Darren’s story

The turning point

After finishing the Living Free program, Darren is now giving back as an intern. Here is his story …

I often hear stories of how people’s horrible childhoods and home lives were what got them into drugs. I can’t say the same for me. I came from a loving, caring and stable middle-class family. I just liked getting high.

My childhood was great until in my early teens I discovered drugs. I started with weed and alcohol, then pills and cocaine.

Then around I found meth. It started out great. I worked full time, I had the money to support my habit and I used on weekends.

After celebrating a good friend’s 21st with a group of mates, my friends and I got in a car crash. We hit a stobie pole doing around 100 kilometres an hour. The driver died, and the other passenger and I survived.

Life after the accident got no better. I eventually lost my job, and with a car loan and credit card to pay, I filed for bankruptcy at 22, thinking life couldn’t get any worse than this. But it did, and my life spiralled further out of control.

After a suicide attempt, I spent some time in a program, which I found helpful.
I settled down, found full-time employment and got engaged.

Life was good again. I still kept my drug habit, which I thought was keeping me sane. But my fiancée left, and so did my drug habit for a year or so. I drank to help with the guilt, but when that didn’t work, I went back to drugs.

This time it was no longer just a habit – it was an out of control addiction. I chose my addiction over my employment. I had become a horrible person. I went from supporting my new partner and her son to only supporting my drug habit.

I started dealing drugs in an attempt to provide, but this only brought more problems. My moods were uncontrollable and violent, and my partner eventually asked me to leave. This was a few years ago, and I was living out of my car.

I had more drugs than I could use and more money than I could spend.
I spent my days dealing and my nights gambling, until one fateful night a couple of years ago. I was arrested and charged with trafficking, and I faced a lengthy jail sentence interstate.

I believe this was when God took control of my life. It wasn’t an audible cry for help but more of a spiritual scream for help. I had always believed and known who Jesus was, but I never fully understood his love, grace and mercy until he showed his love for me. In 2017, he delivered me from prison and led me to rehab at Teen Challenge SA.

I completed the 12-month program, and I am currently studying a Certificate IV in Mental Health. I have begun an internship with Teen Challenge SA in the hope that with God’s help it will give me the skills and knowledge to help others.