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START Success Stories

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Success Stories

Recovery from addiction

Annalise's success story

"I've been an addict for approximately 40 years. Obviously I have seen a lot of counsellors and been to a lot of rehabs.

Dean and Eddie have created a safe space where addicts and placement students can come and learn tools and find acceptance. Here we are taught that connection, community and purpose are the opposites of addiction, I've found this to be true.

We are a diverse group of people coming together to grow and become confident, active and effective members of our community."

Kerin's success story

"I came across the start program while I was having my first serious craving for ice after being off that drug for 4 months. My life had come falling down around me. I had been evicted from my house as I was unable to maintain the property. My children had been removed from my care by DHHS, my family and friends had wiped me from their lives as i had caused so  much hurt and destruction during my 8 years in active addiction.

I knew I couldn't go back to the drugs, I had to get clean and stay clean in order to turn my life around and get my children back into my care. Making the phone call to the start program was scary as it meant i was admitting I was an addict and I needed help. But as soon as I spoke to Dean about the program I felt at ease. My first day at start was a bit of a blur but the community at start me feel welcome and it was the first time/place I didn't feel judged. 

I have been a member of the start community for a few months now and it honestly had helped me get  my life back on track. Through the program I have learnt how to manage my anger so I no longer explode at family and friends. I have learnt so much about myself, while I am the way I am, why i'm and addict and others aren't. I have found a new way of life with the help from the team at start, even through relapse on other drugs, the community helped me get into detox to clean myself up again. During my journey at start and with the help of their team, I now have a house again, I can manage the simple tasks in a day to day life that I wasn't able to do when I first walked through the doors. With the help of the program and peer supports and aod counselling I will have my children home by Christmas.

Through this program I have made my first lot of sober friends who want a better life than the drug world life that we once lived and repaired friendships and relationships with family. The Start program along with the help and support from their community I have turned my life around and I now have the tools and new learnt skills to take life on life's terms. I recommend this program to anyone I come across, as the start program has saved my life, turned my life around for the better, I cannot thank the team at start enough for the help and support during my darkest of days and now look forward to a very bright clean future."

Dean McWhinney

"A ONE-year-old drug treatment program in Berwick is working to help people without the long waiting lists.

The Berwick Salvation Army’s START program offers a non-religious day program of counselling, group work, and recreation such as art therapy.

Program manager Dean McWhinney, 38, co-ordinates the program and said for most people, drug and alcohol abuse were almost always the symptom of a deep personal crisis".... START program manager uses own experience to help others

Leean's success story-freedom from addiction

"Getting involved with the START program is one of the best things I have ever done for myself.

To be a member of such a loving supporting community is a huge blessing and it has honestly changed my life. I still have a long way to go, but the friendships and supports I've developed in this fellowship are incredible. To be able to open up and share with people who are going through the same thing and battling through addiction has opened my mind to accepting help and reaching out with no judgment. The students and volunteers there are amazing. Not to mention our phenomenal mentors Dean and Eddie, who are there to run the majority of the program and there anytime for assistance or a chat for support.

I never realised people like these existed. Hugely inspirational, caring and 100% helpful."

Dean's success story

"I walked through the doors at START lost, isolated, disconnected, physically and mentally drained with 33 years of drug addiction.

Thanks to the support of the START program I have now made changes that I never thought possible in rebuilding and transforming my life, reconnecting with family and friends and finding purpose.

Such a diverse course with some NA based approaches, personal development, group discussions, one-on-one sessions and many other tools that are teaching me to cope with life. I am now on the road to recovery. Thanks to all the facilitators especially Dean and Eddie."

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