When Hans walked into Streetlevel, it was the beginning of his walk out of addiction.
Five years ago, I was in the grip of full-blown addiction. I was hooked on speed, ice and marijuana, and the toll it was taking was far more than just a physical one.
I remember walking around aimlessly, with nowhere to go and nothing to do with my time. I was trapped in a spiral of negative thinking, and all that mattered was getting my next hit.
It was a Salvo officer (minister) who told me that there was a place down the street where I’d be welcomed and that would provide me with a safe place to be.
At the Brisbane Streetlevel Mission, I found a place where I could get away from my addiction, even for a brief time. More than that, I found a community, and the company of people who understood the things I was struggling with. Many of them were battling addiction too, and being able to walk alongside them has made a huge difference to my life.
I now take part in the SOAP group, which stands for Scripture, Observation, Application and Prayer. The group takes a verse from the Bible and talks about how it applies to our lives, writing down the thoughts that it provokes. It’s proved extremely beneficial, often allowing participants to identify problems that we were completely unaware of—and start to deal with them.
For me, it’s all about getting alongside people, and seeing what is going in their life. The only thing is that I need to remember to be mindful of not getting too enthusiastic, but trying to engage with people at the level they are at.
But that enthusiasm springs from the simple fact that my life has been transformed by Christ so radically, and I just want to see others experience the same joy that I have found. From having nothing to do and nowhere to go, I’m now living a fuller life.
As well as spending time at Streetlevel socialising with my new friends, and helping others, I play in a band. The gospel music we play is different than anything I’d experienced before, and the uplifting message has brought a sense of wellbeing into my life that was lacking.
I’ve also had the opportunity to give back to the community. The Salvos have provided me with training as a barista, and made me a coordinator, looking after the mission’s coffee van that goes out into the community and helps raise money for the program.
I no longer live an aimless life. My next goal is to work for the Salvos full-time and help others find the new life that God has given me.
First appeared in Others magazine