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Hope - the ripple effect

21 October 2020

Hope - the ripple effect

Support and care changes lives

Words Caitlin

I remember going to a Salvos church when I was really young. I also remember the Salvos coming to the door and giving me a birthday card when my dad was deployed overseas with the Australian military. They just rocked up, which was really cool.

The next time I had anything to do with the Salvos was when I checked myself into detox at the age of 29. It was at the Brisbane Recovery Services Centre for drug and alcohol withdrawal management support.

When I was growing up, we moved around a lot because of my dad’s job. I attended four primary schools and five high schools. I was bullied a lot through school and never really fitted in. I felt like I was an outcast, and didn’t make many connections.

The bullying was mainly verbal. People wouldn’t let me sit with them. I used to get called “boy-girl” because I liked having short hair. They’d call me rude names. School was a horrible place to be.

As I got older and kept changing schools, it became harder to make friends. Rejection and abandonment issues grew. Dad was away a lot, too.

At about 17, I started drinking and then found marijuana, speed and acid. I felt connected with drugs. I liked the feeling of being numb. I didn’t really like feeling anything – even happiness. Being drunk or high took everything away. I fitted into the drug circle – I had finally found some connections.

I think my ‘rock bottom’ lasted a few years. Now that I look back, I realise it was really bad. I felt that I didn’t want to be on the earth anymore and I was making plans. Then I had a little moment of clarity. I think my dad rang me, and straight after that I got a doctor’s appointment.

The next day I was in the Salvos detox in Brisbane. Then later I was moved to the Salvos Townsville Recovery Services Centre.

Going through rehab was the hardest thing I ever had to do. It was the hardest, but the best as well. I couldn’t even begin to list what I’ve learned – there is so much – but I think the best thing I learned is that I deserve to be alive. I deserve happiness and love. I’m not worthless!

I had done an apprenticeship and became a qualified mechanic for about two-and-a-half years before I went into rehab. I now work part-time as a mechanic and am also concentrating on my recovery. I am just over two years ‘clean’ (drug-free). It is one day at a time.

I love hiking, so I want to get into multi-day hikes. I love nature and the environment, so I want to get out and do as many hikes as I can. I want to go camping. I also want to support others in the future through their recovery – I want to give back what I have received. Without this support, I think I would be dead. I had no hope.

I’m living proof that care and support can change a life. The [Salvos] people I met in the rehab, at the Salvos church and recovery centre – every single person I met – welcomed me with open arms. It literally creates great hope. It has a ripple effect, too. Once you meet great people like that, you feel better about yourself. Then you can help make other people feel better.


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