You only fail if you give up!

Will you give a young person the gift of safety, hope and opportunity today?

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What were you doing at the age of 14?

You may have been working toward your intermediate school certificate, dreaming of getting your driver’s licence, living comfortably at home with three square meals a day and enjoying the carefree life of a kid. Michael wasn’t!

“Mum wasn’t well. There wasn’t food in the house so I stole her card just to buy the basics. There was no discipline or boundaries and I was out of control and expelled from school. I couldn’t live at home, so between the ages of 14 and 16, I lived on the streets. Drugs are part and parcel of that life.”

No safety. No hope. No opportunity.

Barely a teenager and without access to the basic human rights of food and shelter, his life was at risk.

“Living on the streets is dangerous. There was an attempt on my life and every day was a struggle. I became dependent on drugs to deal with everything going on around me, and I eventually developed a psychotic disorder and was hospitalised.”

Once discharged, and still homeless, Michael turned to couch surfing. This was no safer than living on the streets, with a further terrifying assault leaving him an exceptionally vulnerable and broken young man.

Most Australian children haven’t even finished Year 10 by this time in Michael’s life.

How could anyone judge Michael?

Our recent Don’t Judge Me awareness campaign highlighted the trauma that often hides behind drug and alcohol addiction. It invited us to consider the uncomfortable realities leading to many young people’s substance use.

Michael’s life was full of hurt, but it was going to get worse before he reached a turning point.

“Although I was now being treated for a serious mental illness, the doctor wasn’t keeping track of my medication so I ended up with a valium addiction. The paranoia and delusions kept coming so I drank more and more to quieten these destructive voices.”

Another violent episode finally made Michael realise he needed help. A family warrior stepped in. Michael wanted to detox, but he didn’t know where to start. His Nan took charge. As a registered nurse, she skillfully weaned him from his acute dependencies at her home.** Michael’s Nan had saved his life. Michael then applied to Triple Care Farm.

“The farm was a safe place to recover. It is very scary when you arrive, but in time you don’t want to leave. There is this sense of community… that you’re all in it together. Our stories may be different but our goals are the same.”

Michael had found the safety, hope and opportunity he’d been searching for.

The start of a brighter future

Michael had found safety. Triple Care Farm provided routine and structure, and combined with appropriate accommodation, he had time to engage in the holistic, innovative and evidence-based programs.

“Having a sense of purpose and responsibility had been missing my whole life. During the program I came to depend on it as part of my recovery.”

He had hope and a renewed sense of worth.

“I was no longer afraid to be my own person. I knew I was capable of doing anything I put my mind to.”

Michael spent time in the recording studio at Triple Care Farm. He didn’t know it then, but the opportunity to reconnect with his first love – music – would lead him toward tertiary study and an exciting career path.

A talented composer, Michael has provided this short piece of his work for you to enjoy. Titled My Dearest and performed by a string quartet, it is a dedication to his partner and contains music composed during his stay at Triple Care Farm.

“You only fail if you give up”

Every single young person who arrives at Triple Care Farm has a unique story.

Michael’s story was one of family breakdown, homelessness, neglect, violence, mental illness and drug addiction, all before the age of 18.

“I probably would have been in jail or possibly even dead (without Triple Care Farm). At the very least, I would have been wasting this precious life. When I first got to rehab I was in a really bad place.

“To be here from where I was is pretty amazing. You only fail if you give up.”

The support Michael received continued after he left the residential program, with the bond between Michael and his Aftercare worker Kurt (pictured left) still very tight to this day. Kurt was one of the many people who encouraged Michael to follow his dreams. Despite not finishing high school, today Michael is in the third year of his university degree at the Conservatorium of Music, lives independently with his loving girlfriend and has a renewed relationship with his mother.

A true testament to his resilience and determination!

Your support can change lives

Sadly, there are many other young Australians growing up without the luxury of safe homes and adequate support to study, thrive and build bright futures.

For a young person like Michael, Triple Care Farm can mean the difference between life and death.

We are so grateful for the support of our donors who ensure that life-saving drug and alcohol treatment programs continue to be available for other young people just like Michael when they need it.

As Christmas approaches,  we ask for your support to give the gift of safety, hope and opportunity to other young people like Michael. Every donation helps.  Please give today.


images have been altered to protect privacy

** David Martin Place – the medically supervised Withdrawal facility at Triple Care Farm opened in 2017 and did not exist at the time Michael received treatment. Learn more about the Withdrawal program here

All donations to Sir David Martin Foundation over $2 are tax deductible