Mel’s Journey Through Alcohol Addiction Treatment - Hader Clinic

Mel’s Journey Through Alcohol Addiction Treatment

After 90 days in residential addiction treatment, Mel is nine months sober and looking to the future. This is her story.

Alcohol addiction has a history in my family over multiple generations, but I didn’t think I was an alcoholic until I started my 90 days of residential addiction treatment at Hader Clinic Queensland. You might be wondering how I couldn’t think I was an alcoholic when I had enrolled myself in alcohol addiction treatment, but the reality was I knew I had a problem, but I just thought I needed some time out.

Having a family of heavy drinkers meant that I was introduced to alcohol pretty early in my life, but it wasn’t until the COVID-19 pandemic that things started to affect me.

In my 20s and 30s I was a binge drinker but not in a way that raised alarm bells. I had a lovely house, 2 cats and a successful career. On the outside, I was doing really well. Then the COVID-19 pandemic hit, and things started to spiral out of control for me.

I had a very high-pressure job where I was working from home, and I started to become very isolated. My drinking progressed into daily drinking as I gradually became dependent on alcohol as a way of coping with the stress and relieving the anxiety and depression that I’ve had for most of my life. I was working like a dog and drinking heavily to cope with it.

I also isolated myself more and more because I was drinking so much. I started drinking while I was working because I was working from home, so I didn’t think there was anything wrong with that.

I wasn’t looking after myself at all and my health really started to deteriorate. From the outside, I was a happy, bubbly, lively person because I could turn it on as needed, but on the inside, I was fractured. I’d been suicidal over the years, but I had never tried anything until this period of my life when I first attempted suicide.

It’s hard to process how I got to residential addiction treatment at Hader Clinic Queensland as it’s a bit of a blur, but I remember feeling like I just needed some time out. A chance to put a pause on my life and reset, which I thought would solve the drinking.

So, I started Googling healthy detox places in Bali and Thailand but I soon realised that I was under too much financial stress and couldn’t afford those programs. Funnily enough, because I was Googling detox programs I came across Hader Clinic Queensland. I was probably drunk at the time, but I thought, perfect, an opportunity to go away and eat healthily and be without alcohol for a month. So, I sent an email to Hader and days later I was completing the admission process.

I’m not going to sugarcoat it; Hader Clinic Queensland was hard on me at the beginning. I went in with preconceived ideas of what alcohol detox would be, and I was shown pretty quickly how wrong I was.

I was overwhelmed and struggling but two weeks in I realised that I was an alcoholic, I couldn’t do it on my own and I needed to stay longer than 30 days. Once that realisation kicked in I went to Mark and asked “How do we keep me here?”. I extended my program to the 90-day alcohol addiction treatment program and for the first time, I had to admit to people in my life what was going on.

Once I committed to the program I started to work hard at my recovery. A big part of the program at Hader was having to do AA, and I think that’s the best thing I took from it. I know other programs it’s optional or not included, but for me having AA as a requirement was the best thing for me and I wouldn’t be sober without it. AA has given me so much support through the meetings and the fellowship, and meeting different people like me who were very successful in their careers and struggled with alcohol dependence.

I believe support is vital in recovery when you’re emotionally vulnerable, and I’ve seen so many of my friends fall off the wagon because they didn’t embrace the ongoing support of AA and NA that Hader Clinic Queensland introduces you to.

Life is still life since leaving rehab, but I am so much better equipped to handle things as they come. I’ve grown so much since I left treatment. I embrace the spiritual aspect of the program and I start the day with a whole hour to myself to work out, pray and meditate. I am back at work, but I’ve left my ego at the door, taken a lesser-paid job, sold my house and moved into a rental with my partner. Not something I thought I would ever do because of pride but my time at Hader Clinic Queensland really humbled me.

I have a much more peaceful existence now being nine months sober and practising active recovery. I take pleasure from the simple things, and I am accountable.

Entering Hader Clinic Queensland, I had thought of myself as a victim and that I had done nothing wrong, but I soon came to realise how much addiction had changed me and impacted those around me.

Since my time in residential alcohol addiction treatment, I have been honest with those around me and am creating more meaningful relationships. I am embracing a simple, peaceful life and enjoying my days that are now so much more fulfilling.


Names and photographs of this client have been changed to protect their privacy.

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