Brendan’s Story

Drug addiction robbed me of so much of my life. It’s taken me 40 years not to fall through the cracks anymore. On June 28, 2018 I celebrated 500 days clean; I have the respect of my family and people who believe in me.

Drug addiction robbed me of so much of my life. It’s taken me 40 years not to fall through the cracks anymore. On June 28, 2018 I celebrated 500 days clean; I have the respect of my family and people who believe in me. There’s even hope of a job doing Peer work and it’s all thanks to Flourish Australia and the NDIS. Things changed when I accessed the NDIS scheme. Another service would visit four times a week to get me out in public and there were transition meetings with carers and doctors. When someone from Flourish Australia came along to a meetings and heard I’d been re-admitted repeatedly, they offered me a place in one of their houses. This place is amazing! I’ve come through another four months of detox and for the first time, I haven’t looked back. Support is available to me day and night. Without that, it’s easy to get stuck and backslide. Since being with Flourish Australia I’ve become a different person. My own mum was uncomfortable around me before. I would only call on her when I needed money or help. I’ve realised I need to treat her with respect and she’s actually proud of me. I help with her volunteer work for the homeless and we love spending time together. It feels good knowing my family aren’t stressing the way they used to. I think about the future now. I’m looking into social studies at TAFE so by the time I’m 45 I might have a good job. I’ll need to learn how to use computers which I can do for free at the library here. There’s hope I might become a Peer Worker which is a little scarey because I’ve failed at so much in life but I have people who believe in me now. I’ve given up meat because I don’t agree with the way abattoirs treat animals and Flourish Australia support that choice by helping with shopping lists and cooking. They have exercise bikes too, so I’m giving that a go to get in shape. By living more independently I’ve learned that if I want people to take me seriously, I need to make responsible choices. My pop died in debt and I won’t let that happen to me or my family. I like being able to pay for things now. I used some of the money I earned recently, for a golf membership because I always wanted to be an A grade golfer when I was young so now that’s another one of my goals. Nothing like this would have been possible for me while I was still in the old system. The thing that’s different this time is that all these opportunities have shown me how much I have to lose. I feel good about myself and I want to keep growing. I enjoy getting involved with groups at the Flourish Australia centre in Newcastle because its such a calm and relaxed place. When I meet young people who are struggling, I remind them right away that they don’t want to be sitting here at 40, going through what I’m going through. When I went through detox, it was the ex users I listened to and how I’m the person they were so I’d like to get into drug and alcohol work and be part of a lived experience advisory group where I can help others choose a better way, by sharing my story. Over the past 18 months, thanks to this place, my life is flourishing. I’m clean. I’m earning money and I’m starting to play sport again. I can be trusted and my family can depend on me. It feels so good being fully into everything which is what Flourish Australia has shown me how to do. If I had my way, everyone in the system would be on the NDIS program and out in a house supported by Flourish Australia because they’d go from hopelessness to possibility. They don’t give up on you which makes you want to keep at it. It’s just a really positive place to get well and move forward in your life.

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