Singing my way to a better life

Three years ago, I returned to Australia after living overseas for a year. My family was so excited to see me, but I had changed… I had developed a dependence on drugs.

I started to spiral which resulted in me leaving home and eventually becoming homeless. After being homeless for over a year and badly damaged from my drug use, I decided enough was enough and took myself to rehab.

At around the same time, my family had been going to Holyoake for counselling and support. It was there that my mum heard about the Holyoake choir.

After coming out of rehab, my counsellor suggested doing a weekly activity with my mum as our relationship was rocky. Since we both have a passion for singing, mum signed us up to the Holyoake choir.

In the beginning it wasn’t easy for me going every week. I had terrible anxiety and my self-esteem was so low that I doubted I’d ever get through my recovery. However, this choir changed everything for me. Every week I would sing my heart out for two hours and let all the emotions and self-doubt go. It was overwhelmingly empowering to listen to how terrible a song could sound at the start of the night, but by the end, feel confident enough to perform it.

As I became more comfortable, I began to socialise and this is where I really began to understand how beneficial these activities are that Holyoake run. Not one single person cared about who I was in my past, no one asked why I was at Holyoake. Everyone just wanted to get to know me for me. It was the best thing to ever happen to me.

Now I’m into my second year in the choir. During this year I have stayed clean and I have gone back to studying. I have my own rental and am now best friends with my mum. Without this choir, I doubt my relationship with mum would have strengthened so fast.

Thank you, Holyoake. Forever grateful.

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