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Honoured friends partner to restore pride

20 December 2016

Honoured friends partner to restore pride

“Money bequeathed to The Salvation Army by Honoured Friends means capacity to deliver essential services to those Australians putting their hand up for treatment for addiction." – Craig Stephens

The consequences of addiction can be devastating – not only for the individual, but also for families and communities.

For Mitch, the impact of his addiction to the drug “ice” was homelessness and isolation.

“I was so ashamed of where I got to and who I was becoming, that I didn’t even want to talk to my own family,” he says.

“They never turned their backs on me; they were always there, but I wasn't there. I wasn't there as a son, a brother, a family member and not even a member of society – I was just this shell of a person.

“I remember waking up one morning in the middle of winter, homeless. It was freezing cold, pouring down rain. I thought: ‘If I don’t get help, if I don’t do something, I’m going to die’.”

Undoing the damage

Every year, across Australia, around 3600 people are treated in eight Salvation Army residential service centres known as “therapeutic communities”.

Dooralong Transformation Centre on the NSW Central Coast is the largest in Australasia, with over 70 staff and up to 140 participants.

At the forefront of empowering people to overcome addiction was Dooralong’s former centre manager, Craig Stephens. He cites generous bequests and donations from Honoured Friends – those who have chosen to leave a gift in their Will to The Salvation Army – as essential to running the service and creating lasting change in the lives of individuals and their families, and in the wider community.

“Illicit drugs are a blight on our communities and, remarkably, most addicts want to give up – they just need treatment to help them,” he says.

“Research indicates that the longer someone is retained in treatment, the better their recovery from addiction. And our retention rates in treatment are at an all-time high. This means more people are finding freedom from addiction than ever before.”

After “living in darkness” for 13 years, Mitch entered Dooralong and completed the award-winning Bridge Program.

New life

“We are committed to helping even those that other organisations won’t accept into their programs, and this often results in the most breathtaking transformations in the most broken of lives,” says Craig.

Mitch is testament to this. Having begun his recovery journey to save himself, he was thrilled to have deeply reconnected with his family. Remembering the pride he saw in his parents’ and brothers’ eyes, Mitch smiles and says: “You just can’t put a price on that.”

By Naomi Singlehurst

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