Hope - the ripple effect
Hope - the ripple effect
I remember going to a Salvos church when I was really young. I also remember the Salvos coming to the door and giving me a birthday card when my dad was deployed overseas with the Australian military. They just rocked up, which was really cool.
The next time I had anything to do with the Salvos was when I checked myself into detox at the age of 29. It was at the Brisbane Recovery Services Centre for drug and alcohol withdrawal management support.
When I was growing up, we moved around a lot because of my dad’s job. I attended four primary schools and five high schools. I was bullied a lot through school and never really fitted in. I felt like I was an outcast and didn’t make many connections.
The bullying was mainly verbal. People wouldn’t let me sit with them. I used to get called “boy-girl” because I liked having short hair. They’d call me rude names. School was a horrible place to be.
As I got older and kept changing schools, it became harder to make friends. Rejection and abandonment issues grew. Dad was away a lot, too.
At about 17, I started drinking and then found marijuana, speed and acid. I felt connected with drugs. I liked the feeling of being numb. I didn’t really like feeling anything – even happiness. Being drunk or high took everything away. I fitted into the drug circle – I had finally found some connections.
I think my ‘rock bottom’ lasted a few years. Now that I look back, I realise it was really bad. I felt that I didn’t want to be on the earth anymore and I was making plans. Then I had a little moment of clarity. I think my dad rang me, and straight after that I got a doctor’s appointment.
The next day I was in Salvos detox in Brisbane. Then later I was moved to the Salvos Townsville Recovery Services Centre.
Going through rehab was the hardest thing I ever had to do. It was the hardest, but the best as well. I couldn’t even begin to list what I’ve learned – there is so much – but I think the best thing I learned is that I deserve to be alive. I deserve happiness and love. I’m not worthless!
I had done an apprenticeship and became a qualified mechanic for about two-and-a-half years before I went into rehab. I now work part-time as a mechanic and am also concentrating on my recovery. I’m just over two years ‘clean’ [drug-free]. It is one day at a time.
I love hiking, so I want to get into multi-day hikes. I love nature and the environment, so I want to get out and do as many hikes as I can. I want to go camping. I also want to support others in the future through their recovery – I want to give back what I have received. Without this support, I think I would be dead. I had no hope.
I’m living proof that care and support can change a life. The [Salvos] people I met in the rehab, at the Salvos church and recovery centre – every single person I met – welcomed me with open arms. It literally creates great hope. It has a ripple effect, too. Once you meet great people like that, you feel better about yourself. Then you can help make other people feel better.
This article first appeared in Salvos Magazine.