I was surrounded by drugs from an early age. My father was addicted to drugs and there wasn’t many times I did not see him with a beer in hand or some other kinds of alcohol within arm’s reach. My mother worked hard to keep me and my two brothers sheltered from this behaviour, but looking back now it was clear to me that drugs were destined to become a big part of my life. I was twelve when I tried marijuana for the first time, and I loved it. For the next year I smoked it on and off but always kept it hidden from my father in fear of the repercussions if he was to find out because he could get violent and abusive at times, a hard man but a fair man.

Shortly after I turned thirteen, he passed away from cirrhosis of the liver due to his alcoholism. My mother worked seven days a week to support our small family but we always seemed to struggle. It was then that I stopped going to school and started smoking pot everyday and using amphetamines on the weekends. I grew up in a western Sydney suburb called Macquarie Fields which was predominantly housing commission flats and houses, so drugs were never hard to find.

By the age of 15 my drug use was out of control, I never saw it as a problem and didn’t plan on stopping anytime soon. The next 6 years were a blur, I went through countless jobs, relationships and acquaintances, my health had deteriorated and my mental health wasn’t any better, it was starting to become apparent that I needed to stop taking drugs but instead of stopping using I started selling drugs. This action led me further down my path of destruction. I tried numerous times to stop taking drugs on my own, I tried holidays, moving areas, and changing my circle of friends but I always failed, each time getting further into addiction. I had started doing business with some heavy criminals, and even though I knew I was dealing with the wrong type of people I didn’t care because I still had my money and drugs coming in, I didn’t know then, but it was a life changing decision to be mixing with this crowd.

One night when I was at home with my family I received a phone call, there was a man on the other side of the phone who demanded that I come outside and give him all my cash and drugs or he and the people he was with would be coming in to take it from me. I refused and ended up with a gun pointed to my head and other weapons drawn on me to intimidate me into handing my things over. After an hour of this they left with nothing, I thought it was over and I was free but this was not the case. They had somehow got all of my immediate family’s phone numbers and began threatening them and myself with our lives if I did not give them the large sum of money they wanted. They made the next few weeks of our lives a terrible experience, I knew I had stuffed up and had to do something about it but still didn’t feel I was done with drugs.

It was then my stepfather informed me of a rehabilitation program called WHOS and explained to me what they had to offer. He said he could help me but in order for him to do that I must help myself first by checking myself into the WHOS therapeutic community. I was reluctant to do so thinking that I was better than any program and that I could do things for myself. But after everything I had put my family through in the past before this time I thought I owed it to them and myself to at least give it a try. Two weeks later I had completed a seven day detox and was on my way to WHOS.

When I first arrived, I did not want to be there, I wanted to leave and use, not thinking about how my life was before I came here. I decided to give it a month, that was three months ago and I now realise it was the best decision I could have ever made. My physical and mental health is the best it has ever been and my relationship with my family is healthy and strong, my paranoia is gone and I can now look people in the eye when I talk to them and have a laugh without the aid of drugs to calm my nerves in social situations, I am starting to enjoy life for what it is and have no intentions of returning to any part of my former life. I didn’t think I would make it this far in the program and never thought I could stop taking drugs, the WHOS program has showed me this new way of life and I am forever grateful for it.

Author: atcaxo