I came to Australia when I was 9. My mum had fled from an Eastern European country and was ready to build a new life. As a single mum, my mother had to work several jobs to provide for our family. I was often left to myself and was unsupervised. I didn't realize it at the time, but the grief I experienced because of the loss of my dad had left a deep wound.
I was only 13 when a friend offered me Marijuana, and before long, I was smoking it every day. I didn't know how to cope with my emotions. By the time I was 19, my addiction was creating havoc in my life. I got into a serious relationship and had 2 children; my adult responsibilities overwhelmed me.
I started drinking and using speed. Before long, my life spiralled out of control. I became psychotic. I hadn't seen my kids for months, and I wanted my family back. And that's when I decided to come to the New Life Centre (NLC).
Learning to deal with the issues I had been running from was confronting. When I was in the program, I learnt how to walk out my faith. I found restoration, freedom and peace. I did a full year at the NLC and then continued as an intern. I had the opportunity to mentor and encourage the young men in the program under the guidance of the NLC staff.
I am looking forward to my future. I want to enjoy the simple and everyday events that make up an ordinary life. I look forward to deepening my relationships. I now get to see my kids. My love has found purpose.
*Name and image changed to protect privacy