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One of Michael’s significant early milestones was grim: as a toddler, he almost drowned after falling into a pond in the Central West of NSW.
The rest of his childhood was also traumatic: beatings, an alcoholic mother and a predatory stepfather.
“By the time I was 18, I was an addict. By 19, I could see how it was making me a desperate person.”
But this year things are different. For the first time, Michael will be celebrating the festive season drug-free in his own home, thanks in part to the support of the Haymarket Foundation.
When Michael came to the Haymarket Foundation in 2020, he was ready to end almost two decades of drug use, homelessness and incarceration.
“Staff have time to spend with you and really understand you,” he notes. “You are not treated like a number.
“The Haymarket Foundation is the gold standard of recovery.”
Early this year, staff helped him find an apartment in Ashfield: he’s since been attending daily recovery meetings.
“A house has meant having responsibility, independence and self-confidence. It has lifted my self-esteem.”
Michael now hopes to become a forklift driver.
“What really changed for me is that drugs don’t make me happy any more. I just want a job and to be part of a community,” he says.
He hopes sharing his story might inspire others to get help.
“Life gets better and better,” he smiles: “Change is possible.”
You can help make a difference to people like Michael with a tax-deductible gift to break the cycle of homelessness and despair.
– Thank you for your generosity and kindness.
Photo credit: Joel Pratley