by Paxton Roth
WAYNE Russell's life was in turmoil when he walked through the doors in April last year to begin his journey with the Transformations Program.
The 48-year-old had battled with substance abuse and addiction since he was a teen before it finally landed him in jail in 2015.
"At about 13 I started with alcohol and then progressed on through the years until I started using heroin at about 20,” he said.
"I maintained a job through all that time until I was about 24 and I was able to keep my addictions hidden from everybody.
"Then from about 24 to 35 I was just out of control; I moved from heroin to amphetamines and I spent a lot of time in court, a lot of time on parole orders.”
The proud father has come a long way since he began the residential program, designed for the treatment of drug and alcohol dependency, depression, eating disorders and other life-altering conditions.
"I came straight from jail into the program and I really struggled coming from a dog eat dog mentality - I just wanted to fly under the radar but this program doesn't allow you to do that,” Wayne said.
"It squeezes you and brings out everything. It's built to change our behaviours.”
Wayne will officially graduate at a ceremony this Sunday but said it had been a very long road.
"Over the 12 months here I got my family back, I met my grand kids and I got in contact with my birth mum - it all came just at the right time,” he said.
"When you stop using you have this big hole and you don't know what to fill it with. Normally we'd fill it with the wrong things but I feel now that I can do things.
"Having to open up and be honest with myself was the biggest thing. Being honest that that life is over now and that chapter of my life is gone.”
Wayne said the journey forward wouldn't be easy but he wanted to give back to the place that saved his life.
"The program is really low on sponsorship - at the moment we're just sponsoring ourselves,” Wayne said.
"I'm going to try and get out into the community and start asking the community to help.”
For more information, visit transformation.net.au or contact Centre3sixteen on 31423238.