I came to Odyssey House when I was angry and aggressive towards the world, and now I’m not. The world isn’t out to get me anymore.

Marco’s problems started early on with his parents’ separation, when he started using drugs at the age of 12. At 15, he was already working long hours and having a few drinks every day at the end of each shift and a few ‘party’ drugs on the weekend. Marco says everything was ‘just normal’ until he had complications from an operation and had to undergo further surgery.

The long recovery from his surgery led to a gradual addiction to the medication he had been given as a result of the operation.

Marco began drinking heavily and coupled with his medication, this led to panic attacks and major anxiety. It was around this time his girlfriend died from a drug overdose and he lost his driving licence because of his drinking.

Marco’s life was spiralling out of control and he didn’t know what else to do, so he turned to drugs.

Marco came to Odyssey House Victoria and stayed in the residential rehabilitation program for six months. He says that at this stage he hadn’t fully accepted that he needed help and left the program not believing that he really needed to change. He still blamed other people for what had happened to him.

Going back out into the wider community enabled Marco to pick up where he had left off. His drug taking and his risk taking increased. He started to inject himself.

His life was falling apart. His Mum had taken out an intervention order against him, he had lost his job and couldn’t function on a day-to-day basis because of his drug and alcohol use. Eventually he realised that he was the one who needed to change his behaviour. After 10 months he reapplied to go back to Odyssey House. This time, he was ready.

After a further 18 months, Marco completed the Odyssey House Residential Program and received further support from Odyssey House while living in the community. He is now living with some of his peers (who went through the program alongside him), working full time and is excited about the future.

He says: ‘This place [Odyssey House] has given me the tools to deal with anything.’

Marco wants to help people who have addictions after Odyssey House helped him. ‘I don’t want to just plod along,’ he says. ‘It’s now about the long term, not just the day-to-day like before.’

*Names have been changed to protect identities.