The following is a collection of stories, observations, poems and reflections from people who have undertaken a journey of change through Odyssey House Victoria. The names of these people have been changed to protect their privacy.
“It’s nice to have some freedom from the confines of myself, to let go of negativity and feel the peace flow from within, to be aware and able to move forward, to be happy.
“It’s been a long and hazardous journey from the innocent, ignorant happiness of a child that can still feel the excitement of a new life and world to explore. Through the distress of rejections and resentments of never being good enough, seeing this hell of earth, where good people are tramples in the worldwide race to make it to the top, to be number one and have all the power. Through the numbness of substance addiction into the downward spiral to insanity and the thump as you hit rock bottom and realise that there’s nothing left of the promise that once was, none of it was real anyway.
“There are two options when you first hit bottom. You can lay there and wallow in the pain, waiting for life to end or you can choose to start the journey up and out of the darkness, back into the light that was once seen and felt. I chose the second option after the shock of the fall wore off.
“It wasn’t easy. I had to hold on tight and pull myself up inch by inch. I had to “keep my bum in the seat” as they say, but sure enough, each day that went by, each inch that I gained, it became easier and easier to make that next move. Onward and upward. Back into sanity and back into the warm glowing light at the top of the hole. Now I can feel that light on my skin, now I’ve started to feel that original happiness again, although it’s not so ignorant anymore. I’ve been places and seen things that a lot of people couldn’t imagine. And I’ve survived so far and I wouldn’t change a thing about any of it because it’s proof to me that the good guys can win and without this journey I would never have been able to find the peace and freedom I now have.
“I’m not saying that my journey is over, and I’m not saying that it’s all going to be sunshine and rainbows from here on out, but at least I can enjoy it to some degree now, and at least I made it out of the numbness and insanity. That’s freedom to me. And, in my opinion, that’s all that matters.”
Barefoot is a short writing piece by Kirby, a young woman aged 15, who grew up in the chaos of a mother with bipolar disorder and an injecting drug problem. In the midst of this, Kirby finds a secure attachment in a family friend named Barefoot. Barefoot would often bring groceries when there were none, make preparations for Christmas when there were none or ensure Kirby had her birthday acknowledged. Kirby writes of her grief after Barefoot himself succumbed to a drug overdose.
In theory, each individual’s life is a novel.
As I think of my chapters so far,
I always seem to find myself stuck,
In the chapters entailing you.
Despite the long years that have passed by,
I still feel as though it was yesterday,
I was sitting on your knee.
As bad as things were,
As bad as you were,
Everything troubling around me froze when,
Your company was present.
Now it’s all the past though,
I keep revising over old chapters,
I thought the future held more chapters,
My knight in shining armour.
Sometimes I would blame you,
However now I see that it wasn’t out of the regular.
It was the same routine as every other day,
It was probably bad luck,
Maybe it was Karma?
I just keep telling myself,
Everything happens for a reason.
And here’s a secret just for you…
I’ve memorized every detail, every moment,
Every breath you ever took when featured in my life’s novel.
And now I breathe you in,
With your name branded on my heart,
Until my novel is finished,
And I too will be with you.
Kirby is being supported by Odyssey House Victoria’s Youth Team. Kirby has copyright for this work. The work is being used with Kirby’s consent.