Bayside Transformations recent graduate Stephen Dunnett
Bayside Transformations recent graduate Stephen Dunnett

Meet Bayside Transformation graduate: Stephen Dunnett

HIS voice goes unanswered when he calls out through his Gladstone house one morning early in 2015.

A father and son had a drug-fuelled bender together the night before.

Only one of them woke up.

"I lost my best mate and my confident,” Stephen Dunnett said.

It was drugs which had brought him back together with his estranged father and now it was drugs which had torn them apart.

After a football injury, Stephen had been addicted to prescription drugs daily for 12 years.

He tried to get clean in 2010, reaching out for his father's help detoxing which lasted for a month.

"I did it all on my own will power and I wasn't strong enough then,” Stephen said.

"My dad and I had a bad relationship, he blamed me for my mum and him splitting up when I was a teenager.

"In 2010 it gave us a chance to reconcile and put everything out on the table.

"After he overdosed, I was so depressed I was suicidal, I tried to overdose myself.”

With a bit of help from family, Stephen went to a medical detox centre in Brisbane and two days later, started his journey at Bayside Transformations.

"I was in a putrid state because of the size of my habit. It was ridiculous how sick and frail I was for the first few months,” he said.

"I spent quite a few years doctor shopping to get the prescriptions.

"But since 2010 I was with one doctor who was enabling me because of how I could manipulate him.”

Stephen said he was drawn to the program because of the discipline and structure but when he arrived, he was angry and staunchly against God.

"I didn't want anything to do with it. I was angry at God because of the consequences I had to pay for my actions,” he said.

But in March 2017, Stephen's brother came to visit for his birthday and while they were both in church, he says he experienced a vision.

"Me and my brother were standing there with dad in between us with his arms around us and I just experienced this peace and freedom within myself,” he said.

"It's hard to describe the person I was to the person I am now. I was coming from a place where I was desperate and suicidal not wanting to live.

"I am no longer depressed, and I'm happy in my life with God in my life.”

Stephen has been the supervisor at Hobart Transformations for six months and plans to continue his work.

"I would like to eventually get into a Bachelor of Nursing to specialise in detoxing to help guys get off the drugs,” he said.

"Getting off the drugs was the hardest part for me and I think getting off the drugs and staying off the biggest factor to getting me to Bayside Transformations.

"I would recommend the program to any struggling addict out there.

"Give it a chance, I am so grateful and thankful for the opportunity to have done recovery.

"They are a phenomenal team with experience and heart for what they do.”

If you need help call Lifeline on 13 11 14.