The following snapshots offer a view of what life has been like and what changed for people who have been through Windana services.
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I was introduced to Windana Family Program in early 2011, after completing a seven day detox at Windana for long term (marijuana/cannabis) use. I was in early stages of pregnancy with twins and had seperated from my fiancé, which resulted in me experiencing homelessness. Alone and without direction, the workers from Windana Family Program provided me with ongoing support, which without I dread to think where I would be today. With their help in accessing information and attending appointments with me, I was able to get permanent accommodation for myself and the twins, along with assisting me with all pregnancy related matters by accessing me a midwife. They also provided me with material aid in preparation for the arrival of my twins. With their patience, encouragement and ongoing support I have accomplished so much, and have now been drug free for more than twelve months. With their help and commitment, my determination to move towards a drug free life and successful recovery has been cemented and for that I am eternally grateful to the team at Windana Family Program.
Jeff is new to our service. He has been 'running amok' since primary school and now finds himself in trouble. He has a court appearance in two months and being held on remand "scared the shit out of me". Supporting Jeff in the community are workers from youth specific services and housing. He has just separated from his partner of 3 years; together they have been parenting his 6 month old daughter. WYCH provided Jeff with the conditions and support to make a real and significant change in his life. To everyone at WYCH! You all helped me to realise what I was capable of, I can't say thank-you enough for supporting me and helping me - there couldn't be a better bunch of people! I will miss everyone but at the same time I hope to never see any of you ever again! I'm sure yous know what I mean. Peace. Jeff
Today is my moving day...my own room close to the kids! Windana, combined with my Counsellor helped me clean up my life, put respect back into my relationships and most of all breathe new life into a sad, dark past providing a spark of hope that I so desperately needed at the time. My story is no different than a lot of others. Alcohol abuse lead to a breakdown of a 19 year relationship that produced three gorgeous children that I don’t see as much now. It spiralled to losing my full time employment resulting in unemployment and homelessness. This lead to selfdevastation and self-destruction pulled down further by episodes of crime for which I am very ashamed and disappointed in myself. Windana and my Counsellor have stuck by me and helped me find my rock bottom and road to positive pathway to recovery. This is a new beginning for me as I find me again. “My story is no different than a lot of others.” * Greg is not his real name
Hi, my name is Stacey and I’d like to give you a quick intro to my life and how Windana has helped me along my new journey. My mum had me at a young age, I lived with her and her drug use until I was ten, then my nan took me in because mum couldn’t look after me anymore. At the age of 13 I was addicted to marijuana. Then at 14 I started ecstasy and was addicted to that. At 16 I started the ice which mum’s best mate got me hooked on. During that time my habit grew to a gram a day. Then I started the heroin to stop my head doing miles from the ice and was using both ice and heroin which became a 2 year habit until I got sent to my auntie’s - by a lot of hard effort I got off it. Once I was clean of the ice and heroin and Xanax, I came home but then was having trouble not relapsing and going straight back into my old circle of mates including my mum who still to this day is addicted to ice. My youth worker mentioned Windana and I agreed because I knew I wasn’t coping with life in general… I couldn’t have made a better decision and will never look back on my old life, I have never been so inspired by the people who work to help the young ones to a better future; not just that, they give you more insight on the damage you’re doing on your beautiful brain. I was extremely nervous and scared I’d fail but I went in with an open mind and was ready for a challenge. Believe me it’s a challenge, but a great one at that. I will never forget the help and support I received in there and I’ve made posters and quotes hanging all around my room to keep me going and motivated every day to not go back to my old life. As I said I can’t thank them enough let alone forget them and I keep in contact with them once a month. But even if a relapse occurs, the one thing I learnt was don’t beat yourself up keep going and get back on track. Windana taught me to trust again and to feel emotions I haven’t felt in a long time. I had a lot of hate and anger in me which I have slowly let go to become that happy loving person I am today. I honestly couldn’t go back to where I was heading which would have been death. Thank you Windana and the great team you have working there. The help I received will never be forgotten. “I couldn’t have made a better decision and will never look back on my old life...” * Stacey is not her real name
Meg is a 31 year old woman with a history of amphetamine, benzodiazepine and quetiapine dependence. She sought treatment at Windana having lost her housing and access to her child as a result of her drug use. Meg had survived family violence, perpetrated by the father of her child and was estranged from her parents and siblings. She successfully linked in to the Family Program and worked with our people to achieve entry to Windana’s Therapeutic Community and continued to engage with supportive services provided by the Department of Human Services, participated in single session family counselling with her parents and developed her parenting skills through the Tuning in to Kids and Parenting Group. Meg successfully completed the Therapeutic Community Program, entered the Integration Program and is now participating in vocational training and working 3 days per week. She has unsupervised access to her 3 year old son, has an improved relationship with her parents and siblings and is enjoying attending family gatherings and celebrations. * Name has been changed
Con started using drugs when he was 13 years old. His drug of choice was Methamphetamine (Ice) and he generally combined its use with Xanax and marijuana. Con’s mother constantly tried to get him to see counsellors and psychologists as the effects of a drug-addicted lifestyle were taking a toll on his whole family. He did go into youth detox four times before he turned 18 years old but would leave and always fall back into the same old behaviours. After he turned 18 years old, Con attempted to curb his criminal activity to avoid going to prison, which was the inevitable next step for him. He started a landscaping apprenticeship but as his drug use continued to escalate he became unemployable and was living a completely chaotic lifestyle. Being arrested by the police became a common occurrence at this point. At its peak, Con was using hundreds of dollars worth of Ice a day. “I was lonely. Every time I’d get on - I didn’t want to use but I had to. I had no direction and I hated myself. I idealised killing myself every day. I’d had enough.” Con was 21 years old when he went into the Windana Youth Community House (WYCH) early in 2014. Having attempted to get off drugs many times before, he knew that he needed to do something different than what he’d done before. Con decided to go to the Windana Therapeutic Community (TC) for long-term rehabilitation. In the beginning, Con questioned his decision to go to the TC but it wasn’t long before he recognised what was on offer if he stayed and completed the program. “The best thing about the TC was building my self-esteem through communicating and taking on responsibility. I feel confident. I don’t have to use drugs to get through the day anymore.” Con’s peers in the Community describe him as inspiring and share that he is a role model. Con has very recently moved to the Integration House, which is a semi independent living program managed through Windana. It is a community where people can implement all that they have learned at the TC whilst re-engaging with society. Con initially wanted to complete his landscaping apprenticeship, but after his rehab experience he wants to study and ‘get educated’. Con returns to the TC twice a week where he continues to provide inspiration to new residents through co-facilitating groups; this in turn reinforces his learning. “The best thing was building my self-esteem...” * Name has been changed
To the Windana family, I want to thank you for saving me, being there for me and giving me a chance to find myself again. You’re all such beautiful people and helped me through my journey to defeat the devil I let inside for many years. There was one thing I wanted to get most out of this place and that was to be at peace with my addiction. For me to fight this disease, I wanted to be at peace with it so I can slowly learn to let it go. I made a promise to myself, which I now will make you: never look back. This place was THE PLACE to put me on the right track where it would make the promise easier to commit to. There are no proper words to thank you enough. Love Piper “I want to thank you for saving me, being there for me and giving me a chance to find myself again....”
Alcohol and drug problems don’t target any particular group.
People end up in difficulty for a wide range of reasons. Sometimes a background of abuse or disadvantage has taken its toll. Stress associated with a major traumatic event can precipitate a cycle of dependence. Being raised in a home where one or both parents are dependent on alcohol or other drugs can also be a causal factor.
But it is also true that many people with alcohol and other drug issues come from backgrounds of advantage, with supportive loving families and plenty of opportunity. There may be no history of drug or alcohol dependence in their family.
Just as there is no one reason for alcohol or drug dependence, there is no one cure.
Dependence is not caused by moral failing or lack of will power. Nor is it a simple thing to overcome. But it can be overcome and even seemingly hopeless situations can be completely turned around.
Often, by the time people seek help with their alcohol or drug problem, they have many other issues to face. Alcohol and other drugs can seem to be a solution to problems but the sad fact is they have caused many more problems than they ever solved.
These people come from many different circumstances. Some have managed their substance dependence while continuing to hold down a job, raise children and be active members of their community. Others have lost home, family, friends, dignity and, finally, hope.
The one thing they have in common is that alcohol and other drugs are causing problems in their lives. Some want to stop completely. Others want to cut down and explore other issues.
WINDANA WILL WALK WITH THEM… WHATEVER PATH THEY CHOOSE… ILLUMINATING CHOICES… ENCOURAGING CHANGE AND GROWTH…