After I left the defence force, I struggled to transition back to society, struggled with ice addiction and homelessness, and eventually, with Hader Clinic Queensland’s help, completed DVA-funded residential addiction treatment.
I grew up in a pretty good family and was very sporty in high school. I even played soccer for two years in Italy, and it was my life. Then I joined the army. I still played soccer in the army, and we did pretty well but we also had to participate in these Boozer Parades where every Thursday we were paid to drink as part of ‘bonding’. This started my struggles with addiction.
I was drinking a lot, around 1.5 litres of vodka a night, but I was still functional the next day. I’d get up and run 2.4km and do my work, completely functioning. I got married and started a family, but things started to change when I was put on invasion. It really started to take its toll on me, and I became mentally unstable with horrific dreams and paranoia. I used a bit during this time, but nothing considerable until I left the army and moved interstate back to my family. That’s really when my meth addiction took hold.
I couldn’t move back in with my parents as they were struggling with health issues, so I ended up homeless for a while. I was really struggling mentally trying to deal with my PTSD, depression and anxiety that would come out in rages.
I was put into emergency housing, and at one stage had seven different veteran support companies trying to help me. Unfortunately, I got put in a really awful place of emergency housing. The whole time I was there I was afraid for my life, sleeping and showering with a knife. I got into some scuffles there, so they had to move me into another accommodation. I was sick of it, the constant moving and having to watch my back all the time.
I had some charges against me from associating with the wrong people but luckily, I never went to jail. Funnily enough, the meth kept me going during this time. I probably wouldn’t be here today if it wasn’t for the drugs when I was going through all that.
I wanted to get my life back on track, so they put me in a soldier rehabilitation program where they pay for your study and gym memberships, but I didn’t come forward about my addiction because I was scared, so I kept it under wraps.
Unfortunately, my use really spiralled out of control, almost overdosing, and just struggling to maintain some stability. So, I just admitted that I couldn’t do it anymore. I was talking with my dealer who I’d talked about getting clean with, telling them that I just didn’t want to live like this anymore, and they recommended Hader Clinic Queensland to me. I called Hader, spoke to Jo who is just amazing, and she helped me organise everything. I didn’t even have to deal with DVA, Jo and JJ at Hader Clinic Queensland organised it all and I went to residential addiction treatment.
The first day of my 90 days at Hader I just collapsed and cried out to God. I was raised in a very Christian household, and I’d really lost touch with my faith and spirituality when I was struggling with meth. I don’t know what you believe, but for me, I found God again.
I surrendered and did everything I had to do during my time in the program to build myself back up again. The program was great, and I just have so much to thank Hader for. DVA has even been really easy to deal with, especially with Jo from Hader making that connection. I’ve been honest with them and with myself and it’s really opened doors for me.
It’s still early days but I know that I have my higher power looking out for me, and I just do all the work to keep myself going forward in recovery. The program works and I’ve heard some really good results from other people as well. I’m rebuilding my relationships with my family, including my son and ex-wife. My mum is really happy that she’s got her son back and I’m grateful that I can spend however much time she’s got with her.
I’ve been six months sober now and I’m loving life. I’m going back to finish my study and just catch up on the six years I’ve lost to my meth addiction. I can’t tell the future, but I’ve got my health back, I’ve got my family back, I’ve got God back, and I’m just looking forward to maintaining my sobriety.