REAL STORIES

To help tackle the harmful stigma and misinformation surrounding addiction, Rethink Addiction provides this space to share the real stories of addiction. These are real people who have lived with addiction, supported a family member or friend, or have been involved in providing clinical care or peer support.


In sharing the real stories of addiction we see that it is a complex issue that touches all Australians, but that help is available and change is possible. Read through the stories below and see how addiction has impacted the lives of everyday Australians and how important getting help can be.

CONTENT WARNING: Please note that some stories may highlight themes of suicide, domestic violence and/or assault. These themes have not been removed to remain true to our storytellers lived experiences.

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Lee

Senior Registered Nurse

I am a senior registered nurse and my specialty is mental health and AOD nursing.

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Nicola

Family Member or friend

If society saw it differently, and it was treated like other illnesses, I believe things could be different.

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Jenny

Has a lived experience of addiction

I am now 125 days sober, love my life and am studying to become a drug and alcohol counsellor. I have no shame or embarrassment anymore.

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Nikki

Has a lived experience of addiction

I didn’t get clean on my first attempt, nor my fiftieth, but I persevered and kept trying. I held onto a glimmer of hope, however dim, that change was possible.

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Toni-Lee

Has a lived experience of addiction

Finally I got clean and sober in a long-term rehab and it saved my life. Have remained clean and sober for 30 years, and life is wonderful!!

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Kate

Has a lived experience of addiction

It took me 7 years and 3 rehab stays before I got sober. I’m now in a great place but can’t help but think it could’ve been earlier if I didn’t feel such shame and if it was easier to get help.

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Kelly

Addiction Psychiatrist

As an addiction psychiatrist I know that substance use disorders can effect anyone, no matter their age, their job, their background. Everyone has a story that brought them to this point.

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Gabrielle

Has a lived experience of addiction

After another 6 years of alcohol dependence and many unsupported attempts to quit drinking, I chose a path of sobriety 3 weeks before my sons first birthday. I put down the bottle for the last time on the 1/1/2019 and I am now over 2 years sober. I live the happy, healthy, hangover-free lifestyle with my family that I always dreamed of.

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Lucas Barnes

Has a lived experience of addiction

It was not until 2019, nine years into my heavy gambling addiction that I had the opportunity to be a part of Addicted Australia, which for the first time gave me an inclusive environment focusing on the addiction rather than the vice and a full transparent wrap around support and supportive community.

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Jen

I think my now 33-year-old daughter started using cannabis around age 11. I didn’t know, it was many years before I knew and by then she had progressed to methamphetamine use