Stepping into a new life

Simon will complete the 12-month Living Free program in April 2018. Read his reflections on his life and his time at Teen Challenge SA.

I’m here at Teen Challenge SA to give myself and my children a new life and a new beginning. If I continued on the way I was, none of us would be able to have a decent life.

Growing up, I was always moving every one to two years because my dad worked for different people on dairy farms. Because of that I never had steady relationships with friends.

At 13 years old I got a baseball scholarship, so we moved to Adelaide. Things went downhill when I found drugs at 18 years old. I injured my arm so I wasn’t hanging around everyone from baseball as much, and I started working more. My workplace employed some ex-prisoners and I got involved with drugs through them. I started failing drug tests for baseball and then the national team stopped considering me.

Coming from a sheltered childhood on the farm with no friends, I was having too much fun with drugs to realise what I was throwing away. I’ve spent the last five years going in and out of rehabs.

The turning point was when the first friend I made when I moved to Adelaide ended up killing himself due to alcohol. I thought I’d finally found a long-term friendship, but it was like being a kid again – people coming and going. The father of this friend visited me and I thought to myself, ‘Imagine if I was not around for my kids’.

I realised I needed help. So last year on my 30th birthday I decided to try Teen Challenge SA.

This is the first time I have done rehab for myself. I let down all of my guards and stopped pretending that everything was okay.

When I first got here I felt like God was looking over me, but it’s confronting and I’m still working on believing. I haven’t given up. I stay busy to keep the depression away.

What I’ve struggled with is that there’s so much love here, which is hard to accept as I’ve always been a loner. I want to thank the staff and volunteers of Teen Challenge SA for believing in me, and not giving up on anyone who comes through these doors.

Teen Challenge SA has shown me that there are caring people in the world. There are places you can go for help no matter what you’ve done. There’s no judgement here.

Each time I’ve spent in rehab has been a stepping stone towards getting my life back. I’ve learnt something new every time which has helped me get to where I am today.