Before I came to Teen Challenge, I was hurting and lost, I was very lonely, confused and hard-hearted. My story began with travelling to Australia with my adoptive family when I was a few weeks old.
Being of South Sea Islander hertitage, and adopted into an Australian family, I always had an identity crisis.
I grew up in a loving home with my siblings however as I grew older I felt a sense of identity loss and a sense of not belonging, in school the kids used to ask "why is your mother white". As a teenager I fell into the wrong crowd.
At 14 I began smoking and drinking, running away from home, homelessness, getting involved in street gangs, and periods of incarceration.
During all of this time over a 10 year period I was lost, hurting, confused, and I became hard-hearted and detached from myself and others.
My life spiralled through drugs, bad company, despair, and I felt my life was unworthy.
My family had tried to get me into Teen challenge when I was 17 and now that I was facing longer-term incarceration and my life was totally out of control I contacted Teen challenge myself and made the decision to take that step I needed for a chance at regaining my life.
Now through my journey, I have regained my heart and understand more about myself that has helped me be able to be a more loving and patient person towards myself and others, I'm choosing kindness everyday and I remain loving and teachable.
Coming to Teen challenge is the best thing I could ever have done for myself and my family. I've found meaning, connection and self-acceptance.
And I know who I am. I have found the source of all love.
Addiction no longer has a hold on my life.
*Name and image changed to protect privacy