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Recovery Stories

Residents playing 10 bin bowling


(Us bowling – as if you couldn’t figure it out)




I loved using ice and GHB but they ended up destroying my life.


I’d be partying and up for 6 days on ice and I’d use GHB to put me back up instead of coming down. I’d drive and be unconscious at the wheel—I almost hit a couple of trucks—and people would raid my mates’ houses and steal everything. I was sick of it. One time I went all the way to the Mornington Peninsula to pick up and got stuck there for four days, I shredded one of my tyres and went to a 7/11 to get them to pump it up, I was loopy, and I sat in my car for ages wishing I could get out of the situation. I threw my drugs out of the car. I didn’t care. I smashed my pipe. I was done. I told a woman I needed to get home and she gave me her myki. My parents said they’d help if I did what they said.

I went to a rehab for 3 months and the manager told me about SHARC (Recovery Support Services). She said I would get to do a day program and spend time with people my own age. My parents said to go with your heart.

I’ve been here for 6 months so I’ve been off drugs for 9 months and I’ve learned about relapse and new ways to live; I’ve learned to cook and help out with other people. I want to give back and tell new people what it’s like to not use drugs, I feel better about myself when I do this. I went on a hike over Mount Bogong and found out I’m stronger than I thought and I experienced the peace of the mountains and bush. It made me want to become an outdoor educator.

But the main thing is I’m not using drugs which is a miracle; this is my first recovery.


I had to stop having unrealistic expectations about myself.


I’ve been at RSS for 17 months and I’m working part time and getting ready to leave.

I guess I finally realised that I needed to be at RSS when I learned that all my expectations about where I should be, and who I should be, were making things worse. I learned that my life travels better when I accept myself and stuff as it is. I relapsed after 9 months in the program because I wasn’t being honest and didn’t fully follow the program and was lucky enough that the staff took me back.

I used drugs, called up the staff and came in to the office and they said I had to go back to my parents so I used for a bit more. But I stayed in contact with people who weren’t using and it looked like their lives were changing; they were going to school and getting jobs and I wanted that too. So having faith that I could do these things, I learned to stop having unrealistic expectations about me and my situation and do something about my low self-esteem, and when I worked through these things, other people were saying they saw changes in me that I couldn’t see.

Having other people in recovery to support me and encourage me was really important, I didn’t feel so alone and was able to accept my life just as it was, while believing that things could get better because I had proof in other people.


The reason I had to do something about my using was that I died.


I was found dead on the nature strip a few houses up from my parents’. I tore my family to pieces emotionally and divided them against each other, they ended up putting security cameras around their house to make sure I didn’t go around when they weren’t there. I was so broke internally.

I’ve been clean 9 months this week, I had a relapse but I’ve been around recovery and RSS now for about 20 months and the best thing is that I have relationships again with people who love me, it’s amazing to have some self-worth too. I put myself in healthy environments, have healthy relationships with people with the same goals as me and I’m open to getting support. I’m actually proud to be me.

I’m working again and there’s nothing in my life worth complaining about except when I get the flu.


I had to develop a new group of friends


It look a while before I felt I really belonged in RSS. I stayed away from everyone, I’d speak to a few of the other residents when I had to and then go home. Then one of the other girls invited me to her place and we had a few sleep-overs and stuff like that, she totally guided me and when I was against doing parts of the program she’d put a positive light on things. She’d been here for 8 months and I followed in her footsteps.

After a few months a new girl came in and we just clicked and then I had two friends who lifted me out of a bad place. After a few months I found the misery going out of my life; I’ll never forget how horrible it was.

I’d always had people around but when I stopped using I lost my old friends. I had to develop a new group of friends, without these new people I don’t think I’d be clean and have the life I have.  


Having friends is massive.


I realised that recovery only happens when you want it.

In full-on rehab you get followed around and you can’t go to the bathroom without putting your hand up; sometimes I still feel that there are cameras watching me I got so used to it and I’ve never been happy about being forced to do stuff, even if it’s good for me.  I finally decided I wanted recovery when I was homeless, living in my car, couldn’t go to my family home because they didn’t want to see me. Even my friends kicked me out of their places. I ended up lonely and crying in my car and all I knew to do was use. I was so isolated and lonely. I wanted independence and I also needed support from other people. That’s what SHARC gives me.

Having friends is massive. SHARC allows me to run most of my life and make a lot of my own decisions, good decisions. I’ve been here for two months and it’s working out.


More recovery stories coming soon …


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