My palms still go sweaty when I think back to that terrifying experience three decades ago. I can see the flames roaring through my house as I tried to escape the unbearable heat.

By some miracle, my courageous wife managed to get me out… but just barely. Then I lost consciousness, and the when I came around I was tucked up in a hospital bed with my entire body wrapped in bandages.

I could scarcely believe when my wife then told me I had sustained 3rd degree burns to 35% of my body. She sobbed as she whispered that doctors had declared me medically dead… but somehow I had clung to life.

What followed next was a blur as my life came crashing down. For ten years I went on a path of self-destruction – unable to deal with my situation. I got addicted to alcohol, drugs and food. I stumbled from one day to the next feeling completely lost and confused.

As they say “The journey of a thousand miles starts with the first step”. My first step was to turn to Holyoake. At the time one of my drinking buddies suggested we have a bet and do a program at Holyoake. Still in denial, I knew deep down that my life was a mess. On the outside I looked ok as a high performing drunk; I had a good business, big house, nice car… but inside was a different story.

Holyoake helped me confront the reality. The counselling I received helped me to see the light at the end of the tunnel. I completed the program twice and while I did slip back to my old ways occasionally, I was well on the road to recovery thanks to Holyoake’s care and guidance.

I have come a long way since. I now harness the strength of my life experiences to help others. As a yoga teacher, personal trainer and nutritionist, I support others to make the most of life. I am at peace, in love with life and the people who surround me.

If you are reading this now and feel life is not quite what you’d like it to be, don’t be too harsh on yourself. Remember there is always hope – don’t give up. Perhaps someone you care about may be going through a rough time. Places like Holyoake are always there to offer support with their vast experience. So reach out, and trust that life always offers a second chance.

If you or someone you care about needs help with alcohol, other drugs and related mental health issues, please call 08 9416 4444 or click here for more information.