While the Mission commemorates 100 years of service to the city this year, many of the people we support mark their own special anniversaries too.
In July, one of those people, Kelvin, marked his one year anniversary of being clean and sober after years of drug dependency. The Mission’s part in Kelvin’s journey to recovery helped create truly positive change his life.
Kelvin would say that for many years, he seemed in control of his life. He had a great job, a partner and a child. However, he was doing this all under a cloud of drug dependency.
As a youngster Kelvin always felt different to his other siblings and friends. He thought of himself as an outsider which filled him with anxiety. It wasn’t until he was introduced to cannabis at 13 that he felt he finally fitted in.
“It escalated quite quickly because cannabis became my everything. As an adult, I would work and it seemed like I had a good life but cannabis was always at the top of my list. I was using drugs to not think and not deal with the world around me.”
A few years ago, he was introduced to the substance methamphetamine. He found this even more addictive and quickly developed a dependency on it.
When his life came crashing down in early 2019, he realised his masquerade was up.
In one day he lost a job he loved and his car broke down on the motorway. When he returned to his flat, he found all of his belongings in a skip by the side of the road.
That was the first night Kelvin slept on the street. “There’s nowhere to think on the street. You can’t think. You can only escape. It’s a long day when you’re not really happy with yourself and you don’t know how to deal with it.”
“Someone told me about the Auckland City Mission, but I was too scared to go in at first. I knew I had to talk about the drugs and that was a frightening thought. But I was exhausted, mentally and physically. I knew I needed help,” says Kelvin.
When Kelvin turned to the Mission, different members of our team helped him on his road to a healthy life. After walking through the Mission doors, he was assessed and placed in short-term emergency accommodation straight away.
He remembers: “I left that day with accommodation – I knew where I was going to sleep that night. It was amazing. I couldn’t believe it. The bed had clean sheets. I had a hot shower, some food and money to go to the supermarket, as well as a hop card.”
“What I think is amazing, and what worked for me, was getting housing without any conditions. Otherwise it wouldn’t have worked. If I had to try and get clean first, I wouldn’t have had the stamina – wouldn’t have had the brainpower – for it.”
While in emergency housing Kelvin realised he needed help with his addiction and took the big step of seeking assistance. “It was ‘OK, let’s try social detox’. I phoned the Mission and had an assessment over the phone. When I got the phone call back to say I’d been accepted, it took a while to sink in. I couldn’t believe I was finally going to get help.”
In this time, and with the Mission team’s careful guidance, Kelvin began the renowned twelve step addiction recovery programme. He also attended in-house acute addiction recovery sessions and took every opportunity offered to begin rebuilding his life.
After his stay at the Mission, Kelvin was ready to move to an independent rehab centre. “That’s where I learned about self-belief and why I was using. It wasn’t the drugs. I used them to escape because I didn’t know how to deal with my problems.”
Kelvin’s time in rehab saw him come to terms with his addiction and understand how he can successfully live without a dependency. It’s been a year of hard work and determination by Kelvin. He is mending his relationships with his partner and son and is now looking for work again.
Kelvin is so thankful to the Mission for our ongoing support. Not only is he no longer dependent on drugs but he can see a bright future and is working his way towards that.
“What I feel now is that I have a clean slate I can actually start life with. I have never actually been a clean, straight adult my whole life.”
Kelvin knows that the Mission will be there if he needs our support again. Although he’s already talking about how he can give back and support others who find themselves in the same position that he did last year.