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