Lucy’s Drug Addiction Recovery Journey
With an early introduction to alcohol that spiralled into a drug and alcohol addiction, it wasn’t until my life had completely broken down that I sought help. I booked myself into the 90-day residential addiction treatment program at Hader Clinic Queensland and am now just under 2 years clean and sober for the first time in my life.
Both my parents were heavy drinkers. My mum is an alcoholic (sober for 4 years), and my dad drank heavily as well, so I was slowly introduced to alcohol through sips of drinks every now and then over the years.
I was about 14 years old when I thought I had found the answer to all my problems. A mate of mine had asked me to get rid of a bottle of vodka, so I drank it until I was very sick. Even though I was sick for 3 days afterwards I remember feeling like I had found what had been missing in my life as I finally felt at ease in my skin. I progressed to weed when I was about 16 and then other stimulants when I was about 18 or 19. I would say that I didn’t have a single substance of choice, it was more whatever I could get my hands on. I wouldn’t touch heroin though because a friend overdosed and died from that, and meth made me sick, so I stayed away from it as well.
I was successful in school, a high achiever and a state sportsperson who thought that my drug and alcohol use was just a phase. But as can be expected with addiction, things start falling apart. I chose drugs over my friends, preferring to isolate in my room and use (I wasn’t a social user). When things got hard, or something made me feel like I was doing the wrong thing I would just run away from it.
I tried every sort of therapy, dabbled in different religions, and even signed contracts with my parents pledging not to use drugs for a month. I tried moderating my use but stopping was never really something I ever wanted to do because it had originally made me feel good about myself (even though it had been a long time since I had felt good about myself at that point).
I moved back in with my parents, but I started spiralling out of control. I grew up in the upper middle class and no one talked about or acknowledged that addiction was a thing. As long as you looked okay from the outside you were okay. But I had not been okay for 8 or 10 years, and when it started to seep into my outside life I very quickly realised that I needed help. I had been engaging in really risky behaviours at this point, and my Mum eventually broke down and told me that every time I left the house she was worried that I would die.
I called Hader Clinic Queensland and booked myself in. I had originally tried to push my intake back due to university exams, but I didn’t do the exams because I ramped up my drug use in preparation for entering rehab. When I rocked up at Hader Clinic Queensland I didn’t feel intoxicated, but I had been drinking and I blew 0.17 on a breathalyser. That opened my eyes to just how bad my use had gotten, as I did not believe I was intoxicated at all. So, I knew at that point that I needed residential addiction treatment.
Going into rehab I had always thought that I would die early from using. But meeting the other people and the staff members made me realise that maybe it wasn’t how I was going to die. That my life didn’t have to be like this forever.
At first, I was a little apprehensive of the 12-step program as I thought it was an American cult thing wrapped in Jesus, but I soon realised that it didn’t have to be a religious thing. I’ve always been good with book work and once they set the 12 steps down in front of me I knew I finally had a guide to getting clean and staying sober. The in-built supportive community has been amazing as I finally get to talk to people who truly understand why I chose to use instead of going to my grandma’s funeral. There’s this collective accountability and understanding that helps me when things get tough.
After the 90 days of residential addiction treatment, I did the transitional housing program and then the outpatient program. They were phenomenal and the best way to introduce me slowly back into society as a sober and clean person. It was a great opportunity to be in a supportive environment with people that I had gone through the program with. I could ease my way back into life and learn how to be a sober adult but with the support behind me.
Since leaving the programs it’s been a little hard for me as I was diagnosed with cancer, and as any addict would know, it’s more complicated when you’re a drug user in treatment as they pump you with fentanyl and anaesthetic when getting operated on. My family has been so supportive with the cancer, and I have meetings supporting me with the drug concerns. So, I feel grateful for that.
Other than cancer, life has been pretty amazing. I’ve almost finished my degree, I have found healthier ways to manage my stress and I can cope with being on my own when my parents go on holidays. I have adopted too many cats, but I love them so much.
I now have friends who care about me and want me to succeed, I am looking into getting back into the workforce, I have a great partner who supports me through everything, and I have the world’s best sponsor. I’m just under 2 years sober and clean and thanks to my journey through Hader Clinic Queensland and since leaving I get to realise my passions and live a healthier, happier life of recovery.
Photographs of this client have been changed to protect their privacy.
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