Mitchel’s story

A restored life

I grew up in Canberra. I got diagnosed with autism at a young age and was always socially awkward as a kid. At about 13, I started struggling with mental illnesses like severe depression. I also moved from a public to a private school during this time, and at 15, my drug abuse started, which, at first, I only really dabbled in socially. I got into substance use out of curiosity and not peer pressure, using recreationally at first, and then addiction started to creep in, using to cope with depression.

At first, it wasn’t the worst crowd – mainly partygoers – but then it developed into a worse crowd as I reconnected with old friends, which came with many problems. My first attempt to get clean was when I was about 17 years old, and I had a mentor help me.

I lasted about nine months being off alcohol and managed about three months off cannabis. During this time, I started a Certificate III in Music Production and Industry, which I missed completing after relapsing.

After this, my drinking got out of control, and I started taking benzodiazepines for anxiety. As this happened, I moved with my parents to South Australia for a fresh start and to be with one of my grandparents. My addiction didn’t stop through this, and my mental health got worse.

My family referred me to Teen Challenge SA, which honestly saved my life. Through God, I have dealt with my depressive issues, tackled my addiction, restored my relationship with my family after nine months of no contact, found a sense of joy in life, a routine in what was a disorganised life, made some amazing social connections, became a much better person since I came in, started volunteering and am starting study soon in a Certificate IV in Legal Services.

None of this would have been possible without God and the blessing of Teen Challenge SA. I have two months left in the program, and I cannot speak highly enough of Teen Challenge SA and how God has saved my life through this program, which is the work of the Lord.