I had a good upbringing and came from a loving home, but when I was 15, I started drinking and smoking marijuana at weekend parties. When I turned 18, my new freedom gave me access to more substances, I was drinking a lot and became addicted to Valium, not a good combination!
I met Emma in my early 20's, and we got married. I was working in dead-end jobs, getting into strife with the law and trying very hard to hide my drug and alcohol habits. My family and friends were concerned for me, but I was on a self-destructive path.
When I was 26, I was under the influence of alcohol and drugs, and I caused a serious car accident. I was losing the things I cared about most. My dad heard about Teen Challenge QLD. I was running out of options I knew I had to make a change.
Before entering TCQ, I had to detox, and I went to live with mum and dad. My withdrawal meant that I was having seizures, and was at risk of a cardiac arrest, my life was in danger. For three weeks, I was in a dream-like haze, hovering in a very crazy space! I wanted my life back, I wanted a life with my wife. Emma told me I had to do the 12 months rehab program or our relationship was over. I had nowhere else to go. I was at rock bottom.
When I came into the program I was expecting a harsh environment, like being in jail, I came into TCQ putting on an act, trying to be strong but like the rest of the guys that go into the program I was depleted. The staff were open and caring, and pretty soon, my defences came down, and it helped hearing other people's stories.
I was doing well in the program and had a weekend of leave, but I had been kidding myself about my recovery. I ended up catching up with a guy from my old crowd and started drinking. I went on a week-long bender. I was arrested and my family found out where I was by seeing me on the nightly news. I remember going to the beach and crying, I didn't want this life anymore, I called my dad and he came and got me, and I went back to TC. The staff welcomed me back and gave me the support and encouragement to keep working on myself. As bad as that week was it was a wake-up call for me, I had more work to do to get well.
Emma is a strong woman and all the way through she kept holding on to the hope of who I really was; the real me. I have been alcohol and drug-free for 4 years, I now have a challenging and rewarding job, a stable home life and a beautiful little girl. Doing rehab was hard, but I will never go back to my old life, that's just not me anymore. For anyone thinking about doing rehab at TC, I would say be open, humble yourself and forget what you think you are, and how bad your past is and just try it.
*Name and image changed to protect privacy