Alice’s story

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Alice* from Tarrengower Prison


I grew up with a beautiful, supportive family. I loved horses. Mum and Dad both came from poor families of five and six siblings, so they wanted to give me and my sister everything they didn't have.

I was caring, but I also had anxiety, self-doubt and low self-esteem from a young age. I found drugs at about 13 or 14 years old, and they made me feel better. I started cannabis, and by 15 I was using heroin every day. I went to school until Year 11, but mum didn’t find out about my drug use until I started stealing.

Since being in prison, I’ve done both group programs and individual counselling with Caraniche.

There have been sessions with my counsellor that I've just sobbed. We delve into so much. It's not just about drug and alcohol, it's about life.

In the group programs, people give me different perspectives on things. I really value the insight other people can give me about myself.

There's a lot I need to work through, because I've never dealt with anything – instead I pack things into boxes. That means I'm still unpacking those boxes. I’ve learnt how to allow myself to be with painful experiences. I've also learnt about boundaries and self-care.

Most of all, I’ve learnt that it's important to be vulnerable – to feel trusting and safe enough to express what I'm feeling. It's been a slow process, but the people in the group make me brave.

When I get out, I just want to be with my family. I want to take care of my grandparents, and help my parents with their business. I've missed out on so much.

*Names have been changed.