INSPIRING RECOVERY: Bayside Transformations graduate turned director Ashley Bottrell.
INSPIRING RECOVERY: Bayside Transformations graduate turned director Ashley Bottrell. Alistair Brightman

Celebrating Hervey Bay's remarkable addiction recoveries

FACING your inner demons is one of the hardest and most excruciating experiences someone can face, just ask Hervey Bay's Bayside Transformations recent graduates.

The faith-based rehabilitation program based in Torquay typically takes 18 months, forcing former drug and alcohol addicts through different stages of healing.

Speaking to the Chronicle ahead of the upcoming graduation ceremony, Director Ashley Bottrell said the graduates' achievements were significant because Transformations was one of the most challenging programs in Australia.

"Its achievable but the people who complete it have put their heart and soul on the line," he said.

"We work on a lot of their shame and their guilt, as well as their trauma and distorted thinking in issues group which is big group counselling where everyone else holds each other accountable.

"We notice behaviours and then trace it back to where it came from, like when it was learnt sometimes through abuse and trauma."

The program is hard, something Mr Bottrell knows all too well.

"I completed the program myself and then stayed on, I've been here about five years now," he said.

"Out of about 100 people who start the program, we have about five graduates.

"To get through the program you really have to change and if you are going through something on a surface level you won't progress to the next stage.

"Change happens slowly but surely over time.

"If they want to get through they have got to change behaviours how they treat people. They also have to give up cigarettes in stage three."

Mr Bottrell said the program gave graduates the tools to succeed.

"Consequential thinking helps keep each other accountable," he said,

"The guys in the program learn communication skills instead of letting it build up and explode."

When Mr Bottrell first came to Bayside Transformations he said he would rather have been in jail.

"I had to face shame, fears and things from my past," he said.

"All of our graduates have the qualities of integrity, inner strength, courage and honesty.

"They have transformed into leaders, for their family and their community."

Mr Bottrell thanks the community for their support.

"We really couldn't do it without the community," he said.

"Even if they don't know too much about us they are welcome to come and ask questions and check the place out.

"The more people who get on board the more help and progress."

If you'd like to attend the graduation ceremony, it will be held on Sunday, October 21 at Bayside Christian Church in Pialba at 9.30am.


-David Sutherland

-Joshua George

-Stephen Dunnett

-Demmi Cannon

-Nathen Todd