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Angus' story

‘What impact has ResetLife had on my life?’

When I entered the ResetLife program I was completely lost. I had been admitted to the Alfred psychiatric ward for suicidal ideation by Police who were waiting at my home when I returned from purchasing heroin to take my own life. This had resulted in being charged with 5 different criminal charges as well as the suspension of my security license. I was extremely depressed, anxious and fearful of what each day would hold. I had hit rock bottom and was at the lowest point of my life. My AOD Counsellor, Gabby Cohen, had suggested ResetLife in one of our first sessions together. After trying in-patient rehabilitation at Hader Clinic in Geelong some 3-4 months earlier and suffering a further decline in my mental health and really not addressing my addiction to alcohol as a result, I must admit I was hesitant. However, I felt I had tried everything else and had nothing to lose.

When I started ResetLife in October of 2022 I was in a very dark place. I had been sober a bit over a month after concluding a 10 day detox at the beginning of September and really struggling with day to day life. Initially, although riddled with anxiety, ResetLife gave me some purpose to leave the house and forced me to engage with others even though at that point my engagement was minimal at best. It was clear through my interaction that I was a very broken and unhappy guy. This however did not deter the team at ResetLife. Andrew, Benn and Zoe showed compassion, acceptance and respect towards me making me feel welcome and safe and from the very early stages of my attendance, were already providing me hope and strength for my recovery.

During the course of the following months I was stuck heavily in ’The Wall’ stage of my recovery. Without the knowledge of this stage and the effects it has on the brain being a major contributor to my mental state and emotions, I don’t know if I would have made it through. Combined with my weekly therapy sessions with Zoe, the Family Ed session on a Thursday evening and the group sessions on a Monday and Friday, ResetLife was providing my life not only with knowledge and support but structure. Although it may not have seemed the case from the outside, the program was helping me immensely. As well as the ResetLife program providing me with knowledge, tools and support, they also connected me with the First Step Legal team to address my legal issues which were weighing very heavily on me. Up until Christmas I was still suffering a lot of anxiety surrounding these issues but they didn’t feel like the only thing affecting my mood, still to the point of everything being such an effort and having no motivation. Low and behold, almost to the very day the team had said ’The Wall’ stage would shift as would my general mood, it did! I recall over the course of a day or two I started to feel more optimistic and this was widely noticed upon return after the Christmas/New year break. This break and also this mental switch allowed me to really reflect upon all of the support I had been receiving and just how much the dedication from Andrew, Benn and Zoe had really impacted the success of my recovery to date.

In January of 2023, the legal team were very helpful in achieving a miracle result of diversion on all charges meaning the charges were discharged, therefore I would not have a criminal record nor any penalties. Thanks to a glowing reference from Benn outlining my progress within the program, this was made possible. The Magistrate had recognised the ResetLife program whilst addressing me in court before making her decision stating “it’s only through your hard work and consistency stated in the reference’s from Gabby Cohen and Benn Veenker that has impacted my decision on whether or not to grant you diversion”. During this time my security license was still pending a submission from a separately appointed lawyer. He too had addressed the importance of the program and the impact it could have on the result in court which would ultimately be the key indicator as to the chances of having my security license reinstated. On the 16th of February 2023 I received a letter stating my license had been reinstated. None of this would have been possible without the ongoing support from the ResetLife team.

On the 17th of March 2023 I completed and graduated the program. The genuineness and kindness in the speeches given by Andrew, Benn and Zoe highlighting the change in the person who walked through the door in October to the person graduating 5 months later filled me with many happy emotions. I felt extremely valued as a person and respected by both the team and my fellow peers. The program has given my life such hope, my self-esteem and confidence a complete reboot and such strength in my recovery. I am grateful beyond words and with that intend on continuing with ResetLife as a volunteer moving forward.