Things can be a struggle, but ultimately, all of us have…

Something to offer

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By Michael

I was born in Lebanon and came to Australia with my family when I was very young in the early 70’s. I did all my schooling in Australia, completing year ten. My dad was a good man but also a very strict and one day after staying out too late at the youth centre I decided that I couldn’t go back home and ran away because I was scared of what my father would do to me when I got home.

I lived on the streets for the next two years, couch surfing with friends when I could. Life was hell. For the first time I was exposed to using drugs.

Eventually I decided that I couldn’t live on the streets anymore: I had run out of options and moved back home with Mum and Dad.

Dad and I didn’t see eye to eye especially with some of the choices that I had made. I started to go to Technical School but with what was happening at home between me and dad it didn’t work out.

[She] won $2,000,000. That was when my life really started to fall apart.

When I was 17 I decided to move to Melbourne with my girlfriend, living in Frankston until I was 21. I had good jobs in Melbourne doing factory work at Don Smallgoods and Nylex.
My girlfriend at the time and I split up and my parents had just moved to Bankstown after buying a small retail business so I came back to Sydney to live with my parents again.
During this time I met my ex-partner who became the mother of my children.

In 1998 my ex- partner won $2,000,000. This was when my life really started to fall apart. I got stuck into the drugs (Heroin) and with my share of the money my ex-partner had won I was able to support my Heroin habit for the next three or four years. Once the money ran out though, I was forced to turn to crime to fund my addiction.

I made some bad choices and when the traffic offences and other misdemeanours started to pile up the magistrate put me in gaol.

Over the last fifteen years life has been tough. My drug habit has led to my family being torn apart by DOCS who stopped me from living in the same house as my children. The Heroin use also led me to continue a life of crime to feed my habit, lengthy periods of homelessness and further bouts in gaol. Eventually I was put on the methadone program but still used cocaine when the opportunity came up. Five or six years ago I was diagnosed with Schizophrenia and have been scheduled into Banks House many times over the years because of my behaviour.

Life on the street when you are homeless is very hard. Constantly looking for somewhere to sleep, something to eat, scavenging for whatever you can get, it’s all about survival and sometimes survival means you may come in contact with the law.

That was until last year when my friend Sam told me about Partners in Recovery (PIR). Sam told me that PIR were helping him and that they would be able to help me. So I went and put my name down.

PIR have continued to support me through the tough times. I didn’t know anything about refuges, temporary accommodation properties (TAP’s) or what else was available to support me but they did. They were able to get housing to help me with motel accommodation when I needed it even though I had used my quota. They got me into a refuge at Liverpool with my own room and then into a TAP’s property when my time at the refuge had run out.

PIR listened to me, to what I needed, they didn’t judge me for what I had done in the past. They just wanted to help me find a house to live in and find some stability in my life.

PIR helped me learn that I had to do my part, I had to prove to people that I could maintain a property and pay my bills. I am now in a brand new unit that I plan on keeping immaculate. “It’s totally mad” that I have gone from being homeless for so long to living in this place where everything is brand new.

If you ever want help from Partners In Recovery I can highly recommend it, with their support I feel I am finally in control of my life, something that I haven’t felt for a very long time.

I am still working on my goals with PIR’s support. My next big goal is to start seeing my kids. I am ready to be a Father, I have a home, I have stability, I want my kids to know who their dad is. I am going to do it the right way through Legal Aid and Docs. I know it will take time but I don’t want to do anything that jeopardizes my future with them. Without PIR’s support I don’t think I would have got to this point, to the point where I have something to offer my children.

Flourish Australia
Partners in Recovery
Bankstown
Unit 4, 432 Chapel Road
Bankstown NSW 2000
9393 9230

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