Recovery Story - Bob

By SMART Recovery Australia on

Decades of self-medicating my anxiety and depression created a spiral of physical and mental health issues which led me to making an attempt on my own life on the 16th of March, 2015.

Recovering in hospital, despite feeling unworthy of saving, I decided I would invest in myself and do the necessary things to keep myself alive. I had been utterly destroyed but I was now in the unique position to be able to rebuild myself from scratch.

I made the decision to try sobriety.

Four weeks in hospital and off alcohol led to a reduction in my weight from 100kg to 95kg. When I left the hospital, I decided on a goal weight of 75kg as a way of dealing with low self-esteem.

By the 11th of July, 2015, I reached that goal. This was through a combination...

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The Female Experience

By Jenny Valentish and Rosemaree Miller, NADA on

Over the last decade, less than 40% of Australian clients receiving treatment for their own substance use identified as female. On the surface, this uneven ratio of female to male clients could suggest that more men than women experience problematic substance use in Australia. However, a growing body of evidence indicates that there are differences in the experience of problematic substance use for individuals who are female or male.² Moreover, an individual’s gender³, may also impact the trajectory of their recovery from problematic substance use.

In her 2017 book, Woman of substances, Jenny Valentish explores the female experience of AOD use. In this research-memoir hybrid, Jenny artfully intertwines discussion of her own experiences...

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Everything Harder Than Everyone Else

By Jenny Valentish on

“Part of ultrarunning is a desire to be different. And for the drug addict, too, there is a deep need to separate ourselves from the crowd."

Where does hedonism end and endurance begin? That was the question that rose to the surface of the excitingly murky book I was writing, Everything Harder Than Everyone Else. A follow-up to my addiction memoir, Woman of Substances, this new book looked at some of the key drivers of addictive behavior—impulsivity, agitation, a death wish desire to drive the body into the ground—and the ways in which some people channeled them into extreme pursuits.

I interviewed a bare-knuckle boxer, a deathmatch wrestler, a flesh-hook suspension artist, a porn star-turned-MMA fighter, and more; all of them what I came...

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Why Victoria should review its response to drugs and decriminalise usage

By Fiona Patten on

The prestige of government has undoubtedly been lowered considerably by the (alcohol) prohibition law. For nothing is more destructive of respect for the government and the law of the land than passing laws which cannot be enforced. Albert Einstein, 1921

I know enough to be sure that what we now have is badly broken, ineffective, and even counterproductive to the harm minimisation aims of Australia’s national illicit drugs policy. Mick Palmer, 2017, a former Australian Federal Police commissioner.

Almost a century apart, one of the greatest intellects in human history and one of Australia’s leading law-enforcers expressed the same truth.

Halfway between those two evidence-based statements, the so-called “War on Drugs” was launched.


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Recovery Story - Tallulah

By SMART Recovery Australia on

What do you want to be when you grow up? Where do you see yourself at 40+?

“Oh, I want my life to be in tatters with my husband about to leave me and take our children because I have become an alcoholic”, … said no one EVER!!

When I was asked by the amazing team at SMART Recovery Australia to write about my journey to sobriety, I thought it would be simple. It turns out it is not, and procrastination (which I have been mastering and refining over the years, in alignment with my building addictions) helped me to find every excuse in the book to avoid it.

Well, 2020 is well and truly over and the anniversary of my first ‘real’ year of sobriety has passed, so I can no longer find a reason to avoid it.

This life is not what one dreams of...
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Recovery Story - Matt

By SMART Recovery Australia on

This story originally appeared in The Courier Newspaper on February 21, 2021

At the height of his reliance on alcohol, Matt Woodley became a master of hiding his drinking.

Cooking sherry became his alcohol of choice because it was easy to access and it was unlikely his wife Anoushka would check whether it was being consumed at a fast rate.

“There would always be a bottle in the cupboard and nobody monitors it,” Mr Woodley said.

His reliance on alcohol crept up on him in his early 30s after he stopped smoking cannabis.

Mr Woodley, who lives in Ballarat, said he took every opportunity when home alone to become intoxicated.

“If my wife started work and left at 6am that’s when I would start drinking.”

Mr Woodley, 47, said in addition to...

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Recovery Story - Nick

By SMART Recovery Australia on

[The views and opinions of authors expressed herein do not necessarily state or reflect those of SMART Recovery Australia.]


You know that feeling when you wake up after yet another ‘slip-up’, smothered in guilt and anxiety, swearing that you will never do it again? Then, a week later you’re at it again…?

Or, that feeling when you are presented with the two narrowest of options: give up everything you care about forever, or continue down the path you’re currently on – neither of which seem remotely sustainable…?

I’ve been there.

To hell and back.

To the same place you might be in now, and may have been many times.

Luckily, there is another way.

This story is for anyone who has ever tried to either quit alcohol and/or other...

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Recovery Story - A

By SMART Recovery Australia on

[The views and opinions of authors expressed herein do not necessarily state or reflect those of SMART Recovery Australia.]

I can’t remember exactly when I first made contact with SMART Recovery but it was a few years ago. I heard about it through my psychologist who was a SMART facilitator. I got that feeling you get when someone tells you about something they really believe in so I wanted to find out more.

Backing up a little … I guess I have always had a problematic relationship with alcohol. From my late teens I identified as someone who liked a drink but I also realised that my drinking had negative consequences that I didn’t like.

Many years before I reached out to SMART, my life had taken on an inverse relationship to alcohol. It...

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Life Beyond Addiction - Christopher Sullivan

By SMART Recovery Australia on

Hello! My name is Christopher Sullivan and I am recovering from my father’s alcoholism. The countless nights of grief and regret, of feeling like I could have prevented my father’s passing if I was more knowledgeable on addiction, led me to seek help from SMART recovery. SMART is helping me to fully understand what he was going through and discover ways in which I can help those who are experiencing what he went through. What was once complete ignorance on the topic of addiction, is now a sense of understanding and acceptance. I still have a ways to go in terms of learning about addiction and recovery, but I just know SMART will guide me through my life beyond my father’s addiction.

Please note: although SMART actively seeks to refrain...

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