Leith’s story

‘My relationship with my children is being restored.’

I am a 46-year-old gentleman with dreams, hopes, health and a purpose in life. Of course, it wasn’t always this way.

Not so long ago, I was a deadbeat dad. I was unemployable, and I was a raging alcoholic. It took me 30 years to get that way and all of 6 months to admit that the end was only around the corner – the slow alcoholics’ death or the faster method by my own hand. When I realised that I preferred the suicide option, I recognised how scared I was for and of myself.

I used to be high-functioning, which, as it turns out, probably contributed significantly to my alcohol abuse and eventual loss of all hope.

I was sent to Singapore in the late 1990s to work on the construction and commissioning of an offshore oil and gas platform. I loved it – a 21-year-old guy on high wages set loose, working as an overseas expat. I married and made Thailand a home base. I flew in and out of other countries, such as Azerbaijan, Russia, South Korea, Singapore and Sweden.

I fathered two children with my Thai wife before my working life caused the end of our marriage and family. My daughters are now 18 and 15 years old. I have seen them less than 5 times in the last 13 to 14 years. I married again to an Indonesian woman and converted to the Islam faith in the process. We also had a daughter together who is now 11 years old.

I didn’t take to Islam, which inevitably caused that marriage to fail too. So, I then based myself in the Philippines, where I spent the last five years. This period saw a rapid decline in my mental health and a significant uptake in my alcohol consumption.

Travelling from country to country for work is surprisingly a very lonely life to lead. For over 20 years, I have not really had a place to call home. I have not had somebody that I could call a true friend.

COVID changed everything for me. I couldn’t travel, which meant I could no longer run away from my problems. I was back in Australia, with no work and only my sorrows and booze to keep me company.

I had to plan my days around having a drink before I could get out of bed. I had to get out of bed so I could buy my booze. I was in and out of hospital and Drug and Alcohol Services SA and was as close as you can get to hanging by the neck from a tree.

Then I met Sarah and Darren and was offered a bed at Teen Challenge SA.

I have been able to rest substance-free and renew my relationship with our Lord. Now, as I come to the end of the program, I find I have a clear head. I have focus; I have dreams. And I have hope for a new future walking with our Lord.

But there’s more – my relationship with my children is being restored. Our Heavenly Father is allowing me to be the father I never was. My children and I are in the process of reuniting. They want to come and live with me in Australia.

I thank Teen Challenge for Living Free. I thank our Lord Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins and the restoration of families. I love our Lord, I love my children, and I now can love myself.