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Getting life back on plan

Sometimes, life doesn’t go to plan.

Max* planned to spend his life helping people. He trained as a health care worker and was building his career when some past trauma began to creep up and some financial losses threw him in a spin.

He turned to methamphetamines to manage the anxiety, but not long after, a drug-induced psychosis saw him lose his dream job.

He was being treated at hospital, but this wasn’t going well – he was concerned about confidentiality, about damage to reputation, about loss of future earnings. He didn’t feel safe there and he didn’t trust them.

So, they recommended he come to First Step, and in their handover referred to him as ‘difficult’.

That was October 2023.

Initially, he was untrusting, and it was hard to convince him to take the antipsychotic medications the hospital recommended. Gently, I provided him with education on the medications, and he agreed to trial them. Soon, along with abstinence from substance use, his drug-induced psychosis resolved.

But he was left with a crisis of confidence in himself - he had reflected on what he lost and was at risk of depression.

Over the next few months, I provided him with practical support such as writing advocacy letters to the bank, generalised counselling for his mental health and support to maintain abstinence, practice interviews to encourage him to return to work, and help to find more affordable housing.

We haven’t seen any of the ‘difficult’ behaviour. In fact, Max is intelligent, insightful, reliable and engaging. He actively reflects on what’s been said and comes back with a decision, or a next step and always follows through. Max said he never feels judged at First Step and when he was at rock bottom, we were there for him.

It’s been 9 months, he’s abstinent, working, and is engaged with a psychologist to resolve the past issues that led him down the path of substance use.

This is a great outcome and Max is finally back on his life plan.


This client story was told by First Step Nurse Practitioner, Georgia Judd

* We have changed our clients name to protect their identity

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