My first contact with this treatment community...

My first contact with this treatment community was when my counsellor at the time told me about it. I went into a drug withdrawal house in 1998. At first it was very daunting. I was close-minded to the benefits of natural therapies.

But through the strong support of the workers and fellow residents, I was open to trying them myself. 

And I found they helped.

The holistic approach and the fact that the staff were all non-judgemental was very helpful in completing my detox.

At that time drugs controlled my life and the program was able to provide me with a place to get clean and think about the reasons I used.

I soon discovered that with a renewed sense of well-being, I began to feel BULLET PROOF. But I left the program too soon. While there were no drugs in my system, I was still laden with emotional baggage. This brought me back into my old habits.

While it took me a little longer than I had hoped and through intermittent but continued support, I managed to return to the program.

The staff were very supportive in helping me find alternate ways of changing my behaviour patterns and dealing with my life differently once I had left the detox.Supported Accommodation:

I have been in supported accommodation three times and I am currently a part of one now.

My experience in this program has been and is positive. I really appreciated the workers, who are all very supportive.

I feel I am not judged, and my decisions are listened to and respected. The workers offer me advice, within my decision making process, without dictating a direction I should take.

I am glad that I have been given an opportunity for cheaper accommodation.

Therapeutic community:

I spent six and a half months within a therapeutic community. The positive aspects of my stay were that I felt I was in a safe place to work on my issues, which was really important to me.

Even though the road was long and hard , I have realised that I had to become honest, open-minded and willing to change.

I really enjoyed being a part of the community and in particular found the outdoor environment wonderful and I really enjoyed working in fresh air.

It was at this time I became aware of the Recreation and Development Program. I was already involved in the Fitness Program which is facilitated by a worker that I really connected with.

This made it easy to discuss with him my involvement in outdoor activities, particularly because he acknowledged me and made me feel comfortable about doing more during my time in this community. He encouraged me to participate in activities such as caving, bushwalking, leadership training, and continues to support me.

I have always been drawn toward the outdoors, having worked in it all my life, so this was a perfect opportunity and fitted in very well with my love for the earth and nature itself.

I could not have gone down this path without the support I was given. I lacked confidence and even though at times I am still uncertain, I feel more encouraged to be involved, so much so that I have begun a Certificate 3 in Outdoor Recreation. This will assist me in finding employment in the future.

Part of my involvement in this program incorporated a wilderness trek, which I completed. For me this was one of the biggest positive events of my life. It left me with a sense of achievement, an overwhelming sense of self worth and a stronger sense of community.

When the trek began, I was anxious and filled with apprehension. As the days progressed and I coped well with the physical demands, I was able to enjoy not only the company but also the environment .

I enjoyed the views, the smell of fresh air, being out of the city, the challenge but most of all the grazing Brumby’s. Because I have worked with and grown up with horses, I have a special love for them. Seeing them in the wild was exhilarating. To see them free was special. To acknowledge the beauty of nature plucked a chord in my soul.

The image of successfully completing an activity as challenging as this, as a group, was a powerful thing for me. This activity provides a strong metaphor for my continued recovery. The skills that I have acquired will help keep me safe, strong and resilient.

It also inspired in me a desire to continue to learn and acquire more skills. But most important is the increased sense of TRUST AND RESPECT that I carry with me not only from others but also for others.

Thanks to my involvement with some of the staff, who acted as mentors for me, I now have become a mentor for a disadvantaged young person as a volunteer and also have paid employment within youth services.

I relate my position now in life, strongly within the support I was given by the program.

This confidence is something that I was lacking when I was using and I always seemed to sabotage any plans that I made and any chance I got for happiness.

I am now in the middle of completing my Certificate 4 Community Services — Youth Work and will be leaving Supported Accommodation in about two months to live in my own accommodation.

This is a very exciting time in my life and through gaining this confidence and self respect I am achieving goals that when I was using I never thought possible.

Now my future looks bright, positive and best of all my goals are attainable.