I had nine brothers and three sisters, and my old man was a pig, I was never happy at home. So as soon as I could I got out of Sydney, and started travelling around – we had a big family, so I was lucky, there was always somewhere I could stay.

Living like that got me into alcohol, then drugs, and it was hard to beat – I was going to NA (Narcotics Anonymous) for a while, and I was running meetings and still using drugs! I ended up living with friends in Footscray, and there were so many drugs around there. I tried to kill myself, and that’s when I knew I needed to change my life.

Now, Corpus Christi is home, and I can watch the days come and go. I do art and read books, spend time in the garden and with the organised activities. I have a little garden in my room, I could never have anything like that before. I can help out around the place and feel appreciated. And little things mean a lot. I’ve celebrated Christmas for the first time – growing up, and all my life, I’d be drunk before Christmas started, and then I’d be too drunk to remember any of it. It’s sad to think about those days, but it reminds me how far I’ve come.