Liam's Drug Addiction Story - Hader Clinic Queensland
Liam’s Addiction Treatment

Liam’s Addiction Recovery

Broken, sick of himself, and unable to stay clean, Liam attended residential addiction treatment at the Hader Clinic Queensland. 

If someone told thirty-year-old me (I’m forty now) that I’d be coming up on nearly three years clean (two years and eight months to be exact), that I would have friends that I could trust, a fellowship, my own place, and my son in my life, I would have thought they were pulling my leg.

If you were to ask me about my substance of addiction, I’d wrap it up into one word – “more”. I did benzos, meth, opioids, speed etc etc. Whatever I could get my hands on. If one drug wasn’t available, I’d go for another. It never entered my mind until I went to the Hader Clinic Queensland that it was actually possible to stay clean.

And this is coming from someone who’s been in and out of rehabs, detoxes and psych wards since 2010. I think in the early stages, I believed that everyone else had “the problem”, not me.

You see, I abused substances to stop feeling anything. I used and used and used so that I couldn’t feel a thing. When I was at the Hader Clinic Queensland, I realised that some of this behaviour stemmed from my childhood experiences. As a kid, I was always chasing that extreme, that hit of dopamine, that would make me forget my worries and transport me to another place.

As an older teen, I got into the party life with drinking and became involved with people who sold drugs.

At twenty-two, I was able to clean up and had my daughter. However, soon after, I was sent to East Timor by the military. Upon arriving home from my tour of duty, was diagnosed with depression and anxiety.

As a result of my mental health, I started to use heavily – all I wanted to do was change my mood. My addiction deceived me into believing that I liked being an addict. My experience at the Hader Clinic Queensland made me realise that I was the problem in how I reacted to problems in my life, rather than respond appropriately.

My default behaviours were based on fear, shame, and guilt. Taking two years to do the 12 Steps helped me to understand that this was shaky ground to live on. With all the work I have done on myself and within the fellowship, I have become a person that likes what they see and who they are.

Thanks to the RSL, I was admitted to the Hader Clinic Queensland. I was discharged from the psychiatric ward at New Farm Clinic straight to the rehab. At this point, I was so broken and sick of myself that I decided I had nothing to lose by giving it a go. I’d been in rehabs long enough to know that two weeks of drying out was not going to cure me.

Looking around the rehab, I noticed that people were staying clean. When Mark shared his story with me about the carnage drugs had caused in his life, I realised that being clean was possible.

During my time at the Hader Clinic Queensland, I turned inward. I worked on myself in all aspects of life – from the seemingly simple acts of eating healthily and exercising, through to attending regular sessions with my psychiatrist and psychologist. The holistic approach that Hader Clinic Queensland took resonated deeply with me.

As I battled my demons and leveraged off the wisdom of the support workers who would calmly say, “just sleep on it” when I was cooking up ideas to leave, I soon began to realise that rehab was a safe space where I could clear my head and take the time to undertake the steps I needed to heal.

Since I left rehab, I have reconnected with my son and live in my own apartment. I have access to my son in the afternoons and he visits, does his homework and I get to feel completely present in the moment. No longer am I waiting for visitations to end so I can go out and score, I’m instead building a proper relationship with him. It has made me happier than I could have imagined. To help this, I have done some parenting courses through Triple P. They are amazing.

It’s really been the last eight months where I’ve really grown – I’m less ‘wired’ to think about addiction or getting on it when I hear certain music or watch certain TV shows. In that way it was harder to stay clean in that first year. Thankfully I had assistance from a Lives Lived Well counsellor at the time.

What the Hader Clinic Queensland has taught me is to live in the solution, rather than the problem. Depression and anxiety thrive on “standing still”. If you act, invariably you feel better – well, I know I do!Being in the fellowship has helped me to understand that everyone has their own crosses to bear. By sharing openly with others, you gain strength.

I live my life in action and gratitude for what is. I’m now the Sponsor for three members in my fellowship – we are currently working on steps 4, 5, and 6.

When I’m not contributing to the fellowship, I am continuing to maintain healthy habits by going to the gym and working with an exercise physiologist twice a week. I’ve dropped fifteen kilos and gone skydiving recently. The sky really is the limit.

I am also grateful to the Hader Clinic Queensland for the friends I made in rehab. I have a couple of good friends that I went through rehab with, and we have all stayed clean. We support each other with our lived experience. I also remain in touch with seven or eight others who were attending at the same time as me.

Thank you for sharing my story. There is always hope – and if you’re willing to do the work, the Hader Clinic Queensland can help you too.

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