It was a double-serving of grief that sent Nick, a 34-year-old electrician, into a place of self-destruction.
In 2013 he lost his father to suicide and his mother in 2016 to a shock traffic accident.
Nick started drinking in his mid-teens and later added prescription drugs and party drugs to the mix. But the tragic deaths exacerbated his use to a point where he no longer had any control.
“The Buttery’s Therapeutic Community saved my life,” Nick said.
“I was in a bad state for quite a long time. I had seen a lot of drug counsellors and therapists, but I couldn’t stop. I couldn’t put it down. I thought I was destined to a life of drug addiction.
“I was at a detox in Sydney when one of the nurses said put my name down for the Therapeutic Community.
“I had no idea how to grieve the loss of my parents without the use of drugs. I also isolated myself from a young age which has led me down a path of loneliness and despair. But since living in the Therapeutic Community, the people in my life now are very dear to me. I’ve found out how important friendship is in my life. For me, connection is the opposite of addiction.
“I have found that the only way to move through grief is to feel it and talk about it. It’s an ongoing process. To me grief seems to come up when I don’t expect it, so I work on being in a good head-space and to have connection in my life so if I have bouts of grief come up I can move through it. That’s why it is so important for me to be in a safe environment free of substances.”
Recently Nick returned to The Buttery as a guest speaker to give help and advice to those currently in the residential program.
“It’s been an important part of my recovery to help those come after me and to send the message that recovery is absolutely doable. It can get quite difficult being shown why we use drugs and working through those difficult feelings which we have numbed for so long. Every day that we are clean is one more step forward to a new sober life.
“I used to hold everything in. I was a closed book. But it stopped me from moving though. My life now is mostly recovery-based. I keep fit and healthy and spend a lot of time with friends.
“I strongly believe The Buttery saved my life. I receive ongoing treatment through the Twelve Step Fellowship which keeps me alive.”
For more information, phone The Buttery on (02) 6687 1111.
The Buttery’s Therapeutic Community Program is funded by the NSW Ministry of Health.