Lyndon’s Meth Relapse Recovery Story
After seven suicide attempts and ten stints in rehab, Lyndon undertook residential addiction treatment for his meth addiction.
This is his story.
My substance was meth. Has been since forever.
I’ve been in transition since October last year. I’m a serial relapser. But this time will be different. I’m trying to give myself the best chance at recovery this time. I don’t have another “recovery” left in me.
Growing up, my family moved around a lot, and I felt that I didn’t belong anywhere. All my friends lived further away from me, and my family didn’t have a lot of money, so I always felt two steps behind everyone else. I just felt like the odd one out.
When I was 12, something happened to me while I was at a friend’s house, and that’s when this stuff started. It sort of changed stuff inside me, and I never told anyone about what happened to me. That’s when I looked for something else to make me feel good.
I met this older guy at a party who introduced me to smoking weed. I thought that was pretty cool – I didn’t see it as a problem. I got into acid when I was 16 or 17. It was every weekend. While the others would do it Friday and Saturday, I’d want to do it Sunday too.
I’d always drink to get drunk; I never really did it to have fun. I would just be in a corner, smashing it down to get hammered. I was going nowhere.
Then I joined the army.
Dad pushed me into doing it – wanted me to make something of myself. In the army, I found that sense of belonging I was looking for.
But I was angry. I had a lot of anger in me at that point. I was always on edge. The army feeds on that. And aggression too.
I became violent. A lot of that violence was fueled by the booze, and I hurt people, I think, because of what happened to me as a kid. I’m not proud of the things I did or the person I was then.
In the army, there is a real drinking culture. I was drinking 20 of these $1 cans every day. The weekends were a blur. I ended up getting busted for smoking pot and was kicked out.
Coming back home, I didn’t know how to live on my own. I had only known living with my parents and the army. I did know how make myself feel “normal” and that was sticking a needle in my arm.
I reconnected with a mate in Brisbane, who was one of the largest supplies at the time. I truly went off the rails. Went from 120kg to 42kgs in 6 weeks. I freaked my parents out, and I ended up doing a detox program in HADS, and then rehab at Logan House. It didn’t last. I had so much anger in me, and I didn’t understand addiction as a disease, I thought it was a lifestyle choice.
For a few years I partied hard, got on the gear, weed, and booze. I had no personal relationships, just associates. I did a stint in jail, getting arrested for warrants.
I started associating with bike gangs and the shadier side of it all. I had this certain skillset I’d been trained in (in the army) and all this anger. I would use to feed the anger, to get angry and stay angry, and did things to people I’m not proud of.
My lifestyle was taking a toll on me not only physically, but mentally as well. So, I went to rehab again. This time, I did a CBT based program, which was 3 months.
I met a woman in rehab.
We ended up moving in together and I was working 100 hours a week, driving a truck. She was still dabbling in pills at that point. I think the hours took a toll on me, and I got back on the gear again to try and keep up.
Unbeknownst to me, she was blowing all our money, sending it to her kids or something. We lost our place and split up. We ended up reconnecting in Mackay and got a place together. She got sacked from her job and said to me one day that she had work in Brisbane. She left and never came back.
She bloody broke my heart. She also left me with a lot of debt.
I had nothing. I was in a town I couldn’t afford to live in; my habit was starting to build up again.
I bailed and went back to Bundaberg, where I met my soon-to-be wife. She was my nephew’s daycare mum.
She knew that I was a user previously, but she thought I was just a pot-smoker now, and she was okay with that.
We ended up getting married and it was great. She kind of showed me what it was like to feel loved again; to be able to love. I’d never felt that before, and it was all I wanted.
Everything was good.
By then though, I was using more. I was hanging around my cousin who was doing it. I put myself back in it all.
Now I’m juggling two lives, trying to hide this from her. We were married and our relationship was actually pretty good. We grew the business together; I went back to driving trucks. I was doing overnight work, using and smoking, then doing the day care with her. We had family stuff on the weekend – it was really cool.
She ended up getting diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma. The tumor was sitting on top of her lungs.
I just thought, the one thing in my life I’ve found that is pure, is going to be taken away from me.
How I dealt with all of that, is how I usually deal with things. Stick a needle in my arm.
I’m using hard at this point.
We moved to Burpengary to be closer to her treatment. She started intense chemo.
I don’t want to say I wasn’t present for my wife; I was there, taking her to the hospital and stuff, doing all of my duties. However, I wasn’t there.
I was just waiting to get on it again. The using stepped up when we moved to Burpengary. Having to watch your wife get pumped full of chemicals… there’s no counselling for people who have to watch their loved ones go through that.
The whole time I’m lying about the using.
We beat cancer in the end. Thank God.
Then the lies were getting too much. I was hiding stuff that I was hocking off. She confronted me. I just couldn’t handle lying to her anymore, this beautiful woman who’d been through so much. I thought she’d stick by me if I just told her what was going on.
I told her what was happening. I guess that really made her hurt; made her look like a fool. I get it. I understand that. She said you need to go get help and you can’t come back home. That’s it.
A week later, I was trying to hang myself in a tree. I went into the “nuthouse”, got off it, got on again, got into rehab at Logan again.
She saw me about 5 weeks in. She was glad I was getting help, but that was it. She was seeing a lawyer and getting a divorce.
I thought, what am I doing this for then?
I bailed. I was back a couple months later, same rehab.
I didn’t know how to live really, but I was slowly beginning to understand that this isn’t a lifestyle choice. There’s something deeper going on.
One day, I was driving through Burpengary and saw the ex-wife driving the other way. Something broke inside me, and I ended up trying to neck myself in a park near Bribie. Thank God someone called the ambos.
I was back in the “nuthouse” again and lived in a park for a couple weeks after that. I was on the gear and experiencing bad psychosis. I started seeing these faceless shapes and walked 2 hours to the overpass at Caloundra where I tried to jump off it.
I don’t know how it happened, but a mate turned up out of the blue and saved me.
I tried these different rehabs after that but ended up bailing. At this point, all I had was a bag of clothes.
I went back to Logan House. I did 9 months there and experienced a bit of a mental decline. That’s when I found out I have PTSD, anxiety, and depression. Finally, I had a label for what I was experiencing. It wasn’t just the gear sending me nuts.
I was 18 months clean before I relapsed. I was overwhelmed with life, and I didn’t know how to live without using.
I was going back in and out of different rehabs again; did two more stints in the “nuthouse”.
I was back on the gear, suicidal, and living in squalor.
A friend ended up taking me to her place, and that’s when I got in contact with the RSL.
I found out about a homeless vet program and was moved into a motel.
It was at Unity Day for NA, that I met up with JJ, and he mentioned Hader Clinic Queensland took DVA clients. That planted a seed in my head.
Trish called me, we booked in an assessment, and I was in.
I was to arrive on Monday. It was Friday, and I got on it.
I didn’t have any clean needles. I had this really old one and was trying to go in the spot I always go in. I was crying and I just couldn’t stop. I can still feel it. It was like punching a nail through a wall. I only got half of it in, and I couldn’t see properly because I was crying and kept missing, so I pulled out. There was blood all over the place. For the first time in 30 years, I flushed it down the toilet.
I kind of knew then that I was done. I’m done. I’m really messed up.
I had a tense weekend within myself, knowing what was coming up. But I made it clear to myself, just do whatever they tell you.
I got up there on the Monday. I don’t remember the first few days, I just kind of knew I was done. I still have using left it in me, I know that. But the recovery stuff, I can’t do again. I don’t think I’d make it back.
I’ve had 7 suicide attempts. 10 stints in rehabs. I needed to be broken to a point where I got that gift of desperation.
The understanding they had speaks volumes. It comes out in how they treat you – especially Mark and Wade; all of them really, but especially Mark and Wade. They’re amazing at what they do. They get it. They’ve felt what I was feeling.
I gained an understanding of what this disease is to me, and how it affects me. When Mark said that it’s a disease of my thinking, I had to get a real grasp on what that means to me. That’s been the biggest shift for me, this time around.
I’m 7 months clean today.
I’ve had a rough time this week, but I’ve worked the program for myself today. I’ve learned that I can sit with my shit, and still be okay; I don’t have to seek solace at the end of a needle. I really don’t.
I’ve got a good sponsor, I do a daily check-in. I love the accountability of this transition program.
Mum and Dad are still with me. Dad calls me mate. That means the world to me, him calling me mate. They came to Hader to visit me, and I think they got a better understanding of what this stuff means to me, and that it’s not just a case of just giving up drugs.
I like Dad calling me mate.
It’s really nice. It’s not something I had with him before. He instigates hugs today, and he’s not a hugger. But he does. He gives me a hug anyway.
My ultimate goal one day… is to have a Hader Clinic Queensland staff shirt. I don’t want to work anywhere else.
There is something about that place, and what goes on there, that is really special.
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.