Luke’s Addiction Recovery
Bereft, devastated and unable to stay clean, Luke undertook residential rehabilitation for his cocaine and alcohol addiction.
It all started when I finished my studies at the University of Melbourne. I worked as an actor for seven years post Arts degree. I was in a relationship with a woman who was addicted to heroin. Our relationship was tumultuous and she broke things off with me.
Desperate to get back with her, and lacking self esteem and confidence, I agreed that I’d try heroin with her if she turned up at a certain location at a certain time. She never turned up and I tried it anyway. I began to understand why people use heroin, it just numbed the pain.
Cocaine was an accident. I’d scored what I had thought was heroin, but actually got cocaine instead. It was love at first use. I used for about 18 months before I went into rehab. I was 28, and living in Sydney at the time.
With rehab, I stayed clean for eleven months. Then I relapsed. At this particular time, I hadn’t drunk alcohol for ten years. However, I moved from Sydney to the Northern Territory and suddenly cocaine just wasn’t freely available.
Therefore, I turned to drinking to fill the addictive gap.
During my time in the Northern Territory, I met my wife. I stopped taking drugs. Life was good and I drank socially.
However, I was not happy in my employment, and to cope, I started drinking more, to the point that it was beginning to become problematic.
My wife was well aware of my drinking but didn’t consider it to be a problem. I knew differently.
I had a drive in – drive out job and I worked away for the majority of each week. While I was away, I would drink to excess, but from Friday to Sunday when I was at home, I didn’t touch alcohol. I hid my addiction well from my wife and daughter.
An unexpected family tragedy saw us pack up and leave Australia. My wife is from the UK and we decided that we’d have better family support if we moved there.
However, that was the beginning of more problems for me as my Visa to enter and work in the UK was mysteriously rejected. The process of getting my Visa properly sorted out was a nightmare – it took 18 months to rectify the initial mistake and in order to do so, I had to surrender my passport, licence etc for the Home Office paperwork process.
I was effectively stranded. I couldn’t work, I couldn’t get a phone or a drivers license. I was helpless.
To cope with this latest challenge, I started drinking again and then found cocaine. Meanwhile, my wife was working. My cocaine addiction spiralled out of control to the point where I was using daily.
My wife had noticed that I had cleaned out our bank accounts. She tried to be supportive, but as I slid further into the grip of addiction, my behaviour also deteriorated as she caught me telling lies.
She thought that I was having an affair, and kicked me out of the house.
I was bereft and devastated. My mother came over from Australia for a visit, and immediately sensed something was very wrong. I had lost a lot of weight, was trying to attend NA meetings and I was trying to reconcile with my ex.
I couldn’t stay clean. If was as if my brain was “blocked” when I thought of anything related to my using or a different way – I literally couldn’t find a safe space within myself.
My mother brought me home just as COVID-19 hit. We flew from Heathrow to Sydney and then finally to Brisbane. We were one of the first sets of passengers to be forced into hotel quarantine.
I agreed during this time to go to rehab. I travelled straight from Brisbane to The Hader Clinic Queensland’s residential rehab.
The process reminded me a bit of my first rehab. It was based on the 12 Step fellowship and I took part in the 90 day program. I had already completed some of the steps, but this time what hit home for me was that I’d been hanging onto the past.
I was punishing myself for situations that were out of my control. I had to learn to treat myself well, as if the rest of the world would treat you.
Of course, I didn’t want to be there. There was all kinds of internal resistance going on – I wanted to be at home with my daughter. During the second and third months, I started to surrender. I wrote letters to my ex wife asking to reconcile. I also had an ultrasound and discovered that I had severely damaged my liver, being diagnosed with Stage 3 cirrhosis.
I was devastated, however, when I went to see the specialist gastroenterologist, I was told that a mistake had been made and while there was liver damage, if I kept living clean, it was totally reversible.
At that moment I realised that my own self pity had been holding me back and that I still had every chance of a full and happy life. That evening, I slept like a baby.
After I left rehab, I stayed in Australia. I wanted to accumulate some money to right some of the wrongs I had made. I have always been known for (and proud of) having an exceptional work ethic, so when I returned to the United Kingdom to celebrate my daughter’s birthday, I paid my ex back the money I had taken.
Our relationship is over, but we talk, communicate and are co-parenting our daughter in a positive way.
I am concentrating on being the best dad to our daughter that I can be and I’m restarting the UK business that I had before COVID-19 struck.
I am grateful to all at the Hader Clinic Queensland for encouraging me to stick around and am looking forward to what the future brings.
Queensland’s only private rehab centre with ACHS accreditation
We are proud to be the only private drug and alcohol addiction treatment centre in Queensland to be independantly accredited.