37 years of age and sitting in the cells after I had been arrested for drink driving and assaulting police. I was thinking over and over “What have I done? How do I tell my boss what has happened?” Knowing I may lose my job as a Director with a job that gave me purpose and direction, and I loved doing because I loved helping my people.
Turning back the clock 6 months earlier I had lost my Nan. I loved my Nan. I sat by her beside while she took her last breath because I promised her she wouldn’t die alone. I loved her with all my heart. I found it difficult to adjust – I threw myself back into my job and started travelling all over the state. I would find myself sitting on a plane with tears in my eyes and saying “wake up to yourself – stop crying and ignore these feelings”. I suppressed these feelings with binge drinking and drugs on the weekends with mates. Because that’s what we do – men don’t talk or deal with their feelings, they mask it with drugs and alcohol.
3 months later we got a call to say no one had seen my cousin for a couple of days so we jumped in the car and drove to her house. The neighbours were all out the front and said there was maybe a window at the back open, so I climbed through the back window and yelled out her name a few times. I was hoping she wasn’t there but something inside was telling me she was. As I walked to her bedroom she was laying on the bed. It looked like she was asleep but I knew she was gone. It took me a long time to push those images out of my head because I every time I closed my eyes at night I could see her laying on the bed.
My cousin and I were thick as thieves growing up but I had pushed her away. I had hated her was using my nan to feed her drug habit. I was still struggling with my Nan’s death and now my cousin’s death but also driving myself back into work because the organisation had me going above and beyond. I wasn’t dealing with any of the grief or the depression I was feeling. I was slowly being dragged down.
Fast forward to my arrest. I spoke to my barrister and he suggested I do something about my binge drinking to stay out of jail. I took a good look at myself and knew that the only time I had ever got myself into trouble is when I had been binge drinking I always thought it was something I can control but really it controls you. I spoke to my boss and I enrolled in a traffic offenders program and had counselling every week. I then made a call to The Glen and spoke to Uncle Glen, who I knew through boxing, and asked for help. I was apprehensive and a little scared about it – would I make it through the 3 months?
The Glen program helped me heal. It helped me to take time to love myself again. It helped me to connect with my Culture through dance and understand people I would have otherwise looked down on because society says people that take drugs daily are junkies and people that drink too much are alcoholics or bums and they are no good.
The Glen offers a place where you can get help and be reborn again. You are accepted for the mistakes you have made and not judged. One thing I learnt in The Glen is some people can do things in moderation and there are some people that can’t at all and I am one of those people that can’t and it took me a long time to accept it.
I have been 2.5 years clean now and work full time again. I may not be the centre of attention at a party or pub anymore because I’m not the drunkest, making a fool of myself and embarrassing myself and loved ones. But I’m ok with that – I don’t want to drive people away from me. I want to have more people around me. Every day is a new day and being clean and sober takes time but I’m happy with the life I have chosen. I may still get things wrong in relationships with loved ones and make mistakes from time to time but I don’t turn to the bottle for answers anymore.