May 20, 2021
A Portland woman who has been drug-free since 2016 has won Western Region Alcohol and Drug Centre (WRAD)’s inaugural short story competition to showcase recovery from addiction.
Judge Paul Jennings said separating the entries was “an incredibly difficult task. “All the entries were moving and often heartbreaking,” Mr Jennings said.
WRAD Director Geoff Soma said the stories revealed brave, insightful and personal windows into the lives of people who engage in recovery.
Shae Husson’s winning entry, Recovery, detailed her descent into drug use after asking a friend for a few joints to help her sleep, which quickly escalated into an ice addiction.
Her turnaround started when a tough but fair policeman “treated me like a human”, prompting her to take up her family’s support and to consult a drug counsellor.
“I’m not going to lie and say that recovery is easy; it isn’t,” Ms Husson wrote in her story. “It’s hard to ask for help, sometimes it’s hard to give help too, but it’s the most worthwhile thing you will do,” she said.
Second place was awarded to Who Am I? by Ebony Bennett. “Who am I? I am a fighter, a survivor and an addict that found her way to recovery and happiness,” Ms Bennett wrote.
“Don’t give up on yourself, forget counting how many times you fall, that number is irrelevant- it’s how many times you get back up and try again that matters!
Ms Bennett has now landed her dream job as a trainee youth worker.
Third place went to I Can’t Believe It by George Hansford of Mortlake who tells how his son left behind a world of drugs to help him after an industrial accident.
“I’m a proud Dad, a father to a remarkable man,” he wrote. “To me, he is a real champion, a giant of a man.”
A special award presented by Mr Jennings went to Warrnambool’s Jonathan Thomas for The Warden’s Voice. Mr Jennings said the entry was very moving and cleverly used a prison cell and warden as a metaphor for overcoming addiction.
The winners shared $2500 prize money and WRAD selected an additional 14 entries to receive encouragement awards.
Mr Soma said the competition had helped to generate discussion and understanding about addiction issues.
“Discussing addiction helps to destigmatise the problems and to show people that it is a health issue that could affect anyone in the community. These stories also show that treatment works,” he said.
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The WRAD Centre’s vision is to advance the health and wellbeing of those in the South Western Region of Victoria affected by Addictive behaviours and to promote optimal enjoyment of life.
The WRAD Centre seeks to provide comprehensive, holistic support and treatment to individuals and others affected by addictive behaviors and associated issues.
The philosophy of harm minimisation underpins the delivery of all programs offered by WRAD. This principle recognises that people in our society use both licit and illicit drugs, and that drugs can be used in ways that are more or less harmful to individuals, families and society. Harm minimisation offers a number of options designed to reduce the harm of drug use to the user and society.
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