Cam breaks 25-year alcohol addiction thanks to Reset Life

Monday, 4 March 2019

The Peninsula Health Reset Life team beam when they speak collectively about the clients who are well on the road to recovery from alcohol and other drug addiction. 

Justin Kelly, Tegan Hamilton and Katrina Hailes are just some of the staff who deliver the Reset Life service, a free, Victorian-first, alcohol and other drug (AOD) treatment program for adults 18 years or older who live or work in South Eastern Melbourne. 

Funded and innovated by SEMPHN, Reset Life is an intensive, highly-structured outpatient program that includes individual, group, and family education sessions. The program guides the client through real-life situations, giving information and skills to help regain control over drug and alcohol use.  It's based at Frankston Hospital. 

“What I love about the program is it’s based on evidence and is modelled on the brain itself. Because of this, our clients say a huge part of their willingness to do the program is because they can see, for the first time, there’s a physiological reason for why they struggle with alcohol and other drugs.”

“Many say they wish something like this had been around ten years ago,” Tegan says. 

“There’s no one type when it comes to those entering into the recovery program, we’re working with those from the age of 23 to 73, single and married, professional and unemployed. It can be anyone,” the team adds. 

The camaraderie among their own team, they say, is also key to the success of Reset Life.

“We genuinely care about each other, we share a passion for what we do, and this flows down to the client. One of the stand-out comments clients make is they feel we are providing a safe environment because we gel so well together,” Katrina said. 

The initial recovery program involves 16 weeks of intensive structured treatment, followed by 36 weeks of continuing care, via individual and group sessions for clients and family members.

The team were given training by an expert from the US, where the Reset Life model originates, and say they learned a lot of new things and skills. 

Cam, from Frankston, echoes the team’s words as to why the program works. 

After 25 years as a chronic alcoholic, and told by his doctor he had 12 months to live, he was referred to Reset Life almost six months ago.

He was unemployed, and unable to hold down a job due to his drinking at every waking moment of the day, and he is the solo father of a teenage son. 

“I knew I was failing as a father but just couldn’t get on top of my drinking. I had never wanted to try other programs as I didn’t think they were for me, but something about Reset Life seemed different,” he said. 

Almost six months down the track, Cam has not had a drink, he no longer has the urge to drink, has a part-time job and his son is happy to finally have a present father back in his life. 

He’s very firm when he says he will not return drinking or the life he was living. 

Cam said the thing he loved about Reset Life is the fact it’s an outpatient program. 

“Leaving my son to go into rehab wasn’t an option, being able to stay home with him was a huge advantage. 

“I found Reset Life to be extremely practical, and has given me the skills to manage my triggers. I felt supported every step of the way, and it was fantastic to be given advice and education at every challenge. You’re putting everything you learn into practice straight away,” he said. 

He says if Reset Life can ‘fix a sceptical and broken bugger like me’ it can help anyone.

“I would hate for the service to ever disappear and I really hope it’s here to stay as part of the health system,” he said. 

Reset Life is about to become available in Port Phillip. 

To refer yourself or someone to Reset Life, contact our Access or Referral team by telephone 1800 862 363 or fax 1300 354 053.

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