“I feel like no one is immune to these things, you know?”
"There was a lot of factors that led up to it...but at the end of the day, domestic violence was the key thing that threw everything off the rails for me.
I’ve had a number of very violent relationships; it’s taken me a long time to come out of it. I was only 16 when I had my first child…just a kid myself. I have five children, now - my two youngest boys, five and six, were placed into care for the past year. I was in a long-term relationship with their father, and things were a little tough for us for a while...but I think when COVID came around, it really intensified the troubles in our relationship. Things turned quite volatile.
I wasn't working; there was no money, for a long time. I felt very oppressed. Having two young kids, there weren't a lot of opportunities for me to work, and I felt that there was a lot of pressure for me at home.
Certain things came hand in hand; when the DV started, it sort of led me to drug use. I haven't come from a background of addiction - my parents didn't even really drink, my mum never touched a drop in her life - but it was something I'd always struggled with. And when you mix those dependencies with domestic violence, it’s a recipe for disaster. My life just fell apart.
There was a lot of things happening at once, there was violence…and there were two young kids in amongst it all. The violence got to a point where we had to have child protection involvement; my two youngest kids were removed. Things just got out of control so quickly. It was really hard to actually recognise what was actually going on; there’s no bird’s eye view, being inside of it.
“When you're living it, you don't really see it…and you can't see out of it.”
But that was my big wake-up call. I’d lost my kids and was in a relationship that I didn't want to be in…so I finally walked out, with a small sports bag of my things. I managed to get into a rehab quite quickly; it was one of the things that I needed to do, to work towards getting my kids back, so I did that straight away. I spent about five months in rehab; I was really lucky to land in a place that was supportive in the way that I needed it to be.
I was about three months clean when I found Two Good; I feel like it was one of those meant-to-be things. I was in recovery and we had an ex-resident come in to talk about her journey with us; she had done the Work Work program, and she explained what Two Good was all about. She bought in some cookbooks and things like that, and spoke about how it had been part of her recovery journey.
After that, I ended up in another rehab doing a parenting program, and one of the girls there had just started a Work Work intake. She said, you should definitely do it too, it seems really cool, so that’s what made me finally make contact.
It was really nerve-wracking, that first time making contact with Daf; I just wasn’t sure of my own capabilities and I really wanted to get into the intake that this other lady was in. I had missed it just by a few days, but I started the Cook + Connect program on Saturdays - which was a really nice way to get familiar with the place and slowly get into the routine. I found it a lot easier to transition into Work Work, since I already knew my way around and where things went.
Things really started to change in a positive way for me. I really enjoyed it at Two Good, as hard as some days were. It was fairly easy work, but it can be quite difficult on the body - just being on your feet at day after having a break from the workforce. And I'm the sort of person that takes things to extremes and gives everything all my effort."