A two-way healing

January 18, 2019

Dave was part of a group from the Salvos’ Dooralong Transformation Centre (NSW) recovery service that recently travelled to Quambone to support drought-affected farmers. 




Last year I went as a participant in the Dooralong program; this year, having completed the program, I was a peer mentor.

We helped farmers who were so busy hand-feeding their animals they had to ignore other jobs around their properties. We helped fix fencing damaged by mobs of starving kangaroos (also responsible for eating anything that grows before livestock can get to it), we helped build a farm shed and did many more jobs that had been left behind due to feeding needs.

Farming families are very proud of their land and see it very much as their responsibility to care for their land and their animals. This bond to the land is generational, so to see their animals dying has taken a hard toll emotionally and physically. 

But this trip didn’t just help the farmers. There was an amazing duality going on. On one side you have these farmers in drought receiving much-needed help and on the other side you have people early in recovery from addiction getting back in touch with their true Christian hearts. 

While the main focus was on helping farmers, it also did so much for those in recovery. These are people who have often lost touch with their servant heart to do things for other people, lost that connection to others because of addiction, trauma, hard living and isolation.

It was at this point I surrendered and let God carry me.

While out bush you could see (what I believe to be) their true natures coming out—excited about helping farmers, pitching in, getting sweaty, pulling their weight and helping others up out of the dirt.

Both trips to Quambone were also very special spiritually. In the evening after dinner we’d all discuss readings out of the Bible; it was nice sitting back in the dark in the bush... I felt the Holy Spirit among us as truths were told.

It was all a really effective part of the recovery process—and recovery is a process. I drank for many years just to feel normal. At a very early age I felt totally different, like something was missing, and I was always looking for the little tricks that would make me feel whole and help me fit in. Alcohol made that feel effortless. Eventually I would drink until I passed out, was knocked out or locked up. The guilt and shame around that was incredible. 

I went to Dooralong, then relapsed. At that point I could see no future—I was so filled with brokenness and the darkness was so deep. I was as close (to suicide) as I have ever been. I got on my knees and prayed. I was in such confusion; I said, “I need to go back to Dooralong. Lord, get me back there!” 

It was at this point I surrendered and let God carry me.

I’ve now finished the program. There was a lot in my past, but the slate has been wiped clean by Jesus, and there is no turning back.

As told to Naomi Singlehurst



Tags: Salvation Army Australia

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Vol. 139, No. 14 // 11 April 2020

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