Veteran Ross’ Journey Through DVA-Funded Ice Addiction Treatment
After becoming homeless Ross completed the 90-day residential addiction treatment, and the 9-month transitional housing program at Hader Clinic Queensland, and is now over two years clean. This is his story.
Most of my life I’ve been using drugs and alcohol but things really began to spiral out of control when I started using meth. It was when I really hit rock bottom that I decided to try rehab and called Hader Clinic which got me into DVA-funded addiction treatment, and after some hard work, I’m now two and a half years clean.
I started when I was a teenager, smoking marijuana and drinking a lot. I just worked, smoked and drank until my 20s when I went to work in the mines and then joined the army. I quit the drugs and just drank alcohol while I was working in the mines, and I proceeded to do that when I joined the army as well. I was in the army for a few years and left toward the end of my 20s. It wasn’t really until my 30s that I started up on the drugs again. I’d tried amphetamines, or speed, before so when I was hanging out with some people that offered me meth I thought, why not.
But that’s when things really went downhill for me. Once I started, I was hooked. I started selling weed and that covered the cost of the meth for me, and at that time I was only smoking it every couple of weeks. I made a lot of money dealing weed, but I eventually gave up as it got too stressful, and I just didn’t want to do it anymore.
By then my ice addiction had started to take hold and I began using every day. Eventually, my money started running out so I had to start selling meth, and so I had access to a lot of it and I was in the throes of addiction. My life started spiralling, I became homeless, and I just was in a really dark place.
When I was living in a men’s homeless shelter, I started seeing a caseworker from the Salvation Army weekly for a couple of years. At the end of every session, she would mention Hader Clinic Queensland’s residential addiction program, and how I could access the program through DVA, so I didn’t have to pay out of pocket.
I was not in the right headspace, so I eventually told her to stop mentioning it to me as I wasn’t interested. I said I would work my stuff out by myself, I just needed to get it together, but really, I was just wanting to end my life. I even made plans to that effect, but then one night this feeling came over me that I was worth more than this. It was the smallest window into a feeling of self-worth and that I was meant for a better life than the one I was living. And then Hader popped into my head.
So I called Hader Clinic the next day, and they explained how it all worked with DVA and everything, but I didn’t book in then and there. I wanted to wait for my paycheck to come in so I could buy some stuff in preparation for the 90 days of DVA-funded addiction treatment. It took me about a month to call back, but when I did they got me into the program within days. I didn’t even have to do anything with DVA, Hader organised the whole thing so all I had to do was fill out the forms and go to rehab.
I was so reluctant when I got to Hader. I had no idea what to expect. I guess I saw it as surgery where you go in, they fix you, and then you come out better. So yeah, I was way off, but I had a great counsellor that I could talk to and be honest about what I was experiencing during my time there. That was the best part of my experience in the program, being able to talk to someone who just listened to me and didn’t try to push something on me.
After 90 days I went to the transition program and I enjoyed having the accountability and honesty of the rehab program but also the freedom to do what I wanted with my days. It was a good way to get back into the real world without losing the support. I would have my weekly chats with Olivia and just talk about how I was feeling, and my concerns, and just be truly honest about how I was going. I got to take the program at my own pace and continue to work on what was going on in my head while adapting back to society.
After the transition program, I didn’t do much but focus on my recovery. I went to a meeting every day and I just took it one day at a time. I was dedicated to staying clean and that meant just taking it day by day and not being hard on myself. I took it slow and I took it easy, and I didn’t compare myself to others, which is something I had to learn.
I always tell the newcomers at NA that it’s hard but you just take one day at a time for the first three months and it gets easier to manage. I’m much better at managing what life throws at me. I relax and avoid things that are too stressful as I know my limits better now.
I’m now 2 and a half years sober, I go to meetings at least once a week, and I meditate when I’m feeling overwhelmed. From a dark headspace in the throes of addiction, through DVA-funded ice addiction treatment at Hader Clinic Queensland, the transition program, and now living clean for over 2 years. It’s a roller-coaster but it’s worth it.
Names and photographs of this client have been changed to protect their privacy.
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