Mick’s Addiction Recovery
Mick completed residential addiction treatment and then relapsed. He asked for help and entered rehab again. This is his story.
My name is Mick. I’ve told my story a couple of times for the Hader Clinic Queensland, but this one will be different.
Recently, I decided I’m going to write a book – I’ve always wanted to. It’s going to be about “the 10 people you meet in Australia”. Which of the 10 am I? I’m the storyteller.
This is the story about my relapse: leaving rehab, relapsing, asking for help and entering rehab again, and life now.
In rehab, I learned to surrender. Surrender is the first thing, and I really had to dig deep to surrender to the fact that I had a problem. And, that there was a solution.
I went through my whole life rebounding off one problem to the next. I never actually solved any of them, but the program taught me that there’s a solution if we learn to look for it.
When I left the rehab, I didn’t look at myself any different. I didn’t perceive anyone else to be different. I noticed a lot more of what had happened in my life, and I had a lot more compassion and empathy for others.
I could identify a lot more with people because I understood they were probably in the grips of some problem they’d repressed.
When I left, I knew I had a program that was going to keep me clean.
But I stopped working the program. I disconnected.
It was a slow progression. I stopped reading the literature. I stopped going to meetings.
I had my niece move in with me. She’s still in addiction. She smokes pot, and now uses speed.
She was smoking around me all the time, and I refused dozens of times, but one day I thought, why not? I was sick of smelling it. Everyone in the building was smoking pot. I had resisted for so long, and I got a bit resentful. The company I was working for wouldn’t give me more hours. I was getting 2 hours a day. I just got resentful.
Plus, there were my fears too. I asked them for more work, and they said yes, we’ll give you some more, but that was the end of that conversation, and nothing happened.
It was my own fault for not speaking out. I should have kept pushing.
There’s a multitude of things I did wrong.
But I’ve learned from that. I know where I went wrong, and I know what to do next time.
When I did seek help, I rang Olivia.
I can’t even remember that day. I can’t remember ringing Olivia. I was stoned and drunk. She told me when I was here, during one of the last check-ins, that I had rung her up crying. I don’t really remember. I guess I suppressed it. I’ve suppressed a lot of things in my life.
She got me back into the program. I did the full 90 days again, and then 9 months in transition.
It was less daunting going back the second time. I knew what was expected of me. I knew the daily program. I could tell you exactly what the routine was for the daily program.
Hayden told me on the phone before I arrived at rehab “There are no expectations from anyone – not from the staff, and so there should be no expectations from you. You’re not being judged. So don’t judge yourself.”
That was probably the best thing he could have said to me, that yeah okay you messed up, but no one’s going to judge you.
I went up there without guilt. I was guilty but without shame and remorse.
When I got to the rehab, Mark greeted me. I walked down the steps and he looked up at me. He looked at me as if he were meeting a different person. It wasn’t like “Woah you’re back again” – he already knew I was coming, but he didn’t make a big deal about it.
When I unpacked my bags and went through them, he said, “You’re under no illusion that you’re gonna be judged. We’re not going to expect anything from you.”
I got a bit of an idea that he, Hayden, and Mel had had a conversation about how to start me off.
I think that was the greatest help for me. I went into the program as if I was new again.
Being at rehab again, I could be open with everyone and say I messed up, and that I will try and do things differently. That was my motto.
I am going to do things differently. I will do things differently.
I learned that I had to tackle my mental health first. The first time, I thought I had to “stay clean”, but unbeknownst to me, it was my mental health I had to work on the most.
I had to fix my mentality, the way I looked at things. I had to work on that before I really tackled my addiction.
I do it now. I do it all the time. I live in a boarding house with people who aren’t really the cleanest. There are always dirty dishes in the sink, always bins full. I’ve got to learn to live with that. I can’t let that override my mental health. I have to find ways to deal with that.
My way of dealing with it is to just ignore it. If I take it on board, it’ll eat away at me. The building owner said to me one day, “If you have any problems, just text me and I’ll deal with them. Don’t you deal with them”.
I think he sort of read my mind. I do that now. I hand it over to my higher power and I give it to someone else. It works itself out in the end.
It’s funny how this program works – they put people in your life that are there to help you too.
My boss understands my situation, and he doesn’t drink either.
I had been working at a restaurant in South bank. I was a floor attendee on Friday and Saturday nights. It got to a point where it became too much for me. I couldn’t handle people being drunk around me. So, I rang my boss up and said, “I can’t do this anymore.”
He goes, “I’ll put you in another place.”
I ended up taking a month off to recover and reset. When I was ready, he asked me if I’d like to do the same job, but working for a fine dining restaurant. I said yes.
I had fears about it – the first night I went there, I enjoyed it. The second time, I enjoyed it. I don’t resent going there. That’s what was happening at my old work – I resented going there, because I knew it was going to play on my mind, these young people, just making a mess and not caring.
I have a life now. I don’t sit around at home. Life’s better now. I’m free.
This week, when I finished work, I went home, had a shower, and I jumped on the train and went to the Gold Coast. I went for a swim. I did this two days in a row.
I do things now, instead of sitting around and becoming complacent. That’s what happened last time; I sat around and became complacent.
I go and do things. I buy things that interest me and that I can use. Like the gold detector. I usually just find crap jewellery, but it’s a bit of fun. I’ve got fishing rods, so I go off and go fishing. I recently bought a video camera.
Staying clean is my main priority. I’ve got to find solutions, and for me that’s staying busy, not becoming complacent, and finding hobbies.
That’s what I’ve done differently this time. I’ve got a life outside recovery.
I do go to meetings. I like to mix up the meetings I attend to keep it interesting.
Sometimes, I walk into those meetings full of fear and doubt, but the moment someone smiles at me or talks to me, my perception changes of why I’m there. I’ve got no fear anymore.
Life’s good. I’m living.
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.