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Streetlevel helps Jonno emerge from the wreckage of his past


Jonno feels blessed to serve others at Brisbane Streetlevel.


By CLIFF WORTHING

On New Year’s Day 2022, Jonno was discharged from a Brisbane hospital after a suicide attempt. His psychiatrist challenged him with a blunt assessment of his future and what he could do to stop drinking.

Jonno’s slide into alcohol addiction sprang from an attempt to deal with challenging early-life experiences.

“I struggled to deal with the wreckage of the past and an uncertain future,” he says. “I’ve learned to live in the moment more, to look at those things but not dwell on them.”

Jonno began his journey of recovery through connection with others. “Until then, I felt like I was on a hamster wheel with no way off.”

He was given a list of local Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) meetings, and “within 15 minutes, I knew I was in the right place,” he says. “People were telling stories similar to mine, but they were sober, and they were happy.”

A graduate of the Salvos’ Brisbane Recovery Services (Moonyah) – which later became Jonno’s sponsor – had a conversation with him after the meeting, offering to help him through his recovery, and has stuck with him since.


Jonno with volunteer Bernetta preparing a meal for the Streetlevel community in Brisbane.

Jonno then spent time in Moonyah himself. “I had a choice of life or death,” he says. “I think seeing people living a solution gave me enough hope to believe I could too.”

After three months at Moonyah, a Salvo friend suggested he go to The Salvation Army’s Streetlevel Mission (drop-in centre) because they needed a chef, which was Jonno’s professional training.

“I am so blessed to cook and serve at Streetlevel,” he says. “I check in with the regulars and look out for new faces, which is something that gives value to my life, and hopefully to theirs.”

As well as serving at Streetlevel, Jonno cares for his physical and mental wellbeing through participation in the Streetlevel Striders parkrun group.

He also attends God’s Sports Arena (GSA), a Salvos church supported financially and with resources by Brisbane City Salvos. GSA is focused on supporting Brisbane’s vulnerable population, and Jonno often brings food and makes coffee for the meetings.


“God’s Sports Arena is a beautiful place where there is love, encouragement, and no judging,” he says. “We have open and honest conversations, lots of free-flowing connections, opportunities to heal, and it’s where I find peace.

“As well as needing God, I’ve learned we need other humans. My recovery showed I couldn’t run on my own steam, and I hope I can help others on their journey too.

“Helping others is vital,” he adds, “because it gets my mind off self. Plus, it is great to share my journey and to share our experiences, strength and hope.”

 

If you or anyone you know needs help, contact:

Lifeline at www.lifeline.org.au or call 131 114.

Headspace at headspace.org.au/online-and-phone-support/ or call 1800 650 890.

Mensline Australia at mensline.org.au or call 1300 789 978.



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