Jim grew up in Canberra in the 60’s and 70’s. By his mid-teens, he had been introduced to heroin by his older brother, and spent the next few years using the substance on weekends and intermittently.
By twenty, Jim’s addiction had taken full force. He still managed to complete a degree at University, but increasingly he used dealing as a means of supporting his drug habit. He also did “runs” to Asia on occasion, and descended further into the drug lifestyle.
In the late 1980’s Jim was arrested for growing and supplying marijuana. He spent time in prison, and for the first time realised he was at the mercy of addiction. He tried to get clean at this stage, but his attempts failed him.
The next ten or so years were spent back in the ACT and on the south coast of NSW, where he used and became increasingly despondent about his prospects of recovery. He began shooting up pills on top of his pharmacotherapy treatment, felt suicidal on a daily basis, and despaired at what his life had become. “Earlier in my life I had interests — diving, chess, underwater photography, and a love of the sea and all within it. By the end of my using, I had four walls, a syringe, pharmacotherapies and pills and nothing more.”
With death a real prospect, he finally took on the suggestions of those who cared about him and decided to try a rehab once again. Jim, at 38 years of age, chose a particular rehabilitation centre he had heard from others was one of the best rehab programs around.
He entered the program and completed it from start to finish. And for the first time, Jim felt as if he had friends, a new life and some hope. “I liked it so much I didn’t want to leave! It was the first time in years I’d felt really human. I met other people and learned to communicate again. It was as if I was reborn.”
Jim is now a few years clean from all substances. He has returned to his love of the sea and is a dive master in northern NSW. Since completing the rehabilitation program he has met and faced many new challenges, both personally and professionally. He is the proud father of a newborn son and is living happily with his partner who is also a recovering addict.