Alice's story

Changing your life is not an easy thing to undertake and when you add a debilitating substance use disorder coupled by psychological trauma, ill health and a troubled past it make for an even more difficult task to accomplish.

Alice is an Aboriginal woman who grew up in a community immersed with a history of dispossession and oppression. By the age of 27 years Alice had experienced many life challenges, such as family breakdown, poverty, interrupted education, domestic violence, racial discrimination and a lost culture in the era of the Stolen Generation; thus all having an adverse impact on her life and key contributors to a damaged childhood of rotating in and out of juvenile detention centres which continued on to adult incarceration and a 12-year struggle with a heroin addiction.

Due to years of being judged harshly Alice developed a very tough outer shell and was considered by others to be ‘rebellious’. What was not seen was that Alice is a survivor. Just prior to meeting Alice, she had reached a point in her life when she was ready to get off the destructive path she was on.

With the support of the Community Restorative Centre (CRC), Alice was approved for the Sydney Drug Court program and she was assessed as eligible for the Guthrie House residential program. Alice had previously been a client of Guthrie House several years earlier and was not ready for change at that point. The determination that she showed during her assessment was apparent and she certainly lived up to the commitment that she promised at that time.

During her recovery at Guthrie House, Alice worked hard to build her confidence and boost her physical, social and emotional wellbeing. Alice successfully graduated from the Guthrie House residential program and with her newly developed coping strategies and greater understanding of her addiction transitioned back into the community to create a new life as an Outreach client. At this point Alice began to focus on her education and vocational goals and became a participant of the NCIE Job Ready program located in Redfern.

Recovery for Alice has been more than just about remaining drug free; it is a complex process and journey filled with challenges, difficulties, disappointments and obstructions. However, through hard work, dedication and perseverance Alice continues to develop skills that not only help her to safely manage some of life’s challenges but further the skills necessary to be successful in the workplace. Today Alice is gainfully employed holding a full-time position.