It has become so clear to me that whilst not everyone is addicted to something, there is certainly a massive increase in people young and old, of any sex or race, affected by life struggles and overwhelm. So WHY are we, as a society who have more than any previous generation, become so prone to despair?
When I was in the thick of my addiction – why was I self destructing? I couldn’t articulate it at the time and it had been something that since my recovery have spent years researching and understanding. The depth of my understanding was also enhanced by my interactions with others over the last few years. Sharing my own addiction story has lead to understanding myself better and gain insights I would have never known. Through telling my story – audiences found what I shared about my journey, incredibly relatable to their own pain regardless of what it was.
It wasn’t just gamblers I was speaking to, but people in the grip of life struggles, whether they be those in desperate need or those in roles that care for them. My vulnerability gave them a new access to their own life. People found themselves asking the same questions I did. Why am I doing this? My story helped them with a pathway of new understanding.
A year ago a voice inside of me rose up and spoke one word. HOPE.
Help Other People Everyday
Imagine a world that was outwardly focused and a place where people understood their own needs and therefore had the capacity to help others in whatever way spoke to their own unique passions and purpose.
I did other things, I tried to forget this thought, but I couldn’t. Because I couldn’t walk away from a need that I not only identified – but lived. HOPE is the antidote to pain and the recipe for living well. It is learning that we as a society have not been taught. That is simply a TRUTH, not a finger pointed at anyone.
Humanity collectively has advanced in incredible ways, yet we are simultaneously the most disenfranchised and unfulfilled. Whether it be addiction and recovery or pain and prevention – based on the continuous news cycle of suicide, addiction and domestic violence in Australia – there is something broken.
Something is not working.
Why was I being driven to self destruct? I had no idea, I was so confused, was it one thing or many? If I spoke about what was impacting me was that blaming? Was it a sign I was in the wrong marriage? If I took personal ownership of what happened, did that then mean, I was profoundly broken??? I was at WAR, with myself. Regret, shame and guilt were the by-product of that war. I had moved so far away from myself, the core of me, and the pain was so crippling that I didn’t know how else to exist. And this was recovery – this is what I was being told would be my state of mind – my continuous “recovery” for the rest of my life?”
It wasn’t about blaming my husband or trying to live, saddled with the shame and regret anymore, it was about seeing clearly for the first time my pain but more importantly his pain and his own unsustainable environments and helping him through it. Everyone had missed it and misunderstood it because he wasn’t addicted to anything, therefore our whole marriage it was only ever seen in the scope of, I alone was the ‘broken’ one when in reality we were two people dealing with our own pain and looking to each other for help and understanding that neither of us was equipped to recognise or deal with it.
My journey took a shift when it became not about blame but new understanding, there was no smoking gun. There was no ONE thing that contributed to where I was and there was no ONE solution. It was about small sustainable shifts and the rebuilding of me began. Realising the impact of overwhelm in my life and the way to combat it, was through self care.
I learnt to continuously check in with myself about how and why I was doing what I was doing and making conscious decisions instead of reactive ones. I had started to feel restored and whole again but people would constantly be watching and waiting for the other shoe to drop. I couldn’t articulate the change that had occurred because I once again felt burdened but not that I would slip backwards but that I would never be able to be seen by others as being anything other than being in recovery.
I researched and reverse engineered the different learning and techniques I had applied to come to this new outcome. The outcome of being AWAKE. This sustainable model then was applied to others and I realised that its application as a powerful prevention or early intervention tool is where it needs to be. To equip people, especially young ones to have the awareness and skills to identify struggle and overwhelm early and self correct or seek help without further escalation of pain.
I am grateful for this scar of mine because it helped me to become a more compassionate person, a kinder human and a warrior for change. The promptings I can’t explain have led me to have extraordinary encounters, I don’t even question anymore I just do. This led me to email the Chairman of World Kindness Australia and bring to his attention that we cannot expect there to be a kinder world unless we help liberate people from the struggle and the overwhelm that keeps people held down. They may want to but they wont be able to. As ones capacity is greatly diminished when they are burdened as I said they may want to but they simply don’t have it to give. When a person is free from their burdens they naturally want to engage in a way that gives to others and lifts their soul.
When we restore HOPE, Kindness follows.
Today is about calling others to help and become collective voices of HOPE, voices of CHANGE, voices of COURAGE and voices of KINDNESS.
My core goal for The Hope Project is to create a compassionate space and educate workplaces, schools and community groups on sustainable, hopeful living. We want to work collaboratively with existing services and organisations to bring about healing in society. I have a belief in total human restoration. I believe in recovered not just recovery – but more importantly in prevention. With new understanding coupled with a vital shift in how we think and relate to one another, society will thrive.
You may have noticed the logo change for The Hope Project, the original logo was the effect of my voice of vulnerability and how it helped others to thrive. Well it’s no longer just me. It’s about equipping others with the skills to thrive in their life and the flow on effect that has to those around them. It is about a more honest and compassionate society to help one another to alleviate pain, so they feel hopeful and light, once more.
Im so grateful for the support of my Family, my husband Phil and my amazing children, The seven of you are and always will be the most important people in my world. I am truly blessed. To my Mum And Dad and their unwavering support, your love through some of my darkest days sustained me and comforted me and I am so blessed to have been born into the best family with incredible siblings I cherish and adore.
To my Board, Tim Hyde, Fergus Nelson, Vicki Dall, Bron Hadley, Amy Nerio and Glenn Jackson. You have been able to see a vision and a mission that was inside of me and helped it come to life, I’m so excited for the next steps.
I am honoured to be ACT’s first World Kindness Goodwill Ambassador and the effortless flow from HOPE to kindness is just a natural fit. I humbly take on this responsibility and genuinely seek to create a kinder world in all my encounters both here and abroad.
A quick note to say thank you to the sponsors who have helped make today possible, Clonakilla, Chairman and Yip, O photography, Fayne Media, The Women’s Collective and Pip and Lou
I sincerely thank all of you for coming today and enjoy the rest of the afternoon.