Keeping on the right track

Monday 7 February 2022

Had Tyler not reached out to Vinnies for support, he envisaged a grim future that fortunately never came to pass.

“I’d either face jail or be living on the streets with pretty bad mental health issues,” Tyler reflects.

Reaching a point of desperation after consuming himself on illicit drugs, fracturing support networks and adopting a harmful mindset of self-medicating to treat his mental health diagnoses, the dire situation led him to seek professional help with the encouragement of a Narcotics Anonymous sponsor.

Contacting Vinnies for assistance prior to detoxing in a psychiatric hospital, Tyler’s initial reservations about seeking help were allayed by the caring staff on hand at Freeman House in Armidale.

“When I first came in contact with Vinnies I had no idea what I was in for; I was severely underweight and really anxious around everything that had happened.”

Having used illicit substances to self-medicate his bipolar affective and schizoaffective disorders, the support of the staff at Freeman House helped Tyler take back control and aspire to a better future.

“Those disorders were very easily treated, but not easily treated with the wrong mindset – and definitely not easy to treat when I was still using at the same time.”

Learning a range of mechanisms to cope with his substance dependence during a six month stay at Freeman House’s intensive residential rehabilitation program, Tyler moved into the transitional program which brought greater independence, while still retaining the support networks that helped to turn his life around.

“I was able to build a lot more connections within the community via work, training options, being able to come and go as I pleased, within reason, but still be able to connect with people who weren’t just inside Freeman House.

“Being around Armidale, a very small knit community, I was able to slowly tell my story to people who are a lot more supportive which has been a huge part of my recovery too.

“It’s good to be able to connect with people on a new level as opposed to how I used to connect with people before I came to Freeman House.”

More than a year on from first walking through the doors at Freeman House, Tyler has a new outlook on life and hope for the future.

“Since I reached out to Vinnies, I actually found some form of self-worth and that there’s things that I’m good at without having to use.

“I always have the idea of goals – getting a place by myself where my brother can have a safe place to stay as well, trying to be a good influence on him and finishing my TAFE course.

“My future’s been pretty good over the last year, I can only imagine if I keep staying on the same track it will only keep getting better.”