I was born in a little country town. My mum and dad lost a baby after my birth and separated soon after. I remember my mum dropping me off at my Nan and Pop’s and then she just didn’t come back. I was only two. I always felt like I was an inconvenience.
Coming to Teen Challenge and starting a new life
I left school in Year 11 and moved out with friends. I started taking drugs – MDMA, amphetamines, marijuana, alcohol – and doing petty crime.
Eventually, the police caught me, and I was charged and was looking at prison time.
I was 20 when I arrived at Teen Challenge, and I struggled.
The program is very disciplined, and I found it confronting. I was initially argumentative, but I completed the 12-month program and then continued as an intern.
Craig, my case worker, advised me to make a fresh start after that. I knew he was right.
I moved to Tasmania, and it was here that I met my wife, Ashley, in church. Ashley’s family embraced me; I got invited in, and I never left.
Becoming the father I wish I’d had
Ashley and I got married in 2015, and we now have a four-year-old and a two-year-old, with another baby on the way.
It’s hard to believe our little boy, George, is already four years old! He always calls me his best friend, and I love that.
I am the first father to be present in my family for three generations. My great-grandfather died when my granddad was little. My granddad left the family home when my dad was about eight years old. And my dad left our family when I was a young. I have no memory of him.
So, I’m present for my kids. I’m here for them. It’s really great being a dad; I love it, and my boys light up when I walk through the door at night.
I’m tired a lot! But I’m working for a better future for my children.
Ashley and I have both worked hard, and it’s paying off – we’re getting our lives well established.
Healing and learning new habits
I feel like God helped me heal as much as I would allow Him to, in stages. My work allows me lots of quiet time, and in that stillness, I have time for prayer and thought. My default is to go, go, go, but I have found a calm, and I’m grateful for that.
When I was at Teen Challenge, I had time to get rid of all the nasty habits I’d developed and rebuild new ones.
I appreciate the patience the staff and volunteers had for me when I was in the program. Being a tradesman and having apprentices, I now know how important it is to slow down. You have to do things over and over when you’re learning new skills or habits.
I keep on track by taking good care of myself; I have good friends I can sit with. You know, when I was a young apprentice, I used to look at tradies and think ‘I could never do that!’ That’s kind of what it’s been like for my recovery.
There are so many things I thought I could never do. But now I’m doing them.
I really value honesty and consistency and resilience… it’s so important not to get disheartened, to just keep going. I learnt that at Teen Challenge.
None of this would have been possible without donors like you, who make it possible for programs like Teen Challenge to exist. Thank you for your generosity and for helping to change lives like mine.