From Carnage to Recovery
Drugs initially gave Daniel peace, but his addiction soon led him down a road of carnage. Following residential addiction treatment he reflects on his ongoing recovery.
Many people believe that music and drugs go hand in hand. I’m pretty sure someone has told me along the way that Mozart was addicted to heroin. That doesn’t surprise me as both drugs and music have the power to change the way you feel, only one (music) is good for you. And the other just leads you down a road of carnage.
I’m a musician who has been producing rap music since 2011. The whole time I created music, I used.
I’m still newly recovering – as of today I’m fifty seven days’ clean. As there are many associations with drugs in doing my music, I haven’t gone back there yet. I don’t want to be triggered into a situation where I may relapse. Recovery is the most important part of my life right now.
My using started when I was eleven or twelve. I’m now thirty six. I had a great upbringing, two parents who loved both my brother and myself. My Mum worked for the XXXX brewery and I started my using lifestyle by pinching beers from the fridge at home. At thirteen I started smoking weed and would spend most weekends with my mates partying hard, getting drunk, getting stoned, or both.
Despite the drug use, I managed to graduate year twelve.
After school, the dabbling in drugs continued – as well as pot and alcohol, there were eccies (ecstasy) and speed added into the mix. At nineteen I smoked meth. I was doing a carpentry apprenticeship. I did the whole thing high on drugs.
Drugs initially gave me peace, silencing the committee in my head that saw me continually comparing myself with my brother. We had the same parents, same upbringing, yet my brother was so different from me – he ended up becoming an accountant. He can have one drink and put the cap on the bottle, whereas I’ll continue until I’m paralytic.
So… I did meth from 19 to 36 and had a son in the meantime, at 23. Things really started ramping up when I was around 28, in 2012. I was doing heaps of music and spending most of the time high.
I dropped the ball at work.
I did not pay rent.
I lost my home.
I slept on mates’ couches.
It was awful.
I decided to give up drugs cold turkey.
It didn’t work.
I moved in with a mate who was selling gear. Weirdly, at the time, I felt peace being there, even though the place was hectic with people coming and going at all hours.
I remember sitting on the couch with three pregnant girls, smoking pot.
This was all very normal to me.
I recorded my first demo mixtape in that house.
Eventually I moved out.
Lived on a couch.
Met a friend who said I could stay at her place for three weeks.
I stayed for three years.
Life was not manageable, so I went to rehab in 2015. It wasn’t a twelve-step program. I remember that a mate hung himself while I was in there. I thought, “this is it, time to be clean”.
After eight weeks of rehab, I got a job as a chippie and things seemed to be going well, until I caught a contractor smoking meth in a downstairs basement. He asked me if I wanted some.
Naturally, I relapsed.
I managed to hang on to my job and the union got me into rehab in Sydney where I learned about Narcotics Anonymous and the Twelve Steps. Recovery was going well, and I felt connected to the NA community there. Plus, Sydney was a new town to me, so it created another barrier to using.
However, I had to come back to Brisbane, and without the right support around me, I relapsed again.
Thirteen months ago, I met my partner. We were both in active addiction. One of my wiser mates told me, “it’s going to get to the point where you choose each other, or you choose the drugs”.
I decided to withdraw my super on compassionate medical grounds and do rehab at The Hader Clinic Queensland. I did the thirty day program, and during that time, I surrendered to recovery. My initial impressions were that I could see where the value was, given I had paid privately. It was good to get away from the environment where I used and become involved with NA again. I have a sponsor, and I attend two meetings a day.
All of the staff had a big impact on me, especially Mark, Fran and JJ. In fact JJ and I have the same sponsor. It was great to be able to go to a meeting and see the staff there – not because they were taking us to a meeting, but rather, they were there for themselves and still focused on their recovery. It makes me realise that you don’t go to rehab and become “cured”, you’re always working on various aspects of your recovery.
I want to get back into making my music, but slowly, slowly. I want to do it in a way that doesn’t trigger wanting to use.
I’ve now been a chippie for the past fifteen years or so. I don’t want to go back to the drinking and drug culture that underlies construction either. However, I do want to give back to the area where I came from.
I have joined Mates in Construction and have put my name down to get involved in the Connector program – meaning you’re the port of call for someone in your industry that may be doing it tough. Then I’m going to do the week long “Assist” course.
It’s about me learning to do things a different way. I’m still pretty new to being clean. However, one thing I do know is that I want recovery more than anything else. And that I have support. I’m looking forward to visiting the Hader Clinic Queensland tomorrow for a check in.
If you’re serious about getting clean, get support. The Hader Clinic Queensland were brilliant and I’m looking forward to notching more time up in recovery.
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