Client Story – Gunyah

It was around the age of twelve when I had my first beer and started smoking cigarettes. Smokes were not peer-pressure, it was my own curiosity and in fact all drugs were. It was never a fault of people, making me take the drugs. It was me pressuring people who had the drugs and I wanted some. Well I got it.


I started smoking pot I remember one afternoon.  I was getting drilled at home, “do this, do that, feed the dog, have you taken the bins out. You should know by now, but you’re too worried about your dickhead friends. You will never get anywhere PJ, now take that bin out”.


I thought to myself, “I need something”. I could not handle my feelings, I stole $20 and ran around the corner and got my mate to get me a stick (marijuana). That night when I went to bed, I sneaked out onto the Veranda and smoked pot. I was off my head and I loved it. I was laughing and seeing things, but most of all, the pressure was gone. I drank alcohol; I smoked pot and cigarettes, taking the occasional pill ‘made in a backyard God knows where’.


By the time I was sixteen I met my dad for the first time and in no surprise, we had nothing in common. Considering I was made to believe he was dead all my life, I don’t really know what I was expecting. I moved in with him and two weeks later I ran away.


 I was on my way to meet mates but never made it. I bumped into a stranger, we got talking and I ended up getting on Goey (amphetamines). I met a girl and a month later I was sticking needles in my arm.


When I was twenty-four I had already been a heroin addict, an ice addict, a speed freak, a pothead, a binge drinker, a weekend ecstasy user and a range of pharmaceuticals user. I went to rehab because I wanted to be clean. Four months later I left rehab and soon after started a family. It has been four years and I have two sons.


I stumbled in and out of addiction and constant anger, shame and lies. I ended up in jail due to this anger, as common assault became a theme. I missed out on my youngest son’s birth by a week and my eldest who is now four, was a stuttering mess. I can only imagine the abandonment he felt.


My fiancé and I had nice cars, nice possessions and a healthy bank account due to an inheritance and the fact I’ve always been a hard worker. My fiancé and I split up and my ice addiction spiralled out of control after my bank account was empty. I sold my possessions and after my possessions it was crime of various sorts.


My children were placed in foster care, as the mother of my children finally broke to pieces from our breakup. By this time I was clean for four months seeing my children in FACS.


Without any kind of program I soon relapsed and was using ice every day. I lost my job, my home, my license and soon enough I knew I had to go back to rehab because I was broken. My prayers were answered, I was driving my 4×4 unregistered, uninsured and unlicensed (disqualified), off my head on ice and ran a give way sign colliding with a motorcyclist. I pulled over and used the victim’s phone to call an ambulance and the police. Luckily the victim had no broken bones, so I was taken to hospital; drug tested and returned to the scene of accident where I was “field canned” to appear at local court.


My legal aid lawyers suggested the MERIT Program. I made contact with my MERIT officer and she suggested I could reduce my drug use, do counselling and a relapse-prevention program. She also suggested WHOS (We Help Ourselves). I immediately said, “rehab?” Now a detox was a long wait to get in, my MERIT officer said if I could stay clean and get a clearance off my GP, I could be admitted to WHOS. But I was hopeless. I could not stop shooting up my drug of choice, ice. I stumbled into her office in desperation, off my dial. She said next week detox. I was thankful I would detox and go to WHOS.


I did not understand that this program (WHOS) was about addressing my core issues in problems surrounding my behaviours. I had so many fronts and I was not opening up and talking to my peers in the therapeutic community. Just short of a month, I was discharged due to aggression. I was given a seven-day stand down and after reapplying I was admitted back to WHOS in 10 days. The 10 days I spent out of WHOS I relapsed with alcohol, but that was big for me, as I did not take illicit drugs. I know I eventually I would have failed and done just that, but that is just hindsight.


 I’m now 72 days clean and I’m in stage III of the WHOS program. During my stay here so far, I have allowed myself to get vulnerable and talk about my issues, thoughts, feelings, actions and the emotions that I have gone through and identify why I behave the way I have and have great awareness around myself.


I have taken on many roles in this TC, working to the best of my ability in all aspects of the TC community. See my children every week and although the road is long I will get my children back. I’m doing parenting courses whilst in rehab and these courses are recognised by FACs. I am slowly building a friendship with my ex- fiancé and I am building a relationship that is more in touch with myself and other males and a support network in external aftercare services.


And finally, I’m in training as the weekend House Director and am starting to be a lot more positive in my daily life.


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