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.


I'm 3 months 22 days completely clean and sober today. I have a sponsor and am working a 12 step program. I attend 4 meetings a week. I also saw a doctor, got onto a mental health care plan and began counselling. I have a long way to go, but have come a long way.


I went into psychosis and I went into the local mental health ward. There I met a drug and alcohol counsellor. 2 weeks later I started the 12 week course they offer. I now work for the same organisation as a peer support worker in a local day rehab. I am 2 years clean


I’m a mum of 2, a wife, a 37 year old women and now someone who is 946 days without alcohol.


Within 18 months, my meth use led to the darkest period of my life. I want people to know that no matter how dark it gets, there is always hope and that they are worth so much more.


In 2013 I completed the 10 month 12 step Recovery Program, and stayed on at the center as a mentor for another 5 months. It was the most challenging, yet rewarding 15 months of my life, and the best thing I could ever have done.


I always thought about addiction as a separate entity. One that happened to uneducated people, sick people, scared people. Not people like me.


Without the support to address my mental health, alongside the addiction, I wouldn't be where I am today. It was nice to not be judged by the treating teams that I worked with on my recovery.

Helen and Donald

We are the parents of a beautiful young woman who went down the path of drug addiction in her mid-twenties.. We thought there was no hope for a treatment to cure her. She has now been off drugs for 3 years and never wants to go down that track again.


We lost our 25-year-old son to a heroin overdose. We are passionately honest in speaking about our failures and regrets because by letting light into the hidden places shame and stigma disappear and lives will be saved.


I was bullied at school and found alcohol numbed the pain. Over a 33-year period I then used anything that would take away the hatred I built up for myself. It took me 10 years and many different ways of trying to get and stay off drugs. Today I live a life worth living.

Rethink Addiction acknowledges the traditional custodians of the lands on which we live and work, and we pay our respects to Elders past, present and emerging.

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