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Elli: "I had a purpose in life again"

Elli, a Triple Care Farm graduate, recently conquered her fear of public speaking and shared her story in front of a bunch of strangers. 

This is her story:

Before I went to rehab I felt like a potato. Life felt bland. I felt isolated, powerless. I was lost and not on the path I wanted to be on. Life felt meaningless.

I was dependent on drugs and alcohol when life hit a breaking point which is when I ended up at Triple Care Farm.

When I first went to Triple Care Farm I found it daunting and I wanted to leave. I felt like I didn’t fit in and I was really angry but then the counselling, Dialectical Behavioural Therapy group and art therapy really helped me deal with that and gain a new perspective on things.

Art therapy was my absolute favourite part of the program. Art therapy enabled me to express myself through art and find my voice for the first time. It built my self esteem and confidence to find something that I was good at and passionate about. Art is something I stopped doing when I was on drugs and alcohol but it was great to have the art therapist discover that talent in me and encourage me to pursue it.

I felt like I had a purpose in life again – something to offer the world.

While I was at Triple Care Farm I did things I never thought I would do – like make a coffee table in woodwork and abseil face first off a 33 story building for Abseil for Youth, get involved in social activities like the gym circuit class and now give a speech in front of a bunch of strangers.

Some of my greatest achievements through the program have been developing patience and persistence. This has assisted me in persisting in difficult tasks and achieving my goals. One of my biggest challenges before Triple Care Farm was being easily triggered into distress however I can now identify those triggers and manage them through healthy techniques such as journalling, art, self-talk and exercise.

Triple Care Farm gave me a wide range of skills to deal with the challenges of life. I can see a lot of positive changes within myself as a result of my stay at the farm. I’ve seen that good old friend anxiety decrease, my speech communication and vocabulary skills have improved exponentially. 

I’ve acquired lots of new coping strategies which I use in place of drugs and alcohol. I learnt to trust the people that were there to help me and the support of the Triple Care farm workers made a huge difference to my recovery.

My aftercare worker is awesome. She helped me form a solid foundation to ensure my transition to the outside world would be successful. She helped me find housing and an art course at TAFE which I am really excited about.

Now I am living in a semi-independent refuge where I am learning to stand on my own two feet outside of the rehab bubble. I am learning practical living skills as well as personal development. I am studying an art course at TAFE which has been possible thanks to the scholarship that I received from Sir David Martin Foundation.

Finding my purpose in art has been fundamental to my recovery and I am so grateful that I had that opportunity to discover that at Triple Care Farm. As a part of the art therapy program I created an art portfolio which gave me a sense of accomplishment and improved my self worth. I donated some artworks to a few charitable causes. One of them gained a big price and boosted my confidence – that other people would pay so much for my work but I also love that I could give back to the art program because that is where the funds were donated. I’ve had my artwork on display at an exhibition out of which I sold a couple of artworks so I feel like a legit artist now.

Looking back from the first day at Triple Care Farm to where I am now – I’ve evolved from being a potato into a commissioned artist. Thank you!

Read more about Elli’s art journey in this article, Highlands artist paints her way to recovery, published in The Southern Highlands News.