Cailan’s story

The importance of family

My journey of addiction didn’t begin in the way many people perceive someone with an addiction starts. I grew up in a loving family with support, with my grandfather filling the father role in my life. So for all intents and purposes, it was a normal childhood.

I raced BMX and was very successful, but as soon as I hit my early teens, a mix of trauma and mental health issues coupled. Never making a full comeback from an injury led me to smoking marijuana for the first time, quickly followed by alcohol – both of which I found covered the mental health issues I was experiencing.

I quickly fell into addiction, which perpetuated my mental health issues. All this led to meeting like-minded individuals. By the time I was 18, I was using a variety of different drugs. All these substances took their toll, and I soon started to get admitted to hospital regularly with serious mental health concerns. It was so frequent that it became normal, and I just gave up trying to sort out my problems with counselling and therapy because I truly believed I would never make it out of that life. Things quickly went from bad to worse with that thought pattern, and it got to a point where my family was close to giving up. I had long given up. Yet it took losing the only thing I had left – family – to make me realise how far I had fallen.

Around the same point in time, I was told about Teen Challenge SA. I looked at other rehabilitation programs, but things always fell through. I feel this was God pointing me to a place where I could meet amazing people with God in their hearts who believed in me when I certainly didn’t.

Over the year, God revealed himself in ways I can’t explain, through people and circumstances. I was broken, and God took this and made me stronger than I ever could be.

Christ now lives in me, and every day I wake up with hope and love in my heart. I can only thank God and the ministry of Teen Challenge SA for this.