Calvary’s ‘Set up for Success’ program an extra motivation for clients

“Motivation for myself, motivation for my recovery and motivation to stay clean.”

This is how 35-year-old Jackson Towney-Fox sums up Calvary’s ‘Set up for Success’ program; an initiative in its early days at Calvary’s Riverina Drug and Alcohol Centre (CRDAC) in Wagga Wagga.

Clients are encouraged to apply for a free laptop to help further or kick start their careers, so they can set themselves up for when they leave the centre and continue their recovery in the outside world.

Jackson is one of six clients to take part in Calvary’s ‘Set up for Success’ program, which commenced in March. To apply, clients submit a written application of 250 words or less describing how a laptop will help make a difference in their recovery and future.

Recovery is about so much more than no longer being reliant

Calvary Riverina Drug and Alcohol Nurse Unit Manager, Belinda Waugh, said it is wonderful to see the difference the initiative is already having on the lives of the centre’s clients.

“Recovery is about so much more than no longer being reliant on drugs or alcohol – it is about healing the whole person and letting them see they can live a fulfilling life once they walk out the centre’s doors,” Belinda said.

“Our clients are amazing people who just took a wrong turn in life. We recognise their strengths and the ‘Set up for Success’ program is a small way in which we can help provide the tools they need to pursue their dreams.”

For Jackson, who is currently studying his Certificate IV online in Community Services, his life is now something he didn’t think was possible when he walked through the doors of CRDAC on 25 January this year.

“My goal, before I came to CRDAC, was to just do three months, but that three months is up now and I’m still here, I’m still learning,” Jackson said.

“For a long time I have been thinking about what I could do to better myself and better my career, but I never really thought about doing what I’m doing now. I had no idea I would be able to do it.”

Jackson, born and bred in Cobram/Barooga on the Murray River, started using drugs at just 15 years old.

As he got older, his drug dependency got worse – turning to drugs to cope with his deteriorating mental health.

“I was using it to party, but I was mainly using it to numb my feelings – self medicate,” Jackson said.

He lost family, close friends, money, jobs, and ended up homeless at one point.

Just before Christmas, Jackson hit rock bottom. He realised, with the help of his sisters, he needed to get help. A month later he became an inpatient at CRDAC.

“There’s just so much help at CRDAC, so much professional help. It is around the clock, seven days a week, and there’s always staff to talk to or vent to. They’re just so helpful,” Jackson said.

Jackson hopes, by sharing his story, he will encourage others to put their hand up for help.

“If I can help one person out there, that will make a huge difference,” Jackson said.

“Unfortunately most people who are going through mental health issues don’t know what help is out there and, if they do know the help is there, they don’t know what steps to take to get that help. They just need some guidance.”

Support system is key to mental health

Jackson’s number one rule for looking after your mental health is to make sure you have a good support system.

“For the past 10 years I have just been self-medicating for my anxiety, but what I have done to myself has caused so much trauma and impact on others,” Jackson said.

“Calvary has helped so much. There’s just a lot of troubled people out there who don’t know where the help is or how to get it. If they know Calvary is there, hopefully they can push themselves to get the help they need.”

Jackson is just weeks away from completing his six-month residential treatment at CRDAC. Once he leaves, he will continue studying his Cert IV and hopes to one day be able to help young people struggling with addiction.

“I want to give back to the people that helped me and also be in a field that I am experienced in. I just hope I can inspire other people,” Jackson said.

The program also allows Calvary National Office to make an environmental contribution, giving laptops previously routinely recycled a second lease of life through the program.