After leaving home at 13, Dan spent several years in Adelaide, on the streets and in hostels. When he was 22, he moved to Melbourne to go into rehab. What followed was a cycle of sleeping rough, staying in crisis accommodation or rehab. Having successfully completed rehab Dan’s now in supported housing and positive about the future. This is Dan’s story
I had been on the street since I was thirteen. Drug use was the reason that I didn’t have a home. All my money went to drugs. It was like tunnel vision – drugs, drugs, drugs.
I came to Melbourne when I was 22. My sister offered to let me stay with her and get off the drugs. But it didn’t work out and I ended up back on the streets. I did that for a good 6 years. It was normal for me, as sad as it sounds, that was just the way I lived my life.
I was 24 by the time I was put in touch with Hanover. I stayed in their crisis accommodation in Southbank. I stayed there a lot. I wouldn’t be able to tell you how many times.
I was doing the same shit again and again and again. Rehab, street, back at Hanover. I thought things would just change. A magic fairy would come down and touch me and say ‘Dan, you’re fixed’.
But I got over it. I got sick of living the same life again and again and again. Then I turned 30 and I’d had enough. So I went to rehab and completed it. The first rehab I ever completed. Then I started going to Narcotics Anonymous. Now I’ve got my own two bedroom unit and I’ve sort of broken the cycle.
Life now is all new. Now I’m there for my family. I’m reliable now, if I say I’m going to be somewhere I’m there. I have friends that I care about and who care about me. I can be open and honest about the way I’m feeling which is something you just don’t do out on the street.
Changing is definitely daunting; I’m not going to say it’s not. I’ve got lots of feelings that I’m not used to cos the main reason I used drugs was to stop me feeling. But at the end of the day what I’m doing now is a lot better than using drugs and being homeless. The pay off is me learning to live a new life.
It’s all happening at the moment. I’m in the process of getting my license. Once I’ve got that, I’ll go for my forklift license because there’s this scheme which gets you back into work gradually with a transport company forklift driving. It’s something for me to do while I’m in recovery.
In the future I’d like to be a youth worker. Work with kids, teenagers in crisis so they don’t have to go down the same road that I went down. That’s what I’d love to do. That’d be my main goal. Maybe my experience can be used for good rather than bad.
Dan is still in regular contact with his Hanover Support Worker, and is focusing on his rehabilitation and is looking at getting his own place in the future. Dan hopes to find permanent work and is looking forward to enrolling in an employment scheme.