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From Gutter to Glory

Success stories from Bayside Transformations

Ice destroys lives. It tears families apart. But Joshua Alsop and Zack Walthall are living proof that the destruction caused by a methamphetamine addiction does not have to be the end of the line.

The two Hervey Bay men both checked in to Bayside Transformations Rehabilitation Centre during 2018 and have successfully ditched their addictions and turned their lives around. Both men have reconnected with their loved ones, citing a love for their families as the driving force behind their recovery.

Zack and Josh share a story of hitting rock bottom and losing everything important in their lives, but the two men had very different paths leading them through the gates of Bayside Transformations.

Zack, 24, came from a stable home and with consistency and routine.

“I had everything that a kid would need to stay on track. Despite this, I always had a sense of not fitting in. I lived and breathed rugby league, but I always felt I had to perform to feel like I belonged.”

Zack said he started smoking cigarettes and drinking alcohol in the early years of high school and dropped out of school in Year 9. A few years later he’d given up everything, including sport, for drugs.

“I first touched methamphetamines when I was 16. At the time it was a good uplift, I could socialise, I was more confident, but this was only short-lived. A couple of years down the track, I was in jail and had lost all my family. I had DVOs from my mother who was the biggest support in my life. I was stealing from my brothers and my dad – my whole moral compass was lost through the drugs.”

Zack said he first came into the Bayside Transformations program in 2016 but left prematurely after 8 months.

“I went back out there and the drugs got worse and worse. It got to point where I didn’t care who found out, I’d lost my sense of worth completely.

“Now I’m here for the second time and I’ve been awakened to what’s important in my life – my family, myself, and people who are lost in the world.

“What I put my family through is horrific, I wish it never happened but I can’t go back in time. They’ve forgiven me and I’ve forgiven myself.”
Zack said he was in the last two stages of the program which were about serving and helping others.

“Addiction robs you blind, it robs who you are and your family. I can see it from the outside now and I won’t go back to that. I’m passionate about helping people come out of what I’ve been through.”

Josh, 35, is one of Bayside Transformations’ most recent graduates. In contrast to Zack’s story, Josh said he came from an unstable home after his father left and his mother partnered with an abusive alcoholic.

“I didn’t want to be at home so I stayed out. I started smoking at 9 which lead to smoking pot at school at 13,” Josh said.

“I was selling pot at school and was kicked out of school at 14. My family put me on a trawler which is the worst thing they could have done. I got into methamphetamines and hid that through my job.

“I had a relationship and kids. She was a good partner, not a user, but I turned into that devil stepfather I had. She stayed with me as long as possible but left, and through my addictions I lost my kids to child safety.

“I was a single father to one of my girls, but I was producing methamphetamines in my own house and was raided. They took my daughter away from me, which was fully understandable.

Josh said at this point he’d lost everything.

“I’d worked so hard to get my daughter. Only 18 months ago I was in hospital weighing 52kg. In hospital they said to ring here, I had been to Bayside Transformations in 2015 but only lasted four days. But they had planted a seed and I returned.

“I was still rattled but I fully surrendered to the process. I needed that help, I was broken and out of control. What God has done in my life, what this place has done in my life – I’ve now got my kids back in my life, I’ve got my licence and I’m completing a Diploma in Alcohol and Other Drugs. This is opening doors to paid jobs, but for now I’m happy to volunteer and give back to what saved my life.

“To have my family back in my life and rebuild those relationships is the biggest thing for me. It’s heartbreaking to see the damage we have done but when we are stuck in addiction we don’t see it because we are numbing the pain.”

Josh is now Bayside Transformation’s House Supervisor. He stays on the premises and looks over the guys.

“One the greatest thing about Bayside Transformations is watching people change. We see them come in broken and watch them blossom like a flower. They find out who they really are. The DVOs get lifted, families start strolling in and they start rebuilding those relationships,” Josh said.

Zack said the term ‘from gutter to glory’ rang so true in the rehabilitation program.

“People come straight off the street, they are spiritually, mentally and physically spent. Some of the transformations we see are just inspiring – we see people take accountability for their own lives and want change for themselves,” Zach said.

“These transformations are from the inside out. You’ve got to start on the inside and only then will you start to the exterior change around you as well.”

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