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December 2, 2021

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“Together, We Won The Battle Against Addiction”

“Together, We Won The Battle Against Addiction” 1

An addiction of any kind is a battle that would be incredibly hard to beat by one’s self. There are two factors that would help some to recover from an addiction. The sense of belonging and Reason why they would want to get clean or some thing worth living for.

“Together we won the battle against addiction” is a story about a couple that struggled with heroine addiction for almost a decade on the streets of Melbourne – Australia.

Troy and his wife Cheryl, 64, became homeless after their addictions spiraled out of control.

Cheryl was attacked by a male friend when she was a teenager and says the trauma of this was one of the underlying reasons she began using heroin.

“With heroin, I’d have a good sleep,” she says. “Which isn’t a good excuse, but in my mind, that’s what I was doing – having a good sleep. I wouldn’t remember all the trauma of being attacked as a kid.”

Troy has a weathered face and scarred arms that show the many years he spent on the streets using heroin. But there is pride in his voice when he discusses his journey to beat addiction and remain permanently housed.

“Now that I’m clean, I just couldn’t do it – you’re baring your soul,” he says. “You have to swallow your pride.”

Despite having heroin addictions, in the early years of their marriage both Cheryl and Troy worked – Troy as a computer programmer and Cheryl as a teacher’s aide.

However, after Troy lost his job due to downsizing, their addictions grew until they took over their lives.

They lost their home and lived on the streets of Melbourne for more than a decade.

“We lived on the streets,” says Cheryl. “We lived in my car until it got stolen. We lived in boarding houses. Couch surfed for a while.”

The couple managed to stay married throughout their shared experience of homelessness.

Cheryl, who has two adult children, is now a grandmother. She says it is her children and grandchildren who motivate her to stay clean.

“[It was] a sense of accomplishment [to get] clean and see my grandchildren,” she says.

But despite their experience, Cheryl is quick to point out that not every heroin addict is homeless, and not every homeless person is an addict. She says that each story is both complex and different, and not always related to drugs.

“Until people actually get out there and talk to homeless people and understand their story behind them, there will be a stigma,” she says.

Source: Aljazeera

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