Adam’s Story

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Adam* from Middleton Prison


I come from a big family, played football, like woodwork at school.

We shifted houses when I was in Grade 3 or 4. There was a lot of instability at home. Mum and Dad would drink a lot, and being the youngest, it’s sort of imprinted on your mind. There’s mental and emotional scaring. I vowed I was never going to drink.

All my cousins, aunties, uncles were all using substances. They carried a lot of shame, limping along through life. I do a lot of thinking. Both my parents are aboriginal, from either side of the Grampians. 

I’ve got a lot of grounding in my culture. I’m named after my grandfather, but I never met him.

The temperament of my grandmother was a really beautiful thing.

I’m trying to discover who I am as a man.

The things that were embedded in me – the people that weren’t fighting, drinking – those people spoke softly to me. I reflect on those things now. That calming temperament.

When I did the 44 hour program, I was still planning to use. I was not taken by the material because of where I was at. As time went on, what I’ve really found useful is to deeply reflect on why I use drugs.

Having time and space to sit comfortably with how I am.

The programs and individual counselling – they shift your perspective – comes from a place more centred on you.

I’ve learnt to understand about victims, empathy and being heard.

You can stand back and think I want to change, but you need a conscious shift in yourself.

The programs have given me that nudge to want to change.

I’ve never committed a sober crime.

You lose your perspective on the world when you’re killing yourself with drugs and alcohol.

I’d like to mentor youth for getting off drugs and alcohol.


*Names have been changed.