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21 July, 2021

Battle against addiction hands Andrew a cause against cancer

HIS DARK PAST is behind him, and now reformed alcoholic Andrew Matherson has turned a negative into a positive by urging people to raise money for cancer during Dry July for the benefit of the greater community.

Having battled alcohol and drug addiction for 20 years, the Sandy Creek resident has been sober since April 18 this year and aims to raise $1,000 for the Cancer Council through Dry July, which involves abstaining from alcohol in July.

Although he considered many people were reluctant to dig into their wallets due to Covid-related issues, Andrew encouraged people to make an exception for a cause such as the one he supports.

“For cancer patients, it’s disheartening that people won’t reach into their pockets,” he said.

Andrew took part in Dry July in the past two years, but could not abandon the grog for the full month on either occasion.

Having quit smoking in 2017, Andrew found it harder to give-up alcohol and illicit drugs, but he was determined to keep trying.

He booked himself into the Moonyah treatment service run by the Salvation Army at Red Hill (Brisbane), and he has also benefited hugely from Narcotics Anonymous (NA).

Andrew considered himself lucky to still be alive and not be in jail.

After losing his job amid the Covid pandemic last year, Andrew studied a Certificate IV in youth work.

He applied for a blue card but was knocked back because of his history of indiscretions.

Andrew still hopes to be able to obtain a blue card some time, as he wants to be able to use his experiences and knowledge to help others.

Andrew felt at his lowest in April of this year when he lost his driver’s licence and had his car stolen.

“It was sort of rock bottom,” he said.

“Anything’s possible if you put your mind to it.

“It’s disheartening as well, the way the world is going.

“Everyone’s caught up in their own world. We’ve become a bit selfish.”

As for how he previously found himself going down a dark path, Andrew said: “It’s a personal decision, really. I was introduced to drugs when I was young.

“I have a bit of an addictive personality. If it makes me feel good, I want more of it.”

Andrew, nevertheless, bluntly said that drugs were bad.

“It’s a sickness. It’s not something we choose,” he said.

“It’s up to the individual as to how they want to treat it, and if they want to give up.

“I hope others who are struggling can read this and say, ‘If this guy can do it, I can do it.’”

Realising he had hurt a lot of people close to him, Andrew expressed his gratitude to his family and his partner for not giving up on him.

“I’m starting to get my emotions back, and get back in touch with family, and repair relationships,” he said.

“It’s the complete opposite feel-good from what it used to be.”

Andrew deemed that people who hadn’t experienced drug and alcohol problems just didn’t understand how difficult life could be for someone addicted to those substances.

“People (who haven’t been in that situation) often want to push them away and avoid them,” Andrew said.

“They (people with the addiction) need people to love them and support them.”

Having sobered up more than three months ago, Andrew readily conceded that there were temptations every day but that one could reduce the temptations.

The Sandy Creek resident was pleased to say that there was light at the end of the tunnel.

“At the moment I’m extremely happy. I’m getting my life back,” he said.

“I don’t have people chasing me or looking over my shoulder.”

Anyone can donate to Dry July at https://www.dryjuly. com.

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