Mahana Southern Māori Mental Health & Addiction: I Couldn't Get Away From It

Your stories
Your Stories
November 13, 2023

I spent my life surrounded by alcohol, so when I started drinking heavily and smoking marijuana as a young teen, I thought it was normal.

I didn’t think it was a problem until I realised I couldn’t stop and I ended up in residential rehab at 14-years-old. I also started counselling to support with my feelings around being bullied, and of course for my addiction.

I left school at this age and before I turned 16, I had been in rehab twice.

Drugs and alcohol were the only thing I knew so, even though I had attended rehab, I continued on with the habit. I love alcohol. It’s like my best friend but it’s not. I would drink until I couldn’t drink anymore. The more I had the better I would feel and everything would go away.

I got a job as a deep sea fisherman and I loved it. I would go to sea for three months, come home and party hard then go back to sea again.

Soon I had switched my alcohol addiction for methamphetamine.

But, about a year ago, my whole world changed when I got full custody of now my 15-month-old daughter. Now, I couldn’t take a break from alcohol and drugs by going out to sea because I had to give up that job. I couldn’t get away from it.

I started taking my daughter to a playgroup and they mentioned Mahana may be able to support me, so I self-referred.

Coming here, I’ve been able to be open and honest and they have educated me on a lot of things I didn’t know about drugs, which has actually put me off it.

They are always willing to listen, even if it’s after hours, and they have helped me to get out into the community and learn more about Maori culture so I can teach my daughter.

My addiction has reduced. I am trying to find other things I can do especially when I get cravings. The support from Mahana is everything. I’ve never had someone I can reach out to at any time. I’ve always been on my own not knowing how to ask for help.

I plan to keep being a good dad and lead by example for my daughter. I also intend to study social work because I think I have a lot to share.

I really appreciate having the counsellor in my life, and while I’m struggling to accept that its a long road to recovery, I know things will only get better.

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