Many of the men coming through Glebe House have been able to turn their lives around. Freedom from addiction, not returning to prison – this was just the beginning. We asked our clients to share their experiences, how Glebe House helped them have the strength to change. Here are some of their stories…
I felt really anxious leaving jail. I always do. Things just move so fast and there’s so many people, I can’t cope. Last time I want straight back home, got in touch with my old dealer and was smoking ice that evening. I was out for two weeks, never went outside, except at night, like a vampire but doing crime, of course. The first week at Glebe House I spent most of the time wanting to be back in jail. It’s easy there, I know how it all works, everything’s done for you…I suppose I was just very scared, but slowly things got better. I got help sorting things out, taken to places and meetings too, hearing that I’m not the only one. There’s other guys that have done jail too that visit the House. They gave me a lot of encouragement. If it hadn’t been for Glebe House I would be back in jail, for sure. It’s still hard but I’m getting a routine, making progress I suppose. I have some hope.
It was always everyone else’s fault! I spent years blaming other people for my problems and I just got sicker. I had this stupid pride too, I couldn’t ask for help. When I finally surrendered the staff at Glebe House were there for me. I trusted them and took on what they said. Now, I feel like I’m responsible for my own recovery, for my life. I’ve finally grown up.
I owe my life to Glebe House; literally, because they saved my life, but also because they helped me find a meaningful life to live. I am so grateful.
Glebe House feels like the first proper home I’ve ever had. There was a lot of violence at home when I was a kid. I was abused when I was young too…some of it happened in Boy’s homes, where they’re supposed to look after you! That’s wrong, what they did. I tried to tell people it was happening but it was all covered up, no one listened. I’ve kept that stuff inside for years, used and drank because of it. You can’t talk about it in jail because blokes might get the wrong idea. At last I feel like I’m in a place where I can speak out. Nobody’s going to judge me. It’s just a beginning but it’s like, I’m going forward at last, maybe leaving that stuff behind me.
Glebe house is the first rehab I’ve done that has a real aftercare program. The others don’t want to see you again once you’ve finished but at Glebe you know you’re always welcome to visit, have a chat and a cuppa or a full counselling session. I’ve been able to help newer boys too, which feels like I’m making a difference, giving back. Tuesday nights are amazing: it’s like a fellowship within the fellowship, the best meeting I do all week. I really connect with the other guys, it’s special, a family.
I don’t know how many how many other rehabs I’ve been to, lots though. Glebe House is the first one that worked. It was the first time that I really looked at myself. There’s lots of counselling but the staff are in recovery too so I felt like I could trust them.
I think the place works because it’s small so you get to see the staff all the time, just go into the office and say what’s on your mind. I felt safe to talk about some pretty heavy stuff in my life as a kid. The staff never judged me. I felt respected.
I am a proud aboriginal man, a Darkinjung man. My parents split up when I was five. I was a shy, introverted child and throughout my childhood and adolescence I never felt comfortable, never fitted in. I started drinking and using pot when I was around 11 years old. At the age of 17 I started using amphetamines pretty much every day and then at 25, heroin, which is when my life really went down hill.
I was always a thief. I started thieving before I used drugs. I was sent to a boys’ home at the age of 15, my first gaol sentence was at 18. From then it didn’t stop. In and out of gaol, my life got worse and worse.
In 2007 I was in a place in gaol called Ngara Nura. It was the second time I did this program but this time my life began to change. I started to look at myself and I also put my hand up to go to Glebe House. I had heard of other guys who had gone there and stayed clean.
Glebe House helped me to understand myself and the disease of addiction. I got lots out of the meetings and got some structure in my life. I began to have hope that my life could change. Glebe House referred me into three-quarter accommodation in Lewisham but I used to go back to Glebe House every day – it was my home.
I continued to do everything parole asked, including the Pete program which introduced me into a new world of learning. I did that for 3 months and then started a community services course before being offered an apprenticeship from Ausgrid. It’s been very difficult at times but I have just become a qualified tradesman at Ausgrid.
I live in affordable housing at Common Ground and have my own car. I still go back to Glebe House nearly every Tuesday for the group. It’s a free feed! But seriously, it still feels like my home and I like to help the new guys in the house, especially the ones coming out of gaol. Just like I got help when I got out.
I’m so grateful for Glebe House. With their help I’ve turned my life around. I’ve been clean and sober for 7 years now and not gone back to gaol. I’m a proud member of the Glebe House family.
During my years around AA recovery I knew of the Glebe House program and the warmth and gratitude I had heard expressed by its previous clients. I was desperate to find a solution to my hopeless predicament and while living at Foster House refuge, I applied to the waiting list for Glebe House (and for Foundation House as a precursor to Glebe House).
Glebe house gave me an environment that made me feel very safe and supported in my recovery program. It also gave me the freedom to act responsibly as an adult and begin to take responsibility for my own recovery. I was deeply touched by all the staff members and their obvious commitment and care for all individuals in the house, their genuine desire to see people recover, and also their dedication to their own recovery.
I found the Glebe House program very balanced and catered very well to physical, mental and emotional needs. In particular, the counseling that I have received as a result of the program and still receive through the Cleveland Centre, has had a profound impact on my recovery and level of self-understanding. For the first time in my life I am now getting to the root of issues of my alcoholism.
Something that is very close to my heart is the Glebe House ex-client community and the Peer Support night. For me, this forms a ‘fellowship within the fellowship’ that can be called upon in times of crisis, or general support. This gave me greater confidence in the program while I was at Glebe House, and very strong sense of extra support that the program can work for those who want it and become a central part of it.
My continued contact with Glebe House staff, current and past clients, my counsellor at Cleveland Centre and my continued participation in the ceramics program remain a very positive and supportive influence on my continued recovery, and I could not recommend this program highly enough for those in need.
I came through Ngara Nura at Long Bay into Glebe House after nearly 20 years in and out of jail. I just did what I was told in the beginning: the meetings and living with other blokes who wanted the same thing, a life free of drugs and crime.
I was in supported housing for a couple of years but now I have my own house, paying a mortgage. In fact I have two! I never believed that would happen. I’ve been working for 7 years now and have a lovely girlfriend. I also have regular contact with my kids. I feel like a real part of society, with dignity and respect.
The things Glebe house taught me about myself and recovery is unbelievable. All the stuff that came up was very confronting and hard to hear and accept, because it’s not just about getting clean. It’s about how to deal with everyday life, ‘life on life’s terms’.
How to open myself up and say how I really feel, because all my life I bottled everything up. Glebe house taught me how to have the courage to speak up and not be afraid. I became vulnerable and it was ok.
They taught me how to live, how to keep my mind clean by keeping my room clean. Keeping a clean house, which means cooking, cleaning, making sure my room was clean, bed made, that I had enough time to prepare dinner, clean up, do garden work. All on a roster basis.
They also showed me how to communicate with others and look after money, which as a gambler was very important. I’m now in the next stage of my recovery at Bourke Street Project but I often go back to Glebe House to socialise and for the Tuesday group.
With the help of Glebe House and friends I have made in recovery I will recover. I have a good sponsor, I’m doing some casual work and have my family back in my life. I will continue to recover and have a better way of working and a better life to live.
After my last relapse my wife decided our marriage was over which after 18 years and with 2 young children was a huge blow for me. I realised I was an addict and I needed help. This help and kindness was given to me in Glebe House.
By doing the 12 Step program, meetings, counselling and having a sponsor, my life has changed with the attitude that I don’t need to drink or drug any more. This new attitude I have embraced means I can live life on its own terms and not use.
I am nearly 9 months clean and I can see the benefits. I have a better relationship with my kids and I remain friends with my ex-wife. I am glad to be living clean, standing on my own two feet, one day at a time. Thank you Glebe House.