Matt moved to Australia when he was 9 years old. His mum had fled from an Eastern European country with him to build a new life.
Matt didn’t realise it then, but the grief of losing his father had left a deep wound, and trouble came to find him.
By 19, addiction was creating havoc in his life.
After a short stint at rehab, he got into a serious relationship and had two children. He worked full time, and his adult responsibilities overwhelmed him. He started drinking and using speed. Things quickly spiralled out of control.
“I used addiction to mask my pain. In my addiction, I lost my family – my two kids and my partner – and I guess I didn't see any hope for my future.”
Matt developed severe mental health issues, including anxiety, mania and psychosis. While he was in this state, his friends called the police, and he was taken into hospital involuntarily.
It was here he decided that he had to make a change. He wanted his family back, as he hadn’t seen his kids in six months.
As he walked through the door here at Teen Challenge, he was hopeful but also anxious for what he might find.
“Standing there, I didn't know what to expect. And your heart just sinks and reality sinks in.
“I guess I lived such a long life of masking and using coping mechanisms that when I went into the program, I had no more of those strategies to use…”
Matt found when he walked through the door – not rejection or judgement, but a place of safety, security and acceptance.
A place that challenged him to leave his past behind, break free from addiction, and be his best.
A place that gave him new hope.
“I grieved a lot – my behaviour and the loss and the regret of the choices I made. Halfway through the program, I thought I’d never get my family back. But the staff just kept encouraging me to keep on track.
“I've been with my family for the last year and things have turned around. And I’m just really blessed by all the support that they’ve shown me and I’m really proud of my kids as well. They fought amazingly hard."
Thanks to the generous support of individuals just like you, Matt’s life has been transformed.