Peer Lived Experience - Anon

By SMART Recovery Australia on

My story starts like anyone else’s. A few drinks here and there in my teens, more drinks in my twenties, and then progressively throughout my life because it’s part of our cultural make up to have a drink. We drink for every occasion: happiness, sadness, sophistication, bravery, social acceptance, strength, relaxation … and we drink to forget, and to erase our problems, and to cope with life.

I like to preface that with, nobody leaves school with the intention of ‘becoming an alcoholic, or drug addict, or gambling addict, or addicted to shopping or porn’ – addiction is not an ‘intention’.

I loved drinking and I hated it, in equal measures. It morphed over the years into something far more insidious which started to affect my entire life,...

Read more…

Peer Lived Experience - Gill

By SMART Recovery Australia on

My thirst for alcohol developed in my early teens when I discovered that it altered how I felt. At the age of 15, I also developed a smoking habit and for the next few decades I drank and smoked myself silly. It never occurred to me that I was using alcohol and cannabis as medication. I just did it without thinking.

When I reached my 50th birthday I came face-to-face with my deep unhappiness. By then, I had already stopped smoking thanks to two pregnancies. But there I was with two teenagers who were watching me pour wine down my neck every night and waking me up during a family movie to tell me that I’d missed the best bit!

The booze made me very cranky, and I was in the never-ending cycle of wishing for it to be five o’clock so that I...

Read more…

Recovery Story - Bob

By SMART Recovery Australia on

Decades of self-medicating my anxiety and depression created a spiral of physical and mental health issues which led me to making an attempt on my own life on the 16th of March, 2015.

Recovering in hospital, despite feeling unworthy of saving, I decided I would invest in myself and do the necessary things to keep myself alive. I had been utterly destroyed but I was now in the unique position to be able to rebuild myself from scratch.

I made the decision to try sobriety.

Four weeks in hospital and off alcohol led to a reduction in my weight from 100kg to 95kg. When I left the hospital, I decided on a goal weight of 75kg as a way of dealing with low self-esteem.

By the 11th of July, 2015, I reached that goal. This was through a combination...

Read more…

The Female Experience

By Jenny Valentish and Rosemaree Miller, NADA on

Over the last decade, less than 40% of Australian clients receiving treatment for their own substance use identified as female. On the surface, this uneven ratio of female to male clients could suggest that more men than women experience problematic substance use in Australia. However, a growing body of evidence indicates that there are differences in the experience of problematic substance use for individuals who are female or male.² Moreover, an individual’s gender³, may also impact the trajectory of their recovery from problematic substance use.

In her 2017 book, Woman of substances, Jenny Valentish explores the female experience of AOD use. In this research-memoir hybrid, Jenny artfully intertwines discussion of her own experiences...

Read more…

Everything Harder Than Everyone Else

By Jenny Valentish on

“Part of ultrarunning is a desire to be different. And for the drug addict, too, there is a deep need to separate ourselves from the crowd."

Where does hedonism end and endurance begin? That was the question that rose to the surface of the excitingly murky book I was writing, Everything Harder Than Everyone Else. A follow-up to my addiction memoir, Woman of Substances, this new book looked at some of the key drivers of addictive behavior—impulsivity, agitation, a death wish desire to drive the body into the ground—and the ways in which some people channeled them into extreme pursuits.

I interviewed a bare-knuckle boxer, a deathmatch wrestler, a flesh-hook suspension artist, a porn star-turned-MMA fighter, and more; all of them what I came...

Read more…

Why Victoria should review its response to drugs and decriminalise usage

By Fiona Patten on

The prestige of government has undoubtedly been lowered considerably by the (alcohol) prohibition law. For nothing is more destructive of respect for the government and the law of the land than passing laws which cannot be enforced. Albert Einstein, 1921

I know enough to be sure that what we now have is badly broken, ineffective, and even counterproductive to the harm minimisation aims of Australia’s national illicit drugs policy. Mick Palmer, 2017, a former Australian Federal Police commissioner.

Almost a century apart, one of the greatest intellects in human history and one of Australia’s leading law-enforcers expressed the same truth.

Halfway between those two evidence-based statements, the so-called “War on Drugs” was launched.


Read more…

Recovery Story - Tallulah

By SMART Recovery Australia on

What do you want to be when you grow up? Where do you see yourself at 40+?

“Oh, I want my life to be in tatters with my husband about to leave me and take our children because I have become an alcoholic”, … said no one EVER!!

When I was asked by the amazing team at SMART Recovery Australia to write about my journey to sobriety, I thought it would be simple. It turns out it is not, and procrastination (which I have been mastering and refining over the years, in alignment with my building addictions) helped me to find every excuse in the book to avoid it.

Well, 2020 is well and truly over and the anniversary of my first ‘real’ year of sobriety has passed, so I can no longer find a reason to avoid it.

This life is not what one dreams of...
Read more…

Recovery Story - Matt

By SMART Recovery Australia on

This story originally appeared in The Courier Newspaper on February 21, 2021

At the height of his reliance on alcohol, Matt Woodley became a master of hiding his drinking.

Cooking sherry became his alcohol of choice because it was easy to access and it was unlikely his wife Anoushka would check whether it was being consumed at a fast rate.

“There would always be a bottle in the cupboard and nobody monitors it,” Mr Woodley said.

His reliance on alcohol crept up on him in his early 30s after he stopped smoking cannabis.

Mr Woodley, who lives in Ballarat, said he took every opportunity when home alone to become intoxicated.

“If my wife started work and left at 6am that’s when I would start drinking.”

Mr Woodley, 47, said in addition to...

Read more…

Recovery Story - Nick

By SMART Recovery Australia on

[The views and opinions of authors expressed herein do not necessarily state or reflect those of SMART Recovery Australia.]


You know that feeling when you wake up after yet another ‘slip-up’, smothered in guilt and anxiety, swearing that you will never do it again? Then, a week later you’re at it again…?

Or, that feeling when you are presented with the two narrowest of options: give up everything you care about forever, or continue down the path you’re currently on – neither of which seem remotely sustainable…?

I’ve been there.

To hell and back.

To the same place you might be in now, and may have been many times.

Luckily, there is another way.

This story is for anyone who has ever tried to either quit alcohol and/or other...

Read more…