The prayer of an addict

Steve’s story is characterised by crime, heavy drinking, drug use and disease, which imposed a spiritual blackout over his life. But since coming to Teen Challenge SA, he is learning a new way to live.

My dad walked out when I was three years old. This left my mum to raise three kids on her own, working three jobs. We never went without.

But despite my mother’s efforts, she couldn’t be everywhere. I started drinking and using drugs at the age of about 12. Back then it seemed like normal harmless fun.

But I progressed from heavy user in my teens to actually being drug and alcohol dependent in my early twenties. My behaviour was becoming increasingly unpredictable and I was losing relationships, jobs, self-esteem and credibility. I was frustrated and angry all the time.

I was constantly in court for offences because of my drinking and drug use. To this day I’ve paid over $45,000 in fines and court costs. I was approaching 30 years old, my mental health was rapidly deteriorating and, although I didn’t know it at the time, I was spiritually bankrupt.

Pride, stubbornness and the disease of addiction was slowly killing me. I knew I needed help, but I didn’t know where or who to turn to. I had burned a lot of bridges, and anyone I cared about had distanced themselves from me long ago.

I was at my wits end, thinking suicide was my only option. Thank God, through a family intervention of sorts, I ended up at my first rehab in Naracoorte. Although it didn’t work out and I was only there for about four months, I finally had a moment of honest reflection about my drug and alcohol addiction.

That was five years ago now. Since then I’ve been in and out of rehab a few times and had varied success in recovery. My last relapse came after 22 months of clean time and saw me jobless and homeless in the end.

People don’t understand the risks they are taking with ice. It will rob you of all your morals and reduce you to a shadow of your former self. You really are playing with fire, and you will get burned.

I am one of the lucky ones. I ended up at Teen Challenge SA after reaching out. I’ve been here nearly nine months now and can’t speak highly enough of all the staff and volunteers. God has given me an opportunity to turn things around.

I’m about to start a Certificate IV in Youth Work at Tabor College and have been offered an internship through Teen Challenge SA. I’m so grateful God still hears an addict’s prayers.