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Brett's Freedom Story

28 March 2012

Brett's Freedom Story

I went into to Canberra Recovery Services Centre (CRS) on 5th of October, 2011.  At the time, I knew I was an alcoholic and basically that was it. I didn’t understand that it’s like an illness of the mind. What I now understand is that I was medicating myself with alcohol.

I didn’t start drinking until I was about 23, but I soon I drank every single day of the week and I drank a hell of a lot! I am talking about a bottle of Jack Daniels and maybe a four litre cask of wine every second day. I had always felt different, worthless and that continually played like a tape recorder in my head, and I’m not alone. I have, from the recovery service and many meetings of AA, learned that this is common.

And so at first, what alcohol did for me was temporarily turn that tape off, and so for that reason, drinking became very attractive.  The moment I had my first drink I suddenly felt normal and I could sit and talk to people and feel confident – Dutch courage!

But as is definitely the case with a lot of alcoholics, the minute you sober up you feel like you have always felt all your life or worse and the more and more you drink, the more you feel you need. It’s a progressive illness.  And in the end of it the drink wasn’t working anymore and I was just slowly killing myself.

It got to the point before I entered CRS, I had given up on everything and I just pretty much just wanted to die. I was emotionally bankrupt, spiritually bankrupt and felt worthless.  I was drinking copious amounts of alcohol and making a fool of myself and that compounded the guilt, the shame and remorse around the things I was doing when I was blind drunk. I was a failure as a father and everything else.  It was such a miserable existence living in my car. I managed to hold down a job but it was only just hanging on by a thread.

Entering CRS really helped save my life because I was at a place where I didn’t want to live anymore, I had given up on life and I had given up on myself.  What The Salvation Army did was they loved -- they loved me back to a place where I could finally like myself, enough to learn to live again.

I had come to a place where I couldn’t even cope, you know, getting out of bed. I couldn’t eat, and was slowly starving from alcohol malnutrition. I even had to learn how to eat again.  Without the rehab I definitely couldn’t have done this myself. I wouldn’t have been strong enough to stay off the alcohol long enough to get mentally strong enough. I couldn’t have done it without CRS.

Today I have my kids in my life full-time and work six days a week. The Salvos helped link me into housing.
I still have problems, but what I learnt, was that everyone has problems. There are going to be hurdles and you know, I don’t have to, if there is a hurdle that’s a little bit high I don’t have to run and get a drink. I can just step back and see what other approaches that I can take and what other angles. And you know, if it’s too hard, you know, I can ask for help.  And it’s okay to ask for help.

And yeah, it is important to have places like this because you know, I am someone today and I can proudly say I am someone and I am someone that matters.  AA teaches we all have a higher power and through the Salvation Army, I believe my higher power is God.  And the relationship now that I have got with God, and it’s not just being a believer, it’s a relationship is, plays a big part in my recovery today. It is probably the foundation of my recovery.

I really don’t know how I ended up in CRS, it was just like one minute I was just a mess and the next minute I was there and I was in, and the moment I walked into the place I knew I was in good hands and it was where I had to be. I knew I had to be there and I was happy to be there.  It was a miracle!

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