After years of denial, Michael Moroney finally faced his addiction.
Although drug addiction, including addiction to heroin, had landed Michael Moroney in serious trouble with the law in his teens, he managed to stay drug- free for a decade. However, he slipped in and out of addiction to various drugs and alcohol from his late 20s to his early 50s.
Michael felt that his life was on track because he owned his home and business (as an interstate truck driver) and didn’t have to break the law to find money to fuel his addiction. Also, his children had everything they needed—except a father.
‘Much of the time I was using drugs I was completely failing as a father,’ Michael recalls.
‘A lot of people in addiction don’t realise the flow-on to family and friends who you love and cherish and, almost inevitably, lose. It is a horrible, wicked disease that doesn’t discriminate. It destroys anybody who’s in its way,’ he says.
After his marriage of 24 years eventually crumbled, Michael went completely off the rails.
‘Gradually, I deteriorated; the bankruptcy court was involved and bailiffs took all our assets,’ Michael explains. He then moved to Townsville and found employment driving road trains to Perth, but says, ‘Whenever I would stop driving, I would drink.’
When Michael was hospitalised with serious heart problems, and with his family and finances in tatters, a hospital social worker suggested that he contact the Salvos’ Townsville Recovery Services Centre (RSC).
‘At first [I felt] that it was for somebody else, it wasn’t for me, because I was sure I had the answers and excuses as to why life had taken a bad turn. I’ve since come to learn that I’m not as smart as I thought I was,’ Michael says.
When he finally settled into what was to become 13 months as a client of Townsville RSC Michael embraced the Bridge program wholeheartedly.
‘I’d had a faith as a child and once I found strength in my “higher power”, which for me was once again recognising Jesus and the work he did, life suddenly seemed to make sense,’ he says.
When the opportunity to volunteer at a Salvo corps (church) arose, doing a range of chores, Michael took it. He also became very involved in the corps community and was soon offered some part-time work with the recovery service.
Michael has since been employed in the newly created role of aftercare support worker.
‘This role is to encourage people at the end of the program to participate in voluntary work, or sign up for job network agencies, attend support group meetings and help stay enthusiastic about being part of the community,’ Michael explains.
‘It’s not easy to get a job and people can get bruised by rejection and easily slip back into that dark mindset,’ he adds.
Michael is incredibly grateful to live a simple, ‘normal’ life and absolutely thrilled to be back in contact with his youngest daughter, who is working towards a career in the Australian navy.
‘My recovery process was such a wonderful thing. The view from where I’m standing at the moment is “panoramic” as opposed to the very dark outlook it was. I am so grateful,’ Michael says.
‘The Salvation Army saved my life and now I want to try to share that with others. They were the ones who were there when I stretched out my hand. They grabbed it and, without wanting any return for their effort, they gave and gave and gave, and for me that was such a fantastic thing to have experienced.’
As told to Naomi Singlehurst