Two of my brothers introduced me to drugs and alcohol at the age of 15. It very quickly became my escape. It numbed my pain and my memories.
Pretty soon I found it difficult to feel anything at all. I stopped caring. I worked hard and partied harder. I thought this was happiness: not a care in the world.
One night, when my daughter was three, she saw me being beaten up by my then-partner. That assault was my breaking point. I fled to a local refuge where we hid for five months before being placed in a Housing New Zealand home. I didn’t know anyone and had nowhere else to go. One day, when I was low on food, one of the other people staying there suggested I go to The Salvation Army.
The next day I walked into the local Salvation Army Corps. I was seeking a safe place, safe people, kindness, and someone to trust with my burdens, without being judged.
I was greeted by this love that wrapped around me, listened to me, sat with me, prayed with me. I was nurtured.
There was a presence in the building that just kept calling me. Someone could see that I was worth saving. Someone saw the good in me, when I couldn’t see any.
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*All names and identifying details have been changed in this story to protect individual privacy. Stock images are used in all recovery stories. The Bridge would like to thank our tāngata for being brave and generous in sharing their stories. We wish them all the best for healthier and happier lives.