I first heard about Teen Challenge 5 years ago, but I did not really care too much about my lifestyle at that point, so I took no interest. At the age of 10 my mum could not handle me anymore so she dropped me off at my Dads house. I felt like my Dad only took me in because he had to like he had no choice. My first experience of alcohol was when I was 10. My Dad gave me a beer. I think that he felt it was the only way to bond with me. I spent the next few years moving between my Dad and my Mum because neither of them could control me for very long.
When my parents split up, I was quite young. I remember my Grandad saying to me, You’re the man of the house now. I have always wanted to protect my family, and my sister in particular, so these words put a lot of pressure on me. As I already had anger problems this made things worse. My Grandads words fired me up in the wrong way. I did not fully understand what that meant, so I made up my own definition.
The moving backwards and forwards went on for about 6 years before I finally got my own place. It was about this time that I heard about TC but, like I mentioned, I did not care for it. I knew I needed to get myself together but I wanted to do it by myself. I had actually moved out to get away from friends and drugs. I remember a point when I was crying out to someone, I’m sick of this anger. I can’t help it! I now know that this was God that I was crying out to.
I had moved to Whyalla from my hometown of Kadina for a relationship, but this soon went through a breakdown. This shook me a fair bit and led to things going downhill fast. This was about the time I started using methamphetamines. I met another girl and moved in with her straight away. Within a few weeks she got pregnant and I was actually really excited about having a kid. Soon after that she lost the baby, which put quite a strain on the relationship so I was forced to move out. I was then homeless. I tried to live with my Dad but the dynamics did not work, it lasted about 2 days.
After a big night out, I fell and injured myself and was out for 6 weeks. I was couch surfing with some people that I met. They suffered from schizophrenia and were heavy drug users. It was a really hard time for me; I was still quite hurt from my first breakup and trying to deal with all these things inside. My mental health was not doing too well itself. I was in such a way that I looked at my housemates and found their mental health issues appealing, compared to what I was going through.
Not long after this I found myself completely homeless. I lived on the streets for a couple of days, finding a place wherever I could. I got directed to a homeless men’s shelter that was willing to take me. I lived there for 2 weeks and then got moved to the U25 shelter where I stayed for 3 months. I was still using drugs during this period. It was during this time that I had the beginnings of my wake up. While I was living there I ingested some bad drugs that poisoned me. I was so desperate for my hit that I did not question why the drugs were so cheap. I found out later that they were laced with rat poison.
I then moved into a place in Gawler where my neighbour was a bikie, with another living across the road. I lived there for 3 months, and after getting into few fights with my neighbours, I was approached by my Mum. She said, You need Teen Challenge. It was at this point that I agreed to an interview.
I came into Teen Challenge after finally realising and acknowledging that I needed help. I knew it was a Christian rehab, but I thought it was the only rehab around so I just came in to get off the drugs. I planned to push Christianity aside, finish the program and move on. I came into the program an absolute mess. I was skinny, had no colour in my face, no cheeks and I was very bony. I was also heavily medicated. I also had epilepsy and had been diagnosed with Bi Polar, but I have since been healed from both!
The first month was tough, I struggled so much. I was such an angry child growing up so having to learn to live with so many different personalities in the program was hard. Not only that, I had lived my whole life doing things my own way! All of a sudden I was learning how to respect people and come under authority.
My anger almost got me thrown out of the program. I was given a hard word from one of my leaders which really got me thinking. I had this revelation that if I kept this up I was never going to finish the program. I knew what I had to do. I had to try and read the Bible. I had never read the Bible before so I did not know where to start, and I really could not understand it at all. So I spoke to Graham and Rangi and they pointed me to a DVD. I watched it, and then decided to get baptised. This came out of nowhere as the DVD was not even about baptism! It was just this feeling I had to die to my old life, and make the decision to live for Jesus.
After that I resolved to read the Word, even when I did not feel like it. I read it and God literally started changing my mind and my health. I think it was about 2 months into the program that God gave me a Word. I held onto it for the remainder of my stay in the rehab. It was John 15:4 Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. I felt God say, Kieran, a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless YOU remain in Me.
It was only by the power and strength of God that I made it through. God was the ONLY reason why I was able to finish the program. If it was not for the love Jesus has for me I would be dead in my sin and on the road to hell.
I have now finished the re-entry phase, but it has not been an easy journey. At one point in my re-entry phase I hit a wall and was so close to giving up, but I managed to push through it. It was the longest and most painful week I have had in my Christian walk. The only verse that kept me going was Isaiah 40:31 but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.
After these trials hit me, God gave me such a love for His Word and such a passion to get to know Him. The Word of God says He gives you the desires of your heart. He has given me such a desire to draw closer to Him.
I am now volunteering with Teen Challenge, helping out at the rehab and wherever else I can. Any opportunity God gives me I will take. I have found an amazing hope in Jesus and I wish to do all I can to serve Him. God planted me in Teen Challenge so my heart is in Teen Challenge.