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.


Addiction Psychiatrist

I realised that people who become addicted aren’t bad people, they’re regular people who’ve faced adversity in their lives and been led to drugs as a way to cope or even survive. We need to recognise that addiction is a signal that people need help and that it is a health issue that can be treated.


Service Manager

Our job is not to “fix” people. It is to facilitate their individual recovery journey and embrace the notion that from “little things big things grow”.


GP put me in touch with a service. They saved my life. Don’t quit till the miracle happens they tell me. Funny how it works out if you give yourself a chance.


Single Mum

I realised I had to stop lying. Lying to myself and to them. Two kids, no house, no mates. I had nothing. I thought, I need to stop this. Now I go once a week to see my counsellor. I made a promise to myself I would try this. It’s working so far.


Group Facilitator

Looking back, addiction in one form or another had always controlled my life. In the end the drinking, gambling and drugs caught up with me and those I loved. But rehab gave me the break I needed. My life has turned around thanks to the support I received and the courage I took to look for help.


Peer Support Worker

I spent three years using various substances to feel ‘ok’ in my own skin after years of vicious bullying from my peers. After two years of multiple attempts I completed my final detox and began to engage in peer support communities for help. I am now over 11 years clean and work in the support communities that helped me.

Shanna Whan


I was a professional woman with great hair and make-up by day, and a virtual derelict in my own home after 5 o'clock. Now, almost 6 years recovered from alcoholism, I will always advocate fiercely for hope, change, and possibilities.



I had experienced significant childhood trauma which I normalised. From the age of 13 I drank to blackout. One day a friend asked, ‘how’s the drinking going’ and I broke down. I rang a helpline that morning and my life started to turn around.



I’ve learnt to be more careful with who I have in my life, I guess that’s been one of the biggest changes. I have choices now. Before it was just drink, gamble, repeat



Eventually I staggered into this place and people looked after me. I think the thing is to keep trying. It’s not about stopping because other people tell you. It’s about stopping because you want to.

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.

  • Rethink Addiction Facebook Page
  • Rethink Addiction on Twitter
  • Rethink Addiction on Instagram