Hayley came to Odyssey after decades of relying on drugs and alcohol to cope with her pain.

Hayley came to Odyssey after decades of relying on drugs and alcohol to cope with her pain.

She felt she had hit rock bottom; hopeless and lost. But today, Hayley’s life is completely different – for the better. Without the support from Odyssey, she has overcome her decade-long dependency and now lives a fulfilling life with her family and loved ones.

Hayley grew up in a small country town and she had a happy childhood. But when she was 15, her parents got divorced, and her life was turned upside down. Her mum moved to the city and Hayley stayed living with her dad. He had a dependency on alcohol and Hayley recalls he was often violent and unpredictable.

To cope with the stress and trauma of her situation, Hayley turned to drugs and alcohol; a habit that she’d witnessed her dad relying on throughout her childhood. At first, it was a way to escape the pain. Before long, she became reliant.

She dropped out of school, and her relationships with her friends and family deteriorated.

She started getting in trouble with the law and ended up in and out of rehab for several years.

It wasn’t until Hayley found Odyssey in her mid-twenties that she started her recovery journey. The staff at Odyssey helped her confront her trauma and develop coping mechanisms that didn’t involve drugs or alcohol.

These life changes broke the cycle of generational substance use in her family. She was able to finish her school education through Odyssey College, later graduated from TAFE, and then landed a job as a youth worker.

Today, Hayley is 32, and she has been sober for seven years.

We asked Hayley what she would tell her younger self:

“I would tell myself that I’m stronger than I think, and that I don’t need drugs or alcohol to get through tough times.

“I would tell myself to seek help earlier and not be afraid to ask for it.

“And most importantly, I would tell myself that there is hope and a better life waiting for me on the other side of addiction. And although getting sober might seem impossible now, there are people (like Odyssey) who can help.”

Hayley’s story is just one example of how substance use can take hold and spiral out of control. Often substance use affects not only the individual, but their loved ones and entire communities.

It’s a cycle we’re determined to break.