Ice Archives - Hader Clinic Queensland

Sam’s DVA-Funded Drug Addiction Recovery

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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.

Jaxon’s DVA-Funded Journey to Ice Addiction Recovery

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

James’ Story of Ice Addiction and Recovery

Since completing the Residential Addiction Treatment Program, and engaging in the Intensive Outpatient Program, James is committed to his recovery and enjoys living a life clean and sober. This is his story.

From a life in the country to a life revolving around drugs… It all started off fun when I was socially drinking and socially using party drugs. Then I discovered meth, and it was all downhill for me from there on. I couldn’t stop on my own. Meth had me, and only a rehab could help me get clean. The first time I tried residential addiction treatment at Hader Clinic Queensland I wasn’t in the right mindset and ended up leaving the program early. I thought I would be okay, but I needed to go back again to really set up a life free from drug addiction and start my recovery journey.

I grew up in a country town, I had great parents and I worked hard in the family business. My childhood was okay, but one thing I struggled with was feeling like I didn’t belong and always feeling like I wasn’t living up to the expectations of my family. I turned to marijuana as a teen, as an escape from my feelings, I was selling cigarettes at school to pay for the weed. I started to push away from my family as I struggled with school, and I only managed to scrape through Year 10 to land an apprenticeship. I was still playing football at this time and ended up living with my football coach after getting kicked out of home at 17. I moved out and went to university at 18, still playing football, but I met some of the wrong people there. Due to the poor income from my apprenticeship, I started selling ecstasy. This helped me have money and I enjoyed the party scene. I partied too hard, and it wasn’t long before my life started to become unmanageable. I got kicked off the football team, left my apprenticeship and eventually ended up in a bad situation that forced me to tell my parents what was going on.

My parents sent me away to work on a property to try and stop me from doing ecstasy, but I’d come back on weekends and keep partying hard. I had a good work ethic so I could always keep showing up for my work, but I ended up becoming a gypsy. Partying and doing drugs had become my everyday life. The drugs changed and so did I when I discovered meth. I was young so I thought I was just having fun and could handle it. I did have some friends tell me that I needed to get help, so I went back to my family’s business and tried to get clean. It worked for a while, I got married and had a family, but I ended up falling back into addiction and this time it felt uncontrollable. I would disappear just to use, and by now I was injecting meth, so my marriage was falling apart but I couldn’t see it because meth blurred my vision. When I look back, I can see I did some pretty awful things during this time. I knew I needed help, but I just couldn’t stop using. During a bender where I was just partying with random people and was awake for about 10 days straight, I ended up driving to rehabs, knocking on doors and just trying to get help. I ended up meeting an old fellow who gave me some tough love. He looked at me (I was a complete mess and had track marks all up my arms), told me to go inside, and I ended up detoxing on his couch.

I slept through my birthday, and a few days later I woke up and the old man had gone to the shops but left his phone open on a Google search of Queensland rehabs. I found Hader Clinic Queensland and pretty much booked myself in then and there. I booked myself in for the 90-day program but only did 60 days before I left against staff advice, thinking I could now do it on my own. I wish I had stayed and listened to the staff.

I went straight back to my fly-in, fly-out job, thinking I could do that and then fly to see my kids. I spread myself too thin, ended up relapsing and was back in a dark headspace, this time experiencing psychosis. I was almost 5 months clean and sober, and it went all down the drain, meth had me again.

So, I booked myself back into rehab at Hader Clinic Queensland. Even while surrendering back to rehab again, I could not stop using and used drugs right up until I walked in the door. Mark, the Program Coordinator, took one look at me and said, “Get in here and put the whip down”. The staff at Hader Clinic Queensland understand what addiction is and how addiction keeps beating addicts down. What I like about them is they have a lived experience, so it’s easier to hear it from them.

For the next 29 days, I really struggled to stay and my addict mind was planning to use again as soon as I got out of there. Just days before I was due to leave, something happened; I had a lightbulb moment, and realised I didn’t want to use anymore. I went straight to Mark and said, “Please tell me what to do and I’ll do it”. In that moment I completely surrendered and changed my mindset, I took on what the staff said and started to put an effort into my recovery.

Hader Clinic Queensland gave me the foundation to start my recovery, they helped me understand that I had a disease of addiction and gave me the tools to start recovering from it. They introduced me to the 12-step fellowships. They took me to meetings every night, where I got to meet people who were like me and helped me realise that I wasn’t alone. Hader Clinic Queensland introduced me to people who had been living in recovery, some even 20 years clean and sober and I realised that I could do it as well. That there was a way to live life without drugs.

This program was eye-opening for me, before I came to the clinic, I didn’t know there was another way to live, I couldn’t see how much drugs were destroying my life.

If you are thinking of getting help for yourself, I really recommend the long-term rehab program followed by the aftercare programs. I’m currently in my 3rd month of the Intensive Outpatient Program. With their support, I am doing really well. I still have days where I struggle but I know now that it will pass and the most important thing is I don’t pick up the first one, drug or drink. The program helps me to hold myself accountable, I have a routine and daily program, and I have peers to talk to about how I am feeling. I attend the morning check-ins and follow my recovery plan. I’ve also realised that I can’t drink alcohol as it will lead to me using drugs again, so I’ve decided to live a life of abstinence from it all. I’m feeling amazingly healthy and clear-minded. I’m grateful to have gone back to rehab and now being able to live a clean and sober life where I can be there for my kids, for myself and my family.


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

Jon’s Journey to Recovery through DVA-Funded Addiction Treatment

Jon is over six months sober and clean after completing 90 days of residential addiction treatment and engaged in the transitional housing program. This is his story.

My ice addiction really began during my time in the military and grew worse after I left. Then after completing the 90-day residential addiction treatment at Hader twice, I’m now over six months sober and clean.

I was deployed to Rwanda during the 1994 genocide, and upon return, I started having issues with discipline and alcohol offences. My drinking led to marijuana use and then methamphetamines, so I chose to leave the army. I got a job in security, but I was having trouble interacting with the general public and started having severe nightmares, so I increased my methamphetamine use until I ended up hospitalised. I went into military rehab where I was diagnosed with severe PTSD and then it was a never-ending cycle of prescription medication.

I moved to a community with my partner which had a strong drug culture, and we were both alcoholics and substance abusers. As we were both pretty high-functioning, she had a job, and I managed the property. We were together for about 20 years before going our separate ways. After that, there were a few drug incidences and I had a breakdown, before ending up in military rehab again. There I found out about the Hader Clinic Queensland program, which supports ex-service people through DVA-funded addiction treatment.

At the time I was not ready to make the commitment to recovery. I had criminal charges pending and was hoping that rehab would keep me out of jail. I did the 90-day drug addiction treatment program and when I came out of it, I was sent to nine months in jail.

I didn’t use meth during my time in jail and managed to continue staying clean after I was released. Unfortunately, my property had been sold out from under me while I was in jail, so I ended up staying in rentals, first with an aggressive alcoholic and then a passive alcoholic.

During this time, I believed that I was only addicted to ice and so could drink casually. A few times when I was drinking with people someone might offer cocaine, so we would use that and then eventually someone ended up coming around and offering methamphetamines. I relapsed, injecting meth every day for about 2 weeks. At the end of the two weeks, when I was intoxicated and drugged, I got an email from Hader Clinic Queensland. I opened it, read it, and broke down. There was a number at the bottom, so I called them and was booked in for the 90-day DVA-funded addiction treatment, arriving in less than 10 days’ time. Hader Clinic Queensland then mentioned to me that I should do the 12-month program, which includes the 90-day residential addiction treatment, followed by aftercare, including the transitional housing program, so I did.

This time around I was motivated to do everything I needed to recover, following the program exactly and getting the best support I could. When I got there, I couldn’t walk 200 metres up the track, and three months later I could run it six times and do laps around the oval.

When I got to the transition house, I gave up smoking and I would do 5kms on the elliptical and then 5kms on the bike at the gym. I’ve been going to AFL games and concerts and just enjoying life. I’m feeling really good, and just thankful for all the staff at Hader Clinic Queensland.

The best part about doing the program for me was having the time to understand that relapse wasn’t the end of the world. It actually opened my eyes to the fact that I could come back and make another attempt to get clean. And just learning everything and getting that discipline back that I lost after leaving the army.

I still do the program; I’ve really changed my life around and am over six months sober and clean. I’m really grateful for the support for Veterans like me in Australia from the DVA and Hader Clinic Queensland, as without that I wouldn’t have been able to access the drug addiction treatment I needed once, let alone twice.

The photograph of this client has been changed to protect their privacy.

Brendan’s Story of Drug and Alcohol Addiction to Recovery

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

James’ Story of Drug and Alcohol Addiction Recovery

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Natalie’s Story of Meth Addiction Recovery

Natalie completed residential addiction treatment for her ice addiction. Now, over 10 months clean, she is ready to take on a change of career to help others and give her children the childhood she never had. This is her story.

My name is Natalie, I’m 32 years old, and I am 10 months clean and counting. I completed Hader Clinic Queensland’s 90 Day program for methamphetamine addiction treatment and now live with my partner and our two children, being the stable and healthy person I never thought I could be.

Now that I am clean I am finally able to deal with the underlying mental health issues I’ve had since I was a child (I was sexually abused, neglected, groomed, and introduced to substances at an age when most girls are still playing with dolls). I never really had a childhood. And if I had not received intervention from Hader Clinic staff and the NA twelve steps, I would not have had an adulthood. I’ve grown up in recovery.

Before I went into treatment I was broken – physically and mentally. In 2020 after a bad breakup (and still unable to manage my trauma and substance abuse) I tried to throw myself off the Story Bridge. My ankle shattered from the impact when police pulled me down. I was taken to the hospital in handcuffs in a paddy wagon.

Meth was my drug of choice. I’ve been a chef all my life, and it was sometimes useful to abuse stimulants in such a high-pressure job and work long hours, but I couldn’t be in the kitchen on a broken ankle.

While I was off work I wasn’t using ice, but I developed an addiction to alcohol and pain medication. I abused opioids even when I was able to walk again. My doctor soon figured out what was going on and took me off the pills. After this I increased my drinking to about 5 or 6 bottles of wine a day, doing 12-hour shifts and staying up til 4 am. Working helped distract me from my mental pain, but I was still in active addiction.

Part of the reason I went to Hader Clinic Queensland was that my substance use wasn’t just impacting my mental health – my body was being attacked as well. In 2021 I was drinking for a whole day, fell into a pool and had a concussion for 3 months. I was still working despite the constant headaches and vertigo. In early 2022 I had a drunken bicycle accident that gave me internal injuries.

My doctor had a frank discussion with me about the cause of these injuries. He suggested Hader Clinic Queensland because he’d heard good things. A few days later when I was up late drinking, I Googled the place and sent them a message. They called me back the next day and I started the intake process.

I had a new partner of 18 months at this point. She has two young children who I raise as my own. She is supportive, but we still had so much conflict over my drinking. Our relationship started to resemble other toxic, codependent romances from my past. I had too much to lose now and didn’t want to continue the same cycle.

My partner was ready for me to get well, and she arranged for my super release so I could continue after detox and complete the whole 90-day program. I was drinking every day in the lead-up to admission. Part of me wanted to keep putting it off, as I wasn’t sure what my life would look like sober. I had half-heartedly attempted other rehabs and never finished them.

When it came time for me to go into treatment, Hader Clinic Queensland staff were able to help my partner as well. They referred her to services where she could get help for her own co-dependency. There was a focus on helping families of addicts, not just the person in treatment.

I came from a broken family. My parents split up when I was young. I’m pretty sure my mum has been an addict most of her life. As a child she gave me and her other kids pills to help us sleep. By around age 10, she was offering me alcohol to look after my siblings while she disappeared for days at a time. Dad wasn’t around. I was being sexually abused by multiple male relatives, and telling my mum didn’t change anything.

My older brother who I was close to and who protected me was taken into foster care. I was smoking weed in high school and quietly abusing Ritalin to deal with the constant feeling of abandonment and my home life.

I found I would get completely psycho when I ran out of the stimulant pills and often experienced suicidal ideation. These symptoms only got worse as I got older, and my drug use progressed. I learned how to act “normal” when I was high to keep my habits private.

I did party drugs in my teens and early twenties (acid and ecstasy, as well as weed and alcohol) but whatever I used was always to excess. I met my now ex-wife when I was starting in hospitality, and by age 22 I was using meth. From the first time I tried ice, I knew I loved it. This drug seemed to make all my worries vanish and I felt invincible. I was shooting up 10 times a day at my chef job.

My wife was anti-drug and had no idea I was doing any of this. I made up stories about where my money was going. Eventually, I had a breakdown which resulted in our marriage ending. I was hospitalised for multiple suicide attempts, dosed with Seroquel for a while, and then started using ice again upon my release.

After the divorce, I had no friends except other drug addicts. I worked for 80 hours a week and came home to a mattress and a sofa because I’d sold everything else. I would have bouts of psychosis where I thought people were trying to kill me. A lot of this was internal, I didn’t tell many people about what went on inside my head.

I started another long-term relationship, moved cities, and started a new job. For the first 6 months, everything was great, and I wasn’t using drugs. But then I fell in with the old crowd I knew in that town and the meth habit started again. Like last time, it was in secret. I started mixing it with Fantasy and this caused memory blackouts at my work.

My partner and I moved around a few times. I had regular breaks of just drinking and trying to have a normal life. The disease never went away. When I started using ice again I was sneaking out while my partner was asleep to get on. Once I disappeared for half a day and gave some excuse about seeing friends – but I was really in hospital getting an abscess treated.

It came apart when my partner found messages on my iPad showing I was trying to score meth. She confronted me and I still lied, telling her I flushed the drugs and never took them. We both worked at the same restaurant, and she told my boss. I eventually lost my job, and my partner asked to separate.

By the time I ended up in Brisbane on that bridge, I was done with the drama, but still in denial. I had been living with my ex during COVID – knowing we would never reconcile, but afraid to leave her and be all by myself.

When I got into Hader Clinic Queensland I was able to confront this issue – my fear of being alone, the childhood trauma, and the drugs I was using to avoid facing it. I formed a great relationship with the rehab counsellor, Sally. She was always available for support. During our sessions, I learned to feel my feelings and not try to control them or be controlled by them.

The biggest benefit to my time in treatment was learning emotional regulation. I had the urge to self-harm while I was in rehab, but I was transparent about it with the staff and they helped me get out of that headspace. I did daily readings with the other residents, and we talked about them as a group. It helped me reflect on past behaviours.

I took on every suggestion. I wanted to use everything Hader Clinic Queensland had to offer me – the classes, journalling, step work, meetings, meditation and yoga, and morning walks. This routine settled me down. After a lifetime of insomnia, I learned how to put my body into a restful sleep.

I kept these habits when I left rehab – walking to work, doing gratitude lists, and meditating on the bus. I no longer need sleeping meds to get rest at night. And I’ve lost 36kg in the last 8 months. I can re-centre myself and slow down those racing thoughts. And I can work in a licensed venue and not have the urge to drink. I still attend meetings and use my sponsor.

The biggest change and benefit has been my relationship with my family and partner. When I come home, I have a clear head and I’m ready to be present for her and for our kids. We have an affectionate relationship with lots of hugs. We can afford to do activities for the children like gymnastics, because we’re not wasting money drinking.

I’ve decided I’m ready to leave hospitality. I’m a great chef, but I think I’d make a good paramedic because I can deal with high-pressure situations and people in distress. I’ve been there myself. I know I can be of service to others.

My advice for anybody struggling with addiction is to not delay going to rehab. I put it off for years and sat in a place of pain when I didn’t need to. Help is out there if we really want it. We will be welcomed into the clinic and into meetings with open arms. Whatever our past, or how long we have been addicted, we do recover.

I never thought I’d be able to raise a healthy child. My upbringing was so terrible. I had no blueprint for being a good mum. I was afraid to have children because I felt I’d pass on my issues. But our kids are thriving. We cook together, do homework, learn about the world, and talk about our feelings. I get to give them the kind of childhood I never had.

The name and image of this person have been changed to protect their privacy.

Fears in Recovery

The fears in recovery can be overwhelming for individuals seeking help with addiction.

From the fear of withdrawal symptoms to the fear of relapse, these concerns can hinder the progress of recovery. However, there are effective strategies to overcome these fears and achieve long-term sobriety.

Explore the top 10 fears in recovery and learn about proven ways to beat them.

Top 10 Fears in Recovery:

  1. Fear of withdrawal symptoms: Intense physical and psychological discomfort during detoxification.
  2. Fear of judgment: Stigmatisation or labelling as a “drug addict” by friends, family, or society.
  3. Fear of failure: Concerns about successfully completing the rehabilitation program and maintaining sobriety.
  4. Fear of change: Intimidation towards making significant lifestyle, routine, and social circle adjustments.
  5. Fear of losing control: Anxiety about surrendering control to a treatment program or therapist.
  6. Fear of facing emotions: Frightening and uncomfortable feelings associated with confronting and working through emotional issues.
  7. Fear of the unknown: Anxiety and uncertainty due to unfamiliar environments, therapies, and routines.
  8. Fear of isolation: Apprehension about being away from friends, family, and support networks.
  9. Fear of addressing underlying issues: Overwhelming emotions linked to facing deeper underlying issues like trauma or mental health disorders.
  10. Fear of relapse: Anxiety and uncertainty about the possibility of returning to old habits and facing the consequences.

Ways to Beat the Fears

The good news is that any fears you may experience once you are in recovery are completely normal.

Here are 10 proven coping strategies to help you overcome these fears  and enhance your overall recovery experience:

  • Taking it one day at a time: Focus on the present moment to alleviate anxiety.
  • Connecting with recovered addicts: Find inspiration and perspective through group therapy sessions and support meetings.
  • Communicating your fear: Share fears with counsellors, therapists, and the recovery community to release their power.
  • Reaching out to family and loved ones: Seek open communication and family support to overcome feelings of failure.
  • Taking a leap of faith: Embrace the safe environment provided by trained professionals for psychological recovery.
  • Giving yourself permission to be vulnerable: Allow honesty and vulnerability as part of the healing process.
  • Engaging with the program: Trust the process and professionals to regain a sense of control.
  • Trusting: Believe in the decision to seek help and have faith in the staff’s expertise.
  • Fine-tuning your support system: Maintain connections with support groups, counsellors, sponsors, and mentors for ongoing assistance.
  • Accepting the possibility of relapse: Understand that relapse does not equate to failure and access support to get back on track.

By acknowledging and addressing these fears, individuals in recovery can overcome them and find the support needed to achieve successful recovery.

Hader Clinic Queensland’s residential rehabilitation program offers comprehensive assistance and guidance throughout the recovery journey, providing the tools and support necessary to conquer these fears and thrive in recovery.

A Mother’s Story – Jayne’s Story of her Daughter’s Addiction

Jayne’s daughter Charlie has recently completed residential addiction treatment for her drug addiction. Jayne shares her story.

My daughter Charlie is 32 years old and struggled with drug addiction for over 15 years. Her stay at Hader Clinic Queensland was her third attempt at rehab, but this time I have real hope she can recover. And our family (myself, my husband, and Charlie’s sister) have the kind of relationship I never thought possible. Our home is a place of laughter and love. It hasn’t been this way since the girls were very young. We have our Charlie back.

For a long time before she was admitted to Hader, interacting with Charlie was exhausting. I couldn’t spend more than half an hour in her presence. Her mood swings and anger came on suddenly. We never heard from Charlie unless she needed money, or there was some sort of crisis. I was hypervigilant all the time. My heart sank whenever I saw an incoming call from her.

Charlie was 16 when she had an overdose from prescription pills. My husband and I were devastated. We didn’t know that Charlie was using hard drugs. We vaguely had an idea that she tried marijuana with her friends. But she was dismissive when we tried to talk to her about it. Charlie was 17 when she and her boyfriend were caught smoking marijuana in her car. The boy’s family didn’t take it seriously. Apparently using pot was normal for young people in our area.

My husband and I never tried drugs and were quite naive. I remember our neighbour found a plastic bottle with a hose in it near our fence. I didn’t know what a homemade bong looked like. Charlie denied leaving it there, and I believed her. There were many things I didn’t understand about her, or about addiction.

Charlie moved out of home in her teens because she wanted to be independent. I missed her of course, but sometimes the distance was necessary. Seeing her always involved some amount of drama. I know it’s not normal to feel relief when your daughter leaves after a short visit… It’s not normal to have constant arguments… But that was my reality.

I saw other women out with their daughters, talking and being affectionate, and felt envious. And a sense of hopeless grief. Why couldn’t I have that kind of relationship with Charlie? Deep down I thought I was a terrible mother.

When Charlie started using drugs as a teenager her personality changed. She was the apple of my eye as a young girl. Our family is British and my daughters grew up in the UK. Charlie was an outgoing and determined child. She was a talented swimmer and ranked number 1 in England for breaststroke. We still have all her trophies. But she didn’t continue swimming once we moved to New Zealand.

Charlie managed to graduate from school early and trained as a hairdresser. But she was often unreliable at her job, and I was helping her out financially. Charlie was in and out of counselling for years. She got into a relationship with a drug dealer, and then with an abusive man who put her in the hospital with a broken nose. She went to one rehab in her early twenties but left before she finished the program. I paid for Charlie to attend a second rehab, but she was discharged after testing positive for cannabis. There was denial and excuses, but no real change.

Charlie was in the habit of blaming me for her troubles. I found out she’d been abused when she was little (by the same relative who abused me as a child). I felt terribly guilty for not knowing it was happening, for not protecting her. I felt guilty for moving her away from the UK when she was 13. Charlie was never afraid to mention my failings as a parent when we had fights. I felt obligated to rescue her or give into her demands – including covering her expenses. It didn’t help either of us.

Before we moved to Brisbane, my husband and I bought a house where our daughters could live together in Dunedin – with room out the back for Charlie to run a hair salon. But none of this seemed to give her any stability. My daughters were close as children, and Charlie has always been protective of her little sister… but by the time of Charlie’s admission to Hader Clinic Queensland, they were not living together anymore. There were things she refused to tell me. And things I knew in my heart which I didn’t want to face.

Both my daughters have struggled with mental health issues and drug use. But with Charlie it was particularly serious and (unknown to me at the time) she was abusing methamphetamine, not just cannabis.

When my daughters visited us in Brisbane we could see Charlie was extremely unwell. I thought she must be using hard drugs. She overreacted much more than usual. Even a shopping trip was too much for her to manage. At Christmas, Charlie refused to come over with her sister because they’d been having arguments. The girls’ relationship with each other had deteriorated so badly. I was sobbing when I sent my youngest daughter home, because I couldn’t convince her to go and visit Charlie to check in on her.

I was afraid that someone would call me one day to say Charlie was dead. I felt I had two choices – get her into rehab or wait for that dreadful phone call.

I found Hader Clinic Queensland on Google and spoke to Jo. She was compassionate and understood my situation. But she was very firm that nobody can force another person into rehabilitation treatment. My daughter had to want this for herself. Jo helped us find the right words to tell Charlie; “I love you, and I will support you in your recovery. But I will not support you in your addiction”.

This advice was life-changing for me and my husband. I believed supporting and loving my daughter meant I had to fund her lifestyle, accept every decision she made… and if I withdrew that support, then I was a bad mother. Hader Clinic Queensland staff educated us on how to be there for Charlie in a healthy way, with boundaries. And to this day we use the tools we learned in Hader’s counselling sessions and workshops.

The conversation with Charlie was surprisingly calm. She cried and agreed she needed help. I rang her GP who said my daughter was in the “pre-contemplation stage”. Charlie had some reservations about Hader Clinic Queensland, but I told this could be her last chance. My husband and I took out a loan for treatment. Olivia helped us to understand the intake process and access some educational resources.

Hader Clinic Queensland is a structured program – her first few days were difficult. She had a stress-induced fit, and became furious when she wasn’t allowed to call us when she had had her fit. Charlie was stood down for a week and came to Brisbane. She agreed to daily check-ins and drug tests with the staff at Head Office, then went back to complete her treatment.

A staff member who saw Charlie’s meltdown said that, underneath her rage, there was a frightened and vulnerable little girl. But since she came home from rehab, my daughter has become a woman. She was really committed to the process. During her stay, we talked on the phone, then went to visit her every week – first-day visits, then progressed to overnight leave – which she really enjoyed.

Hader Clinic Queensland is holistic. Charlie saw a psychiatrist and a counsellor, did exercise, ate nutritious food, and even massages. Physically she looks amazing now – healthy and glowing. Since leaving rehab, I’ve seen Charlie make good decisions for her wellbeing. She has firm boundaries and won’t be around drug-using friends or people who have relapsed. She did the intensive outpatient program, checking in with Hader Clinic Queensland staff for counselling and drug tests. And she still attends 12 Step Meetings. Nobody has to tell my daughter to do these things. Charlie is independently choosing a better life for herself.

It used to be just my husband and I living by ourselves… Our kids were often struggling with their mental health, not talking to us or to each other. Now when I wake up for work in the morning, I see one daughter in the kitchen smiling and making coffee. The other is helping with the housework. Charlie puts her arms around me and asks me how I am. The girls go out shopping together, and we have dinner as a family. Perhaps one day we’ll get to go on a holiday. At the moment I’m just settling into the feeling of emotional peace.

Having a child with addiction is very isolating. I used to be afraid that if I died suddenly, Charlie would be unable to cope with nobody to look after her. But I don’t have those feelings anymore.

Before Charlie went for treatment, we didn’t know any other families who shared our experience. Hader Clinic Queensland made it possible for us to make those connections. There’s still plenty of stigma and judgement out there. But we’re not alone. I want to share my story with other parents who need help. If my daughter can do it, then I feel there is hope for anyone.

In my living room – next to a photo of the girls – is the medal Hader Clinic Queensland gave Charlie when she completed her 90-Day Program. Of all the trophies and awards she’s received in her life; this one is the most dear to my heart. I am so proud of my daughter.


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

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