I learnt at a very young age to look after myself

My story started when I was six years old, my parents broke up and I went to live with my father and my brother went to live with my mother. I and my father did it tough. I learnt at a very young age to look after myself, as my father was at work a lot. Then came the day my life changed.

My old man met another woman and she moved in with her two kids. At first this was good; she helped look after me by taking me to school, feeding me and helping me with my school work. Then after about a month or two of this the abuse started, at first it was just verbal abuse, putting me down making me feel less. Then I started to stick up for myself and the physical abuse started. By the end of this I was beaten on a daily basis.

Then, when I was about 14, the night after my birthday she went to hit me like she had 1 million times before, but this time was different, I retaliated and fought back. I went into a blind rage and ended up smashing her head on the concrete step. I ended up in juvenile detention for six months. This was probably the turning point in my life. In detention I learnt to not let anyone get to know anything about me, as they would use it against me. I learnt how to defend myself and I got comfortable hiding behind a front of “the angry guy who will bash you if you piss him off”. When I got out of juvenile detention, life was okay, I started my apprenticeship as a plumber and life at home was good. Dad was still struggling but it was good to be back home so I could help him out.

By the age of 16 I was hanging out with a bad group of people who were manufacturing the drug “Ice”. At the time I had no interest in taking drugs, but I liked the lifestyle and the money it was bringing in. The boys taught me how to deal and then progressed into teaching me how to cook the drug. By 18 I was working during the day and at night cooking and dealing drugs. Then came the day where I decided to try “Ice” and I instantly loved it. I loved the rush it gave me, I loved how everything became clear, but most importantly, I loved how it took the pain of my childhood away. The problem was the drug didn’t love me, I turned into a monster when I was on it, I didn’t care if I lived or died. I was very explosive, one minute I was your best mate, next minute I was bashing you.

After nine months of cooking ice I had a moment of clarity and realised if I keep cooking I was going to die an early death, as in this nine months I had been stabbed twice and on four different occasions had guns held to my head. So I stopped cooking, but this made me have a bigger problem I couldn’t afford the amount of ice I needed to function. After a few months of struggling, I got introduced into the underground street fighting circuit in Melbourne. This is where my life really turned to shit. I was getting my head punched in on a weekly basis, but for $5000 per fight I didn’t care and a sick part of me enjoyed the pain and the fact it was keeping my habit going.

By the age of 23 I found myself one night laying on my couch with my face looking like a punching bag, drifting in and out of sleep paralysis, crying my eyes out in a very depressed state and decided that I would end it all. I grabbed a Stanley knife and cut my throat, this obviously didn’t work I went to hospital and got myself stitched up and drove straight up to my dad’s. I sat down with him and my new stepmother and asked for help that night. I was checked into a rehab in Melbourne, this is where my recovery started.

I went into that rehab a very broken man full of anger and had more fronts than Myers. I was in that rehab for three weeks and got punted for being “a perceived threat”. That’s when I came to WHOS.

I’ve been in WHOS for five months now and I am a completely different person. I have found who I am, not what I had to be to survive. These days I am a happy easy going person who wears my heart of my sleeve and I care about people. I don’t need to have fronts to hide behind, this program has taught me that the drugs aren’t the problem, I am the problem and in order for me to stay clean I need to deal with the problems inside of me. I need to sit with my feelings good or bad. I need to be honest with not only others but myself. I need to be transparent and not hide anything and most importantly I need to be open minded to everything. Today I am the happiest I have ever been I still have a lot of work to do but the results are already showing for me.