Rebuilding hope through recovery Mr Joe Coyte and Mr Glen Collis DVD: The Glen Glen, Wonga Marra-Barkindji Man: The life of an alcoholic and an addict is very lonely you know. Jails, institutions or death, that’s all that’s waiting for the using alcoholic, or the using addict. Andrew, Client: Before this, um… I was sort of homeless, living on the street, I didn’t have anywhere to go. I was the sort of kid that took the wrong path in life; in and out of jail, in and out of boy’s homes you know, until I found this place here. It’s really given me a second chance at life. Joe Coyte, CEO: I think what makes “The Glen” special is the holistic approach that we take towards each client, and the way we try and tailor the individual clients’ needs to our program. We dig down deep and we found out what’s causing the client to have the substance abuse issues. Cyrus, Wiradjuri Man: If I wasn’t in “The Glen” I would probably be on the streets looking for a home. I was going downhill fast, and I was gonna hit a brick wall sooner or later. I was either gonna end up dead or back in jail again. Sean Gordon, CEO, Darkinjung Local Aboriginal Land Council: What I absolutely respect and admire about the way in which “The Glen” functions is that they understand the solution, they understand the people and the community that they are dealing with. It is very hard to be able to do work and support aboriginal communities and aboriginal people if you don’t actually understand who they are, what they are about. Adrian Fisk, Head of Financial Services KPMG: And we’ve been working now with “The Glen” for about two years, it’s stationed right in the middle of the Central Coast which has a large indigenous population, and there is a lot of guys who come in from outside this area to actually, come here. And it is a very special place; they get results. Matt, Caseworker and former client: I actually come to “The Glen” as a client three times, the third time I came here, I suppose I surrendered to the program properly and had a real good look at myself made the decision that I wanted to change. Joe Coyte, CEO: We help him to empower clients to make better decisions for themselves. I think to achieve any real change in someone’s life, deep down it has to come from the client themself. Matt, Caseworker and former client: When you see the guys come in, you know, with all this loss and without themselves and, basically, they’re spiritually and mentally bankrupt.
Andrew, Client: Yeah, well I thought I was the only one going through these problems, and the only one living life like I was, until I came here and there was other people like me. And then I thought, like I can relate, they can relate to me, and they listen to me and I can listen to them. Cyrus, Wiradjuri Man: It’s you know, a bit gut trenching when you first turn up, cause you don’t know what to expect, but 2-3 weeks down the track you’re dying to get your story out there, you know? You’re sick of bottling it up. Sean Gordon, CEO, Darkinjung Local Aboriginal Land Council: Sitting by the fire every night at 8:30, you know, having a conversation. These are getting back to traditional values, traditional practices of what our people have done for generations, and generations. Steve Mortime, Ambassador for Max Employment: But it is not just rehabilitation, it is also then taking the next step, and that is to doing a trade, doing education, working in the local community. Andrew, Client: Yeah, I hadn’t worked a day in my life. Since being here I’ve had a job, I’ve got a job at Bunnings. Steve Mortime, Ambassador for Max Employment: What this does, it gives them a good path in life. Sean Gordon, CEO, Darkinjung Local Aboriginal Land Council: When I look at the social return on investment, “The Glen” spending ten dollars per person in recovery, in comparison to a jail that are spending a hundred dollars per person. So, when I value for money proposition, rehabilitation and this type of activity is the best. Adrian Fisk, Head of Finantial Services KPMG: There’s so much to do, you know. “The Glen” we need to build out capacity, we need to serve more guys coming through the process. We need to build out sporting facilities, cause health and fitness is a critical part of their success. Steve Mortime, Ambassador for Max Employment: All the government organizations whether they are federal or state, it’s important that the Minister and their staff come out and actually have a look at what funding they’re giving, or what funding they’re taking away from whatever. Adrian Fisk, Head of Finantial Services KPMG: We are very supportive, but we think there are a number of other corporates and government agencies that can help this organization be successful. It’s in all our interests. Glen, Wonga Marra-Barkindji Man: What this place is, is not about bad people coming here trying to get good, it’s about sick people coming here and getting well. So I can go home and be a father, a brother, a son; a functioning person in society.
Andrew, Client: Look, this place, has basically saved my life. It really has. I wouldn’t know what I’d do without this place. I’m starting to like myself today, Cause its the first time I have done a dance and that today, with the boys and that. I’m feeling my spirit growing inside of me. It blows me away. Cyrus, Wiradjuri Man: My life is on track and I am gonna better it. I’m not gonna go back to, you know, my past. I wanna look forward to future. Presentation: (Joe Coyte): So, that is a video, just before I get started, I want to acknowledge this land was, is and always would be Aboriginal land. Pay our respects to elders past, and present, and future. So, also, thanks very much for, Rose, Jill, Uncle Jim, that was pretty inspiring. And really, Professor Kerry thank you very much for the invite. So, that’s just a little bit about “The Glen”, I want to try to set it up, just to explain “The Glen”; how it started, quickly what it is, and then I will hand over to Glen to explain actually, how we do things. That video was made last year, at the end of the last year when we celebrated our twentieth year anniversary. So, we’ve been around for twenty years. It was started by an Aboriginal man, by the name of Cyril Henessey, man came from Bourke, he was an Aboriginal, but he also had a bit of an Irish heritage in the Henessey, he was a parole officer. So, he had a quite comfortable job, a comfortable existence, but he got really frustrated with seeing a lot of people just stuck in that cycle, that system of getting in and out of jail, in and out of jail. And what, it didn’t take long for him to identify that these aren’t, like Glen just spoke about, we’re not talking about bad people, we’re talking about sick people. Sick people shouldn’t be locked up. So sick people need to be helped, so Cyril, and he fought hard, I’m not going to lie to you and say that you know, when he came up with the idea in the Central Coast “ we should put up an Aboriginal residential rehabilitation centre there, and get guys out of jail, you know, sit them in treatment”. That, I think, still to today, is been some of the biggest meetings that Wonga Council have ever had. And it wasn’t people in the room supporting the application, but he fought hard, he fought well, and “The Glen” started. “The Glen” today is one of six Aboriginal residential rehab in New South Wales, we are really proud to say we take clients from all over. Not just NSW, but obviously mainly NSW, we’ve clients coming and we are in Darkinjung Land. We’ve client coming from all over Australia. And get well. We’ve operated in Darkinjung land for over twenty years; we’re accepted and we are part of the community there. I think the people on the Central Coast now, are really, not just accepting, but they’re actually quiet proud of the fact there is a place like “The Glen” where people can come in and they can turn their life around. Obviously in the last couple of years, everyone would have seen in the media, in the press around things like ice; it is destroying communities; I know some people talk about a media beat-up, you won’t hear us talk about a media beat-up. I think it is an absolute terrible issue; we hear
the stories from the people who are living the stories, and you know, we need more support. So just before I hand over to Glenn, to describe how we do things at “The Glen”, I would like to point out that beginning last year we actually had two rehabs, we had the one I’ve been talking about, but we also had one in the Hunter Valley, on Awabakal land, and we were forced to close that rehab half way through last year, so we lost capacity, we lost 18 beds. Now we’re determined to build the capacity at Chittaway we are actually in construction stage at the moment, we are going to build another 12 beds. So we’ll nearly replace those beds, but, when you have, we have over a hundred applications every month. People putting their hand up saying I want to come into your program, if we are lucky, we’ll get five; if we are really lucky we may be able to invite ten. That’s a lot of people, so it’s at least 90% of people that are asking for help for drug and alcohol problems, and we can’t house them. (Glen Collis): Hi everyone, my name is Glen, I am an aboriginal man, I’m from Bourke, NSW, I’m a Wonga Marra, and Barkindji as well, so I got two tribes here. I live in the Central Coast now and I’m a Drug and Alcohol Counsellor for the Glen Centre. Just touching on the last speakers, what we’re talking about, by the time the guys get to us, you know what I mean, suicide is already been attempted, usually a few times and, it’s sorta like, from the recycled heap. When I see some of the guys it’s really sad, because is like, you know, when a dog has been beaten too much; he’s got no spirit. That’s what you see in them, you see in their dead fish eyes. There’s nothing there, the drugs have just taken everything out of them and just drained them. You know? And you talking about the “First Thousand Days”, some of these blokes don’t get that with their kids, you know? Because the family just gone: “No, I’ve had enough; go”, you know? So, this is where we come in. We, we, when the guys get to us, they are usually alone, but you know what it is, alone they must do it, but they don’t have to do it alone. They got support, and we can help them. We lift them up and we empower them. And we give them the tools so they can lift themselves up. I’m really passionate about recovery, and I love seeing, look, we are not, we’ve got the Koori flag out the front, but you know what? The disease of alcoholism and addiction doesn’t discriminate, so neither do we. So we’ve got all sorts of people in there. Our program it’s about, and sometimes I say people have been brainwashed, sometimes when you’ve been out there that long, and you’ve been using drugs all your life, your brain needs a good wash. You know what I mean? All the stuff that’s happened, and its like I said, jails, institutions, and then death. And some of them died, and they’ve been revived and arcane, and all that sort of stuff. The ice and all that it’s on now. You know it's really sad. It is really sad. But we give them the opportunity and you know them guys can pick themselves up and they can take themselves on. How our program starts is, is you know, it's not too much and it's not too soon. Recovery is all about time, you know, it doesn't matter what we do or what people make you do, if you're not ready, you're not ready. You know, and a lot of the families want to push their brother, their son, their father, their husband into this stuff. But sometimes it's not this recovery, maybe it's the next recovery. And
then sometimes people die. This is the, this the you know, rationalisation and the realisation of what drugs and alcohol do; they kill people. You know our program starts, when the guys get there, we try to give them, because they've been out there doing this stuff for so long and it's been jails and all that sort of stuff, so they've got no program or nothing. So we, we try to put a program into place and our program, how our program works is, is giving them some balance. So what we do is in the morning we usually kick off with a group where the guys will get up in the morning, they'll you know it's just about re-programming. Getting up, brushing their teeth, a bit of hygiene, having a feed. You know, after a while, the first thought isn't how am I gonna get on, where am I gonna get on, who am I gonna get on, who am I gonna rob, you know what I mean? Their program, it's about having a feed, going, sitting down in group, the group goes for about an hour, you know. And some of the stuff that we provide at the Glen, like, I run an Aboriginal dance group and we've been going now for about 12 months and having a lot of success and, man, when I'm bringing the guys home from a dance, like, these are full-grown men going from 18 to 40s and 50s and they're like little kids sitting in the bus and they're just, they're on fire, you know what I mean? I'm just sitting, I'm looking at them in the rear vision mirror, thinking, you know what I mean, I'm just laughing. You know and just to see that spirit and to see the smile back on their face, you know like I said, usually when they get there, they're beaten. And, you know, we have, we have, I run a fitness class and a boxing class, because I'm a former professional boxer, and we put a bit of that stuff so like I said it's about balance. So we've got cultural stuff where the guys are making Aboriginal artifacts like boomerangs, spears, all that sort of stuff, plus we've got the dancing, plus we've got a surfing program, we've got a boxing and fitness program. The work's important too, we don't give them too much, we give them something so that, they've got their stuff so, because a lot of people, some of them, -not a lot of them, but you know, a fair few of them haven't ever worked, you know, and then that stuff empowers them too so, it gives them a bit of a sense of worth, you know, I can do this, and I am good enough, you know. And you know, like self-esteem, usually the self-esteem is rock-bottom you know. And we've all been affected by drugs and alcohol whether we use or don't use, there's always someone, a brother, and uncle, a cousin, there's always someone in the family who's affected. So indirectly, this stuff is like a Christmas tree. The addict's up here and then it goes down, mum and dad, the families, you know, to old mate who lives in the shop on the corner where they're stealing to get their next fix. You know and as I said in that video, it's not about bad people, it's about sick people getting well, and that's what we provide. (Joe Coyte): I think one of the things Glen is talking about, we’re talking about, getting the guys in a structure, in a routine; big part of that is the work program. Now, I always talk in our staff meetings our job is to give these guys some hope and doesn’t take long once they get in and start letting the program wash over them. Doing the groups every morning, talking about their feelings, coming up with some strategies, and some plans. Make sure we are not going down the same path, then work program morning after that, and then in the afternoon we do a lot of sports; a lot of physical activity, and then at night time we usually do some meetings, whether that be in house stuff, or either we go out. But basically, we are getting these guys
hopeful, for the first time in a long time usually; they’re start getting excited about living. That’s our goal, but once you give someone a bit of hope, I think it’s important that then you can back it up and actually show him some opportunities. So we after work really hard then to actually be able to say, “you’re all right”. There is not point in getting someone excited about living, but then saying “oh, but nothing’s changed”. So we’ve worked hard to establish the transition program where basically, anyone, if you haven’t worked a day in your life, like Andrew, who won’t mind me speaking about him, he’s in the video - never had a job, never worked a day in his life. He’s a good client, you can see he genuinely want to change his life, he’s still working now. So we’ve got programs in place where basically they get a back door into organizations. So, for Andrew it was Bunnings, they don’t just get given a job, cause, I mean, that would be ripping them off. But they get an opportunity through the back door, cause we’ve got a lot of corporate contacts, they get an opportunity to do work experience. Four weeks; you’re not get a dime for it, and if you’re not happy working unpaid for four weeks that’s cool, that’s not for you. But the guys that do it are the guys that, they’re not gonna get a job. You know, with their resume, they’re not gonna get an interview, so we need to provide opportunities, we’re doing that, and then at the end of it, they don’t get a job at Bunnings, because “The Glen” says that they’re a good bloke; they get a job at Bunnings cause they go there and they earn themselves a job. And I think that’s really important as one of the things we talk to the boys about. Cause we do so, there’s a big link wit lot of the guys who come through and just not being able to gain employment. The parenting side of things too is really important; we do a lot of that. A lot of courses, we work with a lot of organizations; Indigenous organizations, and also mainstream organizations to really reinforce to these guys that they can, or they are part of their own families, and the goal is to get them back into those families, and the communities as active members of both. (Glen Collis): With the transition program, how that works is that after the first three months the guys, you know, it’s not God-given thing, if you’ve proven in the program that you are really willing and you want to have a go, and you want to move on the transition, transition starts after three months, and the guys can work, they can go, they can study, they can start to network themselves. Giving them, going back to where they’re starting to manage their own life, because a lot of them with the jails and the institutions, they’re told what time to get up, they’re told what time they are gonna have a feed, they’re told when they’re going to be getting back into their cell. This way they’ve got, they can go out and do their own stuff. They can apply for stuff, they can have a crack at the job. Once you’ve been drinking and drugging for a lot, you know, people don’t get there because they’ve had too much cake or they like too many apples; they get there because they got a problem with drugs or alcohol, and by the time they get there, it’s been a lifetime of addiction. So, some of this stuff is, we provide to, is letting the guys know they can have fun without taking a carton of piss to the beach with them, you know. And they’re playing with the kids on the swing, meanwhile ol’ mate’s waiting for the dealer to turn up. So, we have ten-pin bowling, we take them to the football, we take them to the soccer, you know, stuff where they’re having genuinely, having fun, having a laugh without the aid of alcohol or drugs.
(Joe Coyte): And I’m going back to that need to be holistic, even the work experience program, I remember we sent a few guys through it, they got their first job, they actually got good money, they got paid for the first time; straight away they came back and they said “Joe, I’m ready to leave; we’re gonna get a house together”, and I said “Oh? Are you?” Just for one minute we wanna sit down, they had no idea, cause they had never had the budget and do simple things like that. And we soon realised by the time they left “Thanks Joe, we may leave in about six months if that’s OK?” (laughing). Awesome. But that’s, you know, that’s the reality. We’ve got to, some time we’ve got to build them right from the ground up. We’re not getting them, we’re not giving them hope, and then giving them opportunities, and then pushing them off. We’ve got to keep supporting them. We’ve got to mentor them, we’ve got to set them up with people when they’re leaving and that’s, it’s hard. But that’s what I think, if you’re gonna work in this space, and it is a privilege to work in this space, I think that’s the effort you’ve really got to put in. So, being aware of time, we’ve got, we have another video but we don’t have to show that. DVD: The Glen Ed & Jeff, Wiradjuri men: The ice took me to dark places, places that I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. Les, Gamillaroy man: I almost got sentenced to jail, and I just, I remember going to get on drugs and at that moment I just wanted to die. Ed & Jeff, Wiradjuri men: Eight months ago, I was dirty, you know, I was dirty on the world, I was a very angry with man. Ros, Gamillaroy woman: That’s the thing, your own child’s not gonna tell you what they use. There's a point when I went to court with him, and when he got up on the stand and speaking, and then he said that he was on ice, and I nearly died. As a parent, I was shattered. Ed & Jeff, Wiradjuri men: And it's a ripple effect too, you know? Ed & Jeff, Wiradjuri men: Wives and husbands, and our mums and dads, sons and daughters, they don't need, they don't need their loved ones hanging, hanging themselves that... This shit, this always sends you to depression so hard, it’s not funny. Ron, Dharrug man: Guess through the alcohol was more important than anything in my life, you know? Les, Gamillaroy man: I thought I could handle it out in society, and then I get out, and then the reality of it hit me, of being in the surroundings; being in that
environment, and then not having the tools that I needed to be able to deal with all the situations that I was dealt with, you know? And I was humbled you know, and I just hit the drugs even harder. Joe Coyte: So the guys that might have just come in off the street, thinking, you know, how did I get in this situation and then they get to hear a story, they get introduced to the guy whose in transition talking about you know, this is where I'm today, working, and I’m achieving all this stuff, but three or four months ago I was sitting right where you are. So the power of the example, I don't think you can buy that. Ed & Jeff, Wiradjuri men: And like one of the counsellors here, Glenn, I come through with him, you know? And, he was in transition and that’s one the blokes I looked up to. You know? He's inspiration to me, you know. Les, Gamillaroy man: Cause that's what got me through seeing other examples come through. Joe Coyte: The goal of every time we accept someone into the transition program; our goal and their goal is for them to exit the program as a tax payer. Ed & Jeff, Wiradjuri men: I never worked a day in my life until I come to The Glen, and now I've started working in transition Ron, Dharrug man: It's not just do your twelve weeks, see you later, do your best, you know what I mean? There is that support network there, up until you finish the program. Joe Coyte: When we counted last year there were over three thousand people come through The Glen so that network spreads far and wide, and all over NSW and Australia. Ron, Dharrug man: I've seen boys coming here, that they've never worked a day in their life. Now they're out there earning money, paying taxes, productive members of society, you know? Ed & Jeff, Wiradjuri men: I came here to give it a go, and it was the best thing that’s ever happened to me, you know? It’s taught me how to pay taxes, it's taught me how to feed my family, it's taught me how to... it's taught me how to live a life without alcohol and drugs, really. I can't speak highly enough about the place. Yeah. Les, Gamillaroy man: And that's what this place has done for me, it's given me the tools that I needed to be able to sit back, find out who I am, and just know how to deal with things a little bit better than what I thought, you know? There are other options out there.
Joe Coyte: You know at the moment, we get over a hundred applications a month and we are lucky if we can invite five to ten people in. Ron, Dharrug man: This place saves lives. It saves lives. It turns hopeless utter drunks like in my case, into productive members of society. Gives men back to their wives, gives men back to their children, gives men back to their mums and dads, you know what I mean? Ed & Jeff, Wiradjuri men: If I’d have known rehab was like this years ago, I probably would have come a lot earlier, you know? Les, Gamillaroy man: Yeah, this place here there's something about this place, you know. Probably being an Indigenous rehab and having it full of culture in my blood, you know. Something about that fire place, you know, it’s just unreal. Ed & Jeff, Wiradjuri men: It really brings out, brings your spirit back up, you know. Like your spirit’s been battered for so long, and um, getting your spiritual side back in check, you know. Ros, Gamillaroy woman: So they need to start early, with the younger ones. Even if they have like a rehab like this for young kids, that's on the drugs. That would be a good start. Ron, Dharrug man: Like I said to my grandkids you know, they were there the night that I got arrested, you know. Today they fight over whose coming to stay at pop's place. Ed & Jeff, Wiradjuri men: You know, because it's not easy this, you know what I mean, this, what we're doing it’s not easy, but, I tell you what, it’s rewarding. End.