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  1. #1

    Smile My story of recovery from smothering suicidal thoughts with drugs to being a Drug & Alcohol Recovery Coach

    I came off drugs before I knew anything about SMART but coincidentally created something similar for myself, which was a lucky accident. Below is the story of how I got into drugs and alcohol and the motivating factors that extracted me from the dead-end I was walking down at the time


    My childhood broke my confidence and my spirit down. My mother was a troubled and stressed single mother who was emotionally unavailable. Teachers often were more concerned with finding out what was ‘wrong’ with me than with catering to my educational needs. In their quest to find out what was ‘wrong’ they discovered I was “gifted”. I wished that “gift” away so often, as it separated me from my peers who could not understand or relate to me.

    The final straw that broke my emotional back was when my mother got into a relationship with a man who really wanted to be a father figure to my brother and me. He had red hair like me, he was sensitive and kind and a little different like me. He had met my mother at work and admired her for years. She told me he had been a ward of the state and had low self-esteem due to surviving child abuse, which made me feel very sympathetic to him. She had started this relationship as a kind of revenge when she split up for a time with a long term partner, who was also emotionally
    unavailable to us. Being so young I didn’t really understand what was happening, I was just so happy to feel like someone wanted to care for me.

    When she went back to her long term partner, as I would have known was inevitable had I not been a naïve 12 year old, we were pulled out our beds after midnight and bundled into a car. When the car pulled to a stop, I saw a car crashed into a concrete power pole. Sitting sideways in the driver’s seat was a man crying his eyes out. It was the man I had so wanted to be my father, and he had made a suicidal gesture or attempt. Sitting there, eyes wide and mouth agape, my heart and my brain broke in the same instant. I was so connected with and identified so much with this man I felt I had also been cast aside into darkness.

    It had all been too much. I became depressed, dissociative and suicidal for years after this. I wrote about death in my diary and hoarded asprin packets under my bed. Now, as someone who is trained in reacting to suicidal people I know how dangerous this was, not only did I have the motivation but I had also acquired the means. Snooping in my room my mother had found these. She screamed at me about it, obviously she cared, but she was ill equipped to take the next steps.

    I became pretty heavily involved with drugs and alcohol during high school and early adulthood to numb my pain. I had no confidence in myself, no internal stability, and very little support. I managed to complete university but was almost homeless several times during this period and my mother was unwilling to provide a bed for me for any longer than a couple of weeks at a time.

    But university built me back up in so many ways. I got high marks when I put effort in. I met lecturers who were quirky and smart but also HAPPY. I learned so much about the world and how it works. I developed an insatiable knowledge for the systems in society that hold people down and those that can also elevate them. I was able to quit doing drugs and drinking excessively and do the emotional work to let go of my anger. When I left university I made a pact with myself - I would leave the world a better place than it was when I had entered it. I would DO SOMETHING about all the pain I had felt and seen around me.

    To do this I went into community services and worked with a lot of people with experiences like mine and much, much worse. I coached them to rebuild their lives. I helped them prioritise the many components of their welfare and facilitated them into drug detox, into community housing, into work, into medical treatment, whatever it was they needed. I held their hand when they wanted to relapse on drugs and alcohol. I helped them understand what made them unique and special, and that they were more than what their families, school or society had labelled them as. I helped them master the emotional triggers that caused them to self-sabotage. I was so good at this I was promoted to management 9 months after starting work at my last place of employment. I helped my company win one award and was a finalist myself for another. I am now taking my well-honed skills into my own business as a Drug & Alcohol Recovery Coach.

    My take away message is this; that if I could take myself from being willing to end my life at 15 to being successful in business and in life, finding my confidence and my joy, anyone can!

    Thank you for reading,

    Achieve Counselling and Coaching

  2. #2


    Thank you for posting your story, Jessamine. I found it to be very inspiring and encouraging, and I wish you continued success.

    Like you, I was identified and placed in "gifted" education as a child, and like you I believed that my "giftedness" was the source of my unhappiness. When I began using drugs, I did so with the intention of destroying my mind in an effort to be normal. So I see some similarities between our stories and related to a lot of what you wrote. I am very happy to know that you are doing as well as you are.

  3. #3


    Funny, I had the same problems as a child. I was constantly told that I wasn't living up to my potential. I was so defiant and dismissive of school that I put very little effort into it, and why would I? If the expectation for me was excelling at school, not even perfect grades would gain me praise. I had a terrible home life, so school was my time to escape, I'd bring my own books and read while teachers yammered on. Never did homework, it was beneath me, besides, I knew the material, I was aceing my tests. High school for me just felt like discipline camp. It wasn't about learning the things you should learn to graduate high school, it was about doing what you were told.

    I'm not claiming to be a genius, far from it. I am gifted in certain areas(great memory, able to find the interesting in nearly any topic, love to learn), but I took those meager gifts and projected an arrogance and feigned more intelligence than I really had from a very young age. I'm sure it was the constant barrage of family calling me "smart" that made that an ideal I felt I had to live up to. Calling someone smart is the same as complimenting someone's beauty, you're giving them praise for being born a certain way, and I believe that can have a strong impact on a persons self identity(how they think others perceive them). Would you rather be identified by your genetics or your accomplishments?

  4. #4


    No person or outside entity dictates my self-worth. Only I do.

  5. #5


    way to go, very touching. I like the part when you! were able to help other people.

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