Barry’s Story

I’ve worked all my life – but when I couldn’t get work any more, that’s when things began to fall apart.

I was born in Collingwood and living in the northern suburbs, but when I was 45 my wife and I realised it was a youth jobs market – we moved to the Mornington Peninsula, and for three months I worked pushing trolleys, then cleaning, with three different companies over six years. One went bankrupt, and we had to work unpaid for 12 weeks before a new company took over – that definitely put a strain on things. Then the new company put me on three months’ probation, and sacked me before it finished. That was my last job.

My wife and I have been married for 41 years, and all the pressure of work – then no work – was definitely making home life difficult. I take full responsibility for getting dragged into alcohol, but those were the underlying factors. It only took 12 months to destroy myself – once I was drinking, then came the seizures, having to go to hospital, and I had so many injuries from past work accidents that started flaring up.

My wife and I have five kids, and I’ve got to prove myself to her, and to all of them. At Corpus Christi, I’m in control of my own stuff, there’s people I can talk to, and who will support me – and that’s what I need. As much as I don’t want to be here, this is the best place for me now. It’s how I’m going to get me back to my real life.”