John’s story

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John* from Middleton Prison


I started using drugs when I was 12 or 13. I had a heroin addiction by the age of 13. I hated school. The only days I turned up to school were the sports days. I played rugby, basketball, AFL, and athletics.

I started running away when I was 10. I was put in foster care, but I kept escaping. Mum and dad were both into alcohol. Most of the good traits in me come from my grandparents. If I’d been with them from an early age, maybe things would have turned out differently.

I first started doing programs and counselling through Caraniche in 2006 at Barwon Prison.  At first I started doing group to get out of work in the kitchen, but then it was because I was learning about myself.

I’ve done the 44-hour program, and the Sustaining Change program. Geez, I’ve clocked up a lot of hours of programs. It’s a challenge, because I don’t like to talk. I’ve been a loner most of my life, I hold a lot back.

I’ve kept the workbooks book from the programs I’ve done. I like to look back and compare to see what’s changed. In Sustaining Change, I learnt that I have a bad case of self-sabotage. I’ve learnt that if you don’t put in, you won’t know yourself.

I’m a different person now. I’m an in-house secretary and a peer educator. I know what my triggers are, and I’ve got tools to pull me away from that. I can choose to make the right decision.

*Names have been changed.