the end of the road. My life had been destroyed. I had nothing left.

Any joy I had in using had disappeared, had gone years ago, now I was beating a dead horse.

I couldn’t stop using, I couldn’t stop getting into trouble. It was no way to live. I knew that I was done with using.

When I got to The Hader Clinic Queensland, I knew nothing of NA, the program or any of it.

When I got into the program, I realised that I’d already made progress in the first three steps. I had surrendered and I was willing to do anything that I could because I knew that I couldn’t handle my own life.

I went in and gave it 110% to the program.

I literally gave it everything I had.

Now I’m in transition. I’ve been in transition for about six weeks which has been great. I’m planning on doing a six month transition period and then do outpatient treatment.

I was willing to do anything to get clean and stay clean, so I got stuck straight into the program. Put my head down and did the required work and then some.

Occasionally you come up against people who aren’t as recovery focused as you are. So I just blocked that out and focused on me.

The staff were all great – they were fantastic – I doubt I would have been able to do it without the support of these guys. Even the people in the office are great. They’ll do anything to support you and see you through. The staff at the clinic helped me through everything.

I really loved rehab and for the most part it went without a hitch.

But I did have one drama.

Before going to rehab I was in a toxic codependent relationship with a girl who also used and was in active addiction. And she was pregnant and about to give birth and I wasn’t sure whether I was the father or not. I’m still trying to sort that out.  

I tried to get out of the program to see her and I felt like the staff weren’t helping that happen. However, that mindset only stayed for a few hours as I realised they were doing everything they could to help me.

The first thirty days in the transition house were tough.

It’s a bit of a shock to the system when you get out of rehab. You have to do two meetings a day and due to my criminal history and no drivers’ license I found that hard and often time consuming. 

You check in every day, whether that’s at the house or at the office and by lunchtime you’re off to a meeting. Then I’d go home for the afternoon and head off to another meeting. Those first thirty days were busy.

Since I’ve come out I’ve done a Cert 4 – an accreditation in skills training and become a coach of my son’s soccer team.

Now I’ve got training with him on Tuesdays and Thursdays plus he plays on Saturdays.

Now I’m down to one meeting and managing really well.

I get up and go for a five kilometre walk in the morning, and then check in.

I go to the gym on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays too.

I do a bit of housework, pack lunch, and head off for the day – do my meeting and then catch public transport to meet my son after school. Then I muck around with him for the afternoon or go to soccer.

Later I go home and often do an evening meeting.

I also cook a lot in the house so there’s never a dull moment.

The relationship with my ex-wife has improved too. We’re actually friends.

When I decided that I was going to rehab of my own free will, I phoned and told her. She supported me from the get go, coming up to the rehab facility every weekend to visit.

When I told her, she said, “thank goodness – I never thought you’d ask for help”.

Those were her exact words.

Down the track I’ll be working again. I will probably start another business.

However, that will be awhile.

I went to court on Friday and lost my license for 30 months and got a nine month prison sentence, wholly suspended for three years.

Early recovery is really that first year clean.

I want to have that sorted before I get a job.

I’m giving recovery a good crack, in fact it’s the only crack I want to give it. 

I’m pretty busy with the soccer coaching and the meetings. To put work on top of it would be asking for trouble I think.

Things have a way of working themselves out when you’re clean and sober.

When you’re in active addiction, you just keep digging that hole deeper and deeper.

Recovery is great. Rehabilitation is a gift. You’ve got to be ready and willing to do it.

Rehab sets up a great foundation but you’re the one that needs to want to stop.

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