Veteran Reclaims Life After Addiction with DVA-Funded Rehab - Hader Clinic Queensland
Addiction Treatment

Veteran Reclaims Life After Addiction with DVA-Funded Rehab

From joining the military to facing the depths of despair and homelessness, Jaymie’s journey is a raw and powerful testament to the challenges of addiction and the resilience required to overcome it.

Jaymie’s life took a dramatic turn when, at age 18, she enlisted in the Australian Defence Force, a decision that unwittingly steered her towards a harrowing battle with alcohol and drug addiction.

Her struggles with substance abuse during and after her military service, her courageous fight to reclaim her life through the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) funded rehab programs at Hader Clinic Queensland, and the transformative power of recovery has led her to a fulfilling life with her family.

This is Jaymie’s story.

I had never touched alcohol or drugs before I joined the defence force when I was 18.

Since then I have lived normally, lost everything to my alcohol and drug addiction, and then fought for it all back.

I have completed DVA funded residential addiction treatment and the Transition House Program at Hader Clinic Queensland.

I am now living a great life in recovery with my husband and our children.

I had my first drink in the military when I was 18 as it was heavily encouraged.

Throughout my career in the military drinking was promoted as a coping mechanism.

You’re exposed to high risk situations where you need to be able to react quickly, so it’s this constant state of fight or flight response.

When we’d travel overseas for defence the first thing people did was go get a drink.

I’ve been all over the world from my time in the military but I’ve barely seen outside of a bar. I drank quite heavily and identified as an alcoholic from the very beginning.

After I left the defence force I became a parent and lived a double life.

I was a normal Mum during the week, looking after my kids and functioning normally, and then I was a binge drinker on the weekends.

I was married with a nice house and nice things, but I couldn’t stop myself from drinking excessively at the end of the week.

That isn’t to say I didn’t try.

I committed myself to being sober for one year, and then switched out alcohol with pharmaceuticals.

They are still the most dangerous drug for me.

I was trying to change the way I felt all the time.

I couldn’t sit with myself, my emotions or the stress of being a mum and trying to be perfect.

I thought I was fine because I wasn’t drinking but I was really unwell from overusing prescription drugs, eventually ending up in hospital.

My marriage broke down as my husband was struggling with PTSD from his time in the military, and after years of abuse I took my kids and left.

This is when things really went downhill as I turned to drinking to cope.

It was almost like the beginning of the end for me.

The week that I didn’t have the kids I would party and drink and use drugs to numb everything.

I went from having a normal home and going to parent/teacher and P&C meetings, to being homeless and waiting in front of the bottle shop so I could stop the withdrawals as soon as it opened.

I ended up losing my kids and had no idea how I was going to get them back and get free of my addiction’s hold on me.

So I turned to harder drugs to escape and cut off communication with everyone.

I just wanted to disappear as I didn’t feel like I was worth anything.

Then one day I went to walk in front of a train and I suddenly thought about how I just wanted to see my kids one more time.

I called my Mum for the first time in three months and this was the turning point in my addiction.

I had presented before at a hospital asking for help and telling them that I was a veteran, but they turned me away.

My Mum was able to get in touch with the local police officer (I had been reported as missing), and from his experience with DVA services, he told us about a detox service that takes Veterans.

I detoxed and felt much better but I knew that 6 weeks wasn’t enough time so I worked with DVA on a longer-term solution which is how I found Hader Clinic Queensland.

I signed up for the 90 day rehab program and walked into Hader Clinic Queensland full of hope.

I entered Hader’s program and finally learnt the reasons why I was doing what I was doing.

They introduced me to AA and NA, and the incredible Fellowship on the Sunshine Coast.

I was exposed to this world of people like me who got better and were happy.

The best thing about my time in drug and alcohol addiction treatment at Hader Clinic Queensland was the community.

I was surrounded by like-minded people going through similar things, and together we were healing ourselves and each other.

And then as you progress through the rehab program you become the older, wiser member to the new people coming in, and you get to see how far you’ve come in the little time that has passed.

It makes you feel proud that you’re in the right direction and motivated to keep going.

I had 3 months of being able to completely switch off from the outside world and focus on me and my recovery.

Then I spent about 5 months in the Transition House Program, which was really valuable.

You have a bit more freedom but you still have that accountability.

I’d highly recommend the Transition House program to anyone considering it as it really helped me adjust back into the real world with support still from Hader Clinic Queensland and the accountability to keep you on track.

It’s been some time since I completed the DVA funded residential addiction treatment and Transition House Program.

I’ve gotten married, I have my kids back and a new baby, my life is better, and I’m happy.

From homeless with nothing to a nice home and normal family life in just a few years.

I found someone that I can share my life with who understands the journey I’ve been on and celebrates what has been overcome to build what we have together.

I feel like I got to redo my life because I have the support from DVA that allows me to access services like Hader Clinic Queensland.

Going to rehab saved my life and every day I am really grateful for that second chance.

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