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The healing power of serving others

Helping others in the community has played a powerful role in Andrew’s healing and recovery.


I was born in Melbourne and brought up in the Catholic Church. My parents owned a large toy store, which was a bonus as a kid growing up, and I loved minibikes and all that sort of stuff.

My family moved to Queensland when I was 14 and life changed. I was a reserved child and making new friends was difficult. I wanted to make friends and fit in, but it was a challenge.

One night I was invited to hang out with some guys, and we got some beer. They all thought I was hilarious after a few drinks, so they invited me back the next day. Unfortunately, the alcohol got worse for me over the years, even though I was always functional. I became a greenkeeper and generally worked in horticulture, but I’ve done other things as well.

To me, an alcoholic was someone on the park bench, not someone with a job and housing, but over time I got to the point where I hated myself. Every single day

I just had to get drunk because I didn’t like the person I’d become. There were so many rock-bottom moments over the years – waking up in a police cell covered in my own blood with no idea how I got there or what had happened.

It finally got to a point in my life after drinking for 30-odd years that something changed – I believe God intervened somehow. I rang my father and said, “Please come and get me.”

That was back in 2016, and I started going to a 12-step program. During that time, I had a couple of relapses and decided to change my 12-step sponsor. The guy who became my sponsor, Paul, was a Christian and in the Salvos, and we just clicked.

Andrew loves volunteering at Caloundra Salvos’ House 4 Hope.

One day, over a cuppa at his place, he prayed for me. Nothing dramatic. But when I was driving home, I had tears in my eyes. it was like a release, and I thought, “Yep, there’s something in this for sure.”

I went to the local Salvos with Paul and then to a small group gathering. I just loved the feeling. I started going to the Salvos corps (church) and found something genuinely peaceful about the place.

I also loved what they were doing to support people who were struggling, and I wanted to get involved. Now I spend about 10 or 12 hours a week volunteering at the Salvos House of Hope, where people can collect their grocery cards and food. I help out by giving cards and packages to people and having a chat.

I’ve got a disease called CMT – Charcot- Marie-Tooth, which is a nerve disorder that causes muscle waste in my limbs. It is degenerative, so I’ll probably end up in a wheelchair, but it doesn’t bother me. I’m just grateful for my life and feel so blessed to be sober and alive.

I would say to people who are struggling that there is hope. There is love to be found, and Easter is a good time to remember that God is love.

For so long, I couldn’t function without alcohol, and I had no hope whatsoever. Then God intervened in my life and from where I was in 2016 to where I am now has been just an amazing turnaround.

It took care and effort from others like Paul. It took an intervention from God.

I’ve also learned that helping other people is one of the most powerful things you can do – not only for others and your community but also for yourself!


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