How Mentis Assist help me change my life

I now know I started out in life with a disposition to be an addict and alcoholic. I was a child who strived for excellence which nearly always was a problem. I wouldn’t try things unless I was going to succeed at them. I was forever moving the goal posts so that I never felt good enough no matter how well I did. I never felt I fit in, not at school or in my family even know I desperately wanted to fit in. I also was always an emotionally sensitive and volatile child. This led the psychiatric world to label me with BPD, ADHD and anxiety and depression. I was believed to be emotionally immature and maladjusted.  

I always knew there was something wrong with me, that I was somehow damaged. I didn’t know what to do but I was determined to succeed at life and be the best version of myself I could be regardless. I pushed myself. I ran from home at 17 as it was unsafe and unsupportive, I completed yr. 11 and 12 with unstable accommodation and frequent bouts of homelessness. I went to doctors who gave me medication which I started abusing.

Without support I still strived for perfection in my life. While living in a women’s transitional house I went to university on a scholarship to study psychological studies and human resource management. When I got Distinctions, I told myself it wasn’t good enough until I got High distinctions in every subject. Of course, being an addict/ alcoholic, I was already binge drinking to excess and dabbling in drug use in fact this started when I left home at 17, although I never thought I had a problem. It was always that I was dealt a hard life and I needed it to cope, or it was my boyfriends who had the problem with drugs or drinking, never me. I was always a victim acting as if the world owed me something, I honestly believed this.

As a victim of crime, I testified against my father and sole care giver at court with the largest sexual abuse statement Victoria had ever seen.  I won and put him away for originally 18 years with 15 ½ non-parole period. He later appealed that and got a shorter sentence. I was living solely to put him away to save my sister from the same abuse I suffered once I had ran away. 

After that I dropped out of university and had many suicide attempts. Of course, I sought help throughout all this. I have seen therapists for over 8 years, done CBT, ACT and DBT. I participated in a 8 week support group and therapy with CASA. Nothing worked because I now know I wasn’t sober, I wasn’t in recovery.  Denial being one of the aspects of the disease of addiction I still didn’t know what my problem was or how to make my life better.

I gave up. Became unemployable and was in a spiral of self-destruction. I was a magnet for continual abuse and had no idea how to change my life. Then being given a DHS flat among many other DHS flats of men who were newly out of jail and almost all of them addicts or dual diagnosis. I fell further, in a vicious cycle. I tried going to church, I quit ice and just decided to use marijuana and drink alcohol. I then tried my hardest mustering all my will power to stop using drugs altogether, by this stage it was clear will power wasn’t enough. I couldn’t stop. I now knew I had a problem even know my head constantly told me many excuses and reasons why each time I used it would be different. I had an internal battle.

I searched my whole life for something to make me all right, to ‘fix’ that different dark place inside me. To make me whole to make me acceptable. Having not found it in anything I tried except drugs, that became my solution. When I was high or drunk l felt more confident, less anxious, less empty. Intoxicants seemed to help, however my solution then become my problem. Once I gave up the drugs or alcohol the pain returned, the emptiness and utter disappointment with myself, life and others returned. I had no more solutions. I had no more answers. I couldn’t live with or without drugs. I had reached my rock bottom.

I realized I had failed at the challenge of life and I wasn’t going anywhere. Me who strived for such perfection and had big goals had lost everything and now was barely existing. This is where I walked into Mentis assist in Mornington crying and begging for help. I was 26 years old, 48kg, had a cut throat, a raging ice habit and a broken wrist. 

I was given a worker and the support and help I needed. They got me into detox and into a transitional sober living house. My Partners in Recovery worker went over and above for me, he drove me out to my treatment facility which was almost 2 hours away. Most importantly they never gave up on me, not when I relapsed and not when I had given up on myself.

I know believe addiction is much more than the drugs I used. Addiction is a part of me, it is an illness that involves every area of my life, with or without drugs. That’s why I continue to use the tools I learnt in treatment facilities and 12 step meetings to continue to live in a way that allows me to stay sober. I have now felt serenity for the first time and have been given the gift of recovery.

I have been sober and clean since 8th March 2016 which is almost 3 years now. I have been living in private rental successfully for 2 years and I regularly attend 12 step meetings and reach out to those still in the grips of alcoholism or addiction who acknowledge they have a problem and want help. 

I share about myself honestly and let those recovering from addiction know that, no matter what life brings, we never have to use drugs or alcohol again. I am studying community services on a scholarship and have a 5-year plan to become a case manager. 

I am now a productive member of society, living free from all forms of abuse and finally able to heal and rebuild my life. 

Thank you to all who have helped me in my journey and thank you for taking the time to read my story.

(Name withheld)

Many Australians each day, are suffering from the effects of suicide, drugs, sexual abuse and alcohol. 

Contact Mentis Assist for recovery solutions.

For more information about mental health and the services Mentis Assist can provide or call 1300 MENTIS (1300 636 847).