At the age of twelve I started drinking. I thought I knew it all and the world was at my feet. As I got into my teens I experimented further with other drugs and started doing criminal activities.
I had a serious motor vehicle accident at fifteen and received a compensation payment several years later.
I didn’t think that I was addicted to anything , I didn’t listen to what was being said to me from people who cared about me and soon I separated from my family.
I tried numerous times to stop, but just kept doing circles. It wasn’t until I started suffering from anxiety, paranoia and depression that I knew I had a big problem.
I was looking at prison and ultimately death and I was so sick of my life, I sought out my mum and sisters for support, this time I was serious about wanting to change.
I decided to commence a rehabilitation program at Missiondale. It was hard, very hard, but I persisted and made a promise to myself never to give up.
It wasn’t until I opened up, took off the masks and faced my personal issues that I noticed real change starting to take place in my life. Being mindful of this helped me greatly with anxiety even though it took a while to get my medication sorted out. Group therapy, Work therapy and support from staff and residents provided important keys to my recovery .
I have become a Christian. Seeking a higher power has enabled me to find faith, hope, trust and self-worth, I now have His inner voice guiding me, I know I belong and am accepted because I know that Jesus died for me.
I am proud of my achievements so far, Missiondale is home for now, I am grateful for the program here.
I feel I have grown and matured so much, I feel free, I am me.
Patricia came to Family Services quite distressed because her car needed repairs before the Police would let it back on the road. She needed her car in order to keep her part time job. She was feeling depressed and wanted to change her life to make it better for her and her children.
A Family Services counsellor was able to help Patricia put food on the family table and money in the electricity meter while her pay went towards her vehicle repairs.
During the counselling session, Patricia showed an interest in being involved with a local church. The counsellor was able to refer her to a church in her area and put her in contact with some members of the church to help her integrate into a new community of friends.
Ben came to our Crisis Accommodation Unit after being forced from his public housing unit. He was a target of local youths who would vandalise his property and harass and abuse him to the point where he became depressed. He had waited some time for Housing Tasmania to organise relocation, but due to the high demand on properties, he came to our service at near breaking point.
After some time in the Crisis Unit, he was made aware of debt brought about by his hasty departure from the unit. He dealt with this debt promptly and was relocated to a longer term unit in our service. He engaged in a number of support programs, regularly attended AA meetings and became a volunteer, working from our head quarters in Frederick Street.
After 9 months of accommodation and other assistance, and nearly debt free, he was offered a unit by Housing Tasmania.
On leaving, he made staff aware of the positive influence they had on his life. He was thankful, not just for a place to stay, but also for the support and encouragement he was given. Ben was able to get through the hardship and emerge, not just able to help himself, but wanting to help others too, which he continues to do.
We first saw “Bob” in December of 2007 and at this point he was starting to show signs of damage from heavy alcohol use although no more than a lot of other clients in the same position.
It was when he was referred to us in January of ‘09 that we feared that he had gone to far down that road for us to ever get him back. Bob was unable to maintain the thread of a conversation, he could not make sentences that were more than a few words long, he was not eating and he was not able to understand the simplest of instructions. It was at this point that we decided that we had to keep him and help him in any way we could.
Bob was not with us for long when he fell into, what was later diagnosed as a Korsakoff’s psychosis. He was taken to the Spencer clinic in Burnie where he was diagnosed with Korsakoff’s syndrome. This condition is associated with large gaps in the memory, inability to take on new information and is almost always permanent. Obviously somebody in this condition was not suitable for the Missiondale Program so what do we do?
We decided that the best option for Bob was to refer him to somewhere that could help him to live as independent and active a life as possible until eventually he passed away as that was the ultimate prognosis. Unfortunately we were unable to achieve this as there was no one in Tasmania willing to take him on. While we tried a number of options for Bob no suitable avenue was found. We tried a transitioning program with Nexus House but Bob wasn’t keen to go to live at Nexus and that’s when we realized that he had been with us for so long that he didn’t want to leave and start again somewhere else. Finally we were forced to tell him that if he wanted to stay on with the Mission he would have to eventually go to Nexus House. Within a few days of this conversation, Bob said that he wanted to leave and go get a drink. We were gutted! Bob had been with us for a year and it was Christmas Eve!! Ultimately we had to let him go. We couldn’t make him stay and there were no other options. Bob left on the 24th of December 2009 and spent Christmas with the Pokies at a hotel in Burnie.
Eventually Bob got a bed at the Burnie Lodge and although this was not ideal because he could still have a drink it was better than sleeping on the beach. Over time Bob was picked up and Case Managed by the Salvation Army Bridge Program in Burnie and he started to go along to their groups. As time went on Bob continued to improve.
A couple of times Bob was sent back to us for either Place of Safety, Sober Up or Time Out, never for as long as before but he was always open to coming in to visit us for a short stay and we never failed to be amazed at the differences in Bob. He could converse on a normal level and his memory for sports and “Home and Away” was nothing short of miraculous.
Finally about a year ago Bob decided, with help, to take the next step and apply for Missiondale. He came to us for a few weeks so we could assess his readiness and soon moved down to Evandale.
Currently Bob is back with us for a while as he had a slip up in his journey but he is due to go back at the end of this month to continue his recovery.
Bob’s story shows there is always hope and we should never give up. They may not always adhere to our expectations or achieve the goals that we think they should achieve, when we expect that they should achieve them but is that about them or about us? Our task is to remain people centered and strive to help our clients to achieve the goals they have set for themselves.