JJ’s Addiction Recovery
JJ is a support worker at our addiction treatment centre and has lived experience of addiction. Sometimes it takes an addict to understand how best to support another addict.
Hi, my name is JJ. I’m a support worker at the Hader Clinic Queensland’s residential facility. I love my job which entails supporting addicts in the early stages of recovery.
At the height of my addiction, I was a poly user – that is, I used anything and everything I could lay my hands on. I was in foster care at eight years old, and moved from institution to institution until 2002. I was stuck in the cycle of addiction, I didn’t know any different.
Fortunately, my first stint at rehab taught me about the Fellowship and how to create order, structure and routine in my life.
I got married, ran a successful business, owned a few houses. Life was sweet until 2014, when I began to have some marital issues. I fell back into drugs trying to cope.
My ice addiction cost me my home, my businesses, my marriage – basically everything I’d worked hard for in my life.
However, my love of the fellowship, and again, attending rehab, got me back into the swing of working my daily program and staying clean. In fact, I’m a month off knocking over five years today.
I think residential rehab is possibly the best tool to allow recovery to happen. The benefits of stepping out of everyday life to focus on healing yourself and recovering from addiction are priceless.
Residential rehab removes all outside worries away and removes the distractions that can distract someone from their recovery.
Additionally, a good rehab program has all types of programs to help you get back into life as a recovering addict, rather than someone in active addiction. Working on fitness, cooking classes, cleaning, doing your washing – it all helps create a positive routine.
Plus, there’s the mind work and programs that help undo all the negative self talk and blaming, for example, “I’m not good enough,” “I’m a lost cause where using is concerned,” and “it’s my family’s fault that I turned out this way”.
Rehab makes you stop and look at yourself critically without the pressure of what the world thinks of you, or what the world has done to you to make you sink this low.
Of course, we have some people that have been using for a long time. Sometimes it takes a while to adapt to a new routine. Half of it is helping people realise that they need to “surrender” and then embrace the concept of living, and working, a daily program to stay clean.
What I love about the fellowship and our rehab program is that it’s evidence based.
Everyone slots into a spot within the fellowship and rehab program seamlessly.
At any one time at rehab and within our therapeutic community, we have support workers, people who are learning to work the program, and people who come and visit on what we call “give back”.
This whole cycle is what makes the fellowship and our rehab work so well.
Five years ago, as I finished my rehab, I wrote down my goals and dreams. Suffering addiction propelled me to wants to lead a different life. I left the construction industry and started doing support work. And I haven’t looked back. Today I really am living the life I dreamed about five years ago.
I believe that being in the grip of addiction can give you the gift of desperation that makes you want to change.
If an addict can continuously remember how bad their addiction had them feeling, along with the feelings of guilt, shame, isolation etc, often it’s a good way of staying clean. It’s far more appealing than having to deal with the fallout from addiction.
People walk down our stairs broken, they start to feel better in addiction. However, some people believe they an just go home and go back to “normal”. We know that in recovery, you’ll never go back to the old “normal”. You need to be prepared to take responsibility for creating that “new normal”.
Once the veil of addiction is removed, often we find that several “home truths” are revealed. If someone can see those truths and understand that they need to behave differently, then we are ahead already.
Many of us try to make ourselves feel better with a narrative that isn’t always truthful – “I’m not that bad,”, “Why should it matter, I’m not hurting anyone,” are a few good ones.
Rehab identifies and challenges these ideas and teaches people the tools they need to manage their behaviours – I reckon drug use a learned behaviour – we weren’t born using – we started and it became a habit.
The other thing to remember is, that in the scheme of things, rehab is a relatively short period of time, when you consider the concept of lifelong abstinence.
That’s where the Fellowship comes in, having a sponsor, and then being able to sponsor others yourself. This is why lived experience of addiction is valuable – it helps people to connect without fear of judgment or shame.
And that is the main thing – connection is the opposite of addiction and the isolation that goes with it.
When clients stay connected to the rehab by participating in programs like our “give back”, they tend to be the most successful at long term recovery.
Recovery and fellowship provide relief from the chaos and pain of addiction and provide us with purpose.
I believe that our Fellowship carries a message of hope to those suffering from addiction and if you’re in this position and reading this, I look forward to sharing that hope with you in person at The Hader Clinic Queensland.
Thanks for sharing my story, recovery rocks!
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