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Loving life and living free through God’s grace

Katrina has received help and support to get clean from drugs and alcohol, and now assists others through Salvation Army services and chaplaincy.


From a very young age, I struggled with addiction, even stealing my mother’s cooking sherry. I’d been abused by someone close to me and understand now that drinking was my coping mechanism.

Through primary school, I drank continually, but by high school, I started smoking marijuana and taking pills. There were many challenges at home and my behaviour wasn’t good, so I went into a youth hostel at 15. I was taking drugs, drinking, and often getting arrested.

They said that if I didn’t go to rehab I would be back on the streets again. So I went to Perth to deal with marijuana and alcohol, but instead I was introduced to heroin by a bunch of city kids.

It became a vicious circle, and the fourth time I was in rehab a guy came and spoke about another program, but I had no intention of going to a Christian rehab. I ripped his pamphlets up, but then I thought, “At least that’s 12 months of accommodation.” I went through the motions of rehab for around six months – I was getting clean, and it was a good place to be.

Finding faith

We were in chapel one day, and I had what I can only describe as an encounter with God. Something in me changed.

I went on to finish the program and do a six-month traineeship at the same place, then a training course in YWAM (Youth With A Mission) because I knew I wanted to serve God.

In the role I travelled to India, then home to help start Aboriginal ministries. That was great and we did a lot of good, but when I left that job, I ended up back in addiction. That became a cycle through a few roles until I experienced the worst time of addiction I’d ever been in.

I went into full-blown heroin addiction. I got arrested for many things and ended up in a psych ward for months with a camera on me because my partner at the time had died of a heroin overdose. I had absolutely nothing – no family connection, no home, no possessions, no friends. So, I cried out to God again.

Serving others

I was eventually released into the care of my family, which was strange, but things were better this time. I walked into a Salvos church and soon started going to church every Sunday. When we went into COVID lockdown, I thought, “Oh my, I’m gone. I haven’t got the support of church.” But during the lockdown, I got even closer to God.

“I love the work I do now with The Salvation Army and no day is the same as the last.”

I went back to church after the lockdown a totally changed person. That’s when I knew I was going to serve God again, but this time as a whole person. I love the work I do now with The Salvation Army and no day is the same as the last.

I work with our Salvos Doorways team, supporting people who come for help and case management. We do toasties twice a week, and I sit with people and get to know them as we chat over food and coffee. I love it! I also felt called to study chaplaincy, so am doing that at the moment as well. Since I have been clean of the drugs, I’ve married, and that is also really good.

Hope and freedom

I’ve had a lot of trials over the last few years, as I have over much of my life, but the difference is now that nothing budges me from knowing that God loves me. We’ve just had Easter, and that is the key to Christianity.

Jesus dying so we can have forgiveness – Jesus rising from the dead so we can have freedom. It is the start of experiencing a life full of love and hope and change. God really is so good!


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