Alex | Shalom House
I’m 29-years-old and this is my testimony. I was born in Port Hedland, Western Australia. I’m the second oldest to my brother and I have loving parents who are still married.
My story, to be honest, started on Valentine’s Day 1999 when my brother was tragically killed/taken in a car accident. His funeral day is also my 12th birthday. There are no excuses for the actions that follow this day or the sinful nature that I led. However, losing Shane made me feel scared, helpless and afraid to be hurt again.
As I moved into my teenage years, my sinful ways began by smoking cigarettes and drinking alcohol as all the popular, cool kids were doing on weekends and after school. By 15, 16 I was smoking cigarettes full time and drinking any chance I could get away with it from my mother and father.
At the end of year 10 I finished school with average grades and was fortunate enough to get a refrigeration and air conditioning apprenticeship. This is where pot was introduced to me for the first time on a regular base by the older guys at work. Also, my so-called mates had also began smoking pot as I grew up in the back then in a small coastal town of Yanchep, Two Rocks, which is located about 50km north of Perth, where cray fishing and surfing was a big part of my town.
By the second year of my apprenticeship I was smoking pot and drinking daily, still hiding everything from my parents as best as I could. Later in life, they told me that they knew something wasn’t right as my attitude and outlook on life had slowly changed. As I moved into the last year of my apprenticeship, my father had offered me a job working up North under him with Rio Tinto and I gladly accepted.
I quit my old habit of pot so I could pass a drug test and move to Karratha. As I became an adult, things looked okay from the outside looking in. I had a good job, nice car and a house to live in and always a big smile on my face. My life, I thought at that stage, was going okay as well. Boy, was I wrong. The smoking of pot had stopped due to drug testing but I substituted it with synthetic cannabis (chronic) and this is where life really started to change.
Methamphetamine was introduced to me at the pub one night in Karratha and from then on, I have never been able to quit smoking it. It was the most addictive drug I have ever touched as I was hooked after the first time of trying it. I had to leave the best job I ever had in my life because of the embarrassing behaviour on this mad cocktail of drugs I was addicted to.
Also, the disappointment and embarrassment it put on my father as he was my boss at the time and the person that got me that fantastic job. Mum and dad’s relationship was put to the test due to my dreadful nature. I packed up my belongings and went travelling around Australia with a mate, destroying towns as quickly as we arrived in them. Port Hedland, Broome, Darwin, Cairns and Townsville, just to name a few. By the time I got back to Yanchep, I had wrecked every opportunity in my life to drugs first and life, now known as Jesus Second.
I was given a new start once again with my parents, but found myself back in the old ways of drugs, crime and thinking the world had the problems and not me. Mum and dad took me back in as I had nowhere to go. Shortly after moving in with my parents, they asked me to move out as the same cycle started all over again. Except mum and dad where different this time.
They said to me:
“Alex, we love you very much but you have to move out of our home as you aren’t following and obeying the house rules, no drugs on our property and no uninvited guests! We’re not going to support you in anyway, please don’t ring for money. We’re happy to talk to you, but that’s all son.”
So, of course, I told them it was all their fault and they had just lost another child. I thought at the time it was everyone’s fault around me, but mine. I moved in with my high school sweetheart Kelly, as I lied and told her I was doing much better in life and had come back to Yanchep to be the child I always wanted to be and look after my parents. To be honest I can’t even remember half the crap I’ve told the only woman I have ever loved.
It wasn’t long before the same cycle had happened again, hiding my addictions from her for 7-8 months as I was so ashamed and embarrassed to show her the person I had really became, a full-time drug addict.
I eventually told her about the meth use and she asked me to leave her home as drugs weren’t allowed there either. I had become homeless. I knew this was the end of the road for me.
I remember an SMS my mother and father had sent me saying, “Son, if you want to really change your life then give this person Peter a call and he can help you, but son only call him if you really want to change your life”.
So, I sent Peter an SMS thinking ‘Superman’ was going to respond straight away, but he didn’t at all. So, I tried calling seven or eight more times as his phone kept going through to message bank.
When Peter finally answered, he told me to ring back as I was bombed out. I rang him the next morning after getting some sleep and he told me “If you want to come and talk to me, then be at my office at 4.30pm or don’t come at all and don’t call me ‘your mate’”, then he hung up the phone.
I arrived at the Swan Valley office with my parents’ good friends at 2pm. I was thankful that Peter was available to talk to me and it wasn’t long into our meeting when I realised this was the place for me.
Peter accepted me into the program, this was a blessing as nowhere else would take me in and I am so thankful.
I have been at Shalom House for three months now and I can honestly say that my life has done a complete 180 degrees — 15 years of addiction to drugs, crime and now my foundation is stronger than 29 years of darkness.
The key I found in life is not to be on the throne of your own life but let Jesus Christ have full control and never give up faith to seek his face.
I love Christ and this beautiful new life that he has given me. I’d like to say thanks to my counsellor Michael, Shalom staff, all the residents, Peter Lyndon-James and of course Jesus Christ my Saviour.
If you have any words of encouragement for Alex, you can post them on Shalom House’s Facebook post.