Jordan | Ōteha Valley

“I actually moved up to Auckland and came to a residential treatment centre. I’ve been in active addiction for about 20 years now. I’ve seen my family struggle with mental health and addiction issues, as long as I’ve been an adult.

So, it’s something that affects me really personally. I’ve not long come out of that treatment centre, and yesterday actually, I just got a job interview with the CFO of that treatment centre, who’s now a project manager for a recovery café. So, my cloud has definitely been around that mental health and addiction and the silver lining is I’m now in a position to go and help other people and be in a social work position, to be a peer support worker. So, I think for me personally, I’ve always wanted to turn my experiences into someone else’s empowerment. I didn’t feel like I could just walk through my journey, and not give back. I’ve had really good examples of that with my family, as well, but also social workers. 

What did I learn? Until you actually have first-hand experience with certain things, you can only develop a certain level of empathy and understanding. So, I think that’s been the biggest lesson, is being very mindful and being very empathetic towards people, and understanding that everybody has a really unique story. It’s helped me to come away from a place of judgement and just really appreciate connection and getting to know people on a deeper level. It makes the world more interesting to me now. I don’t see faces in a crowd. I kind of wonder, what their story is, where they’re going, what makes them tick? It just makes me more curious and fascinated. That’s one of the lessons, just in coming through my experiences, I’m doing things that I never thought I’d be able to do. Two or three years ago, I never thought I’d be sitting here. I didn’t think I’d be away from my family, my comfort zone. So, I’m finding strength and courage I never thought I had, and being able to share that with other people, and to just operate and navigate the world with that kind of self-belief is something really cool.

I was born in Sydney, Australia. Lived there for a little bit. Lived in Melbourne for a little bit, came back to New Zealand, and lived in Wellington when I was about nine years. It was just me. I’ve got a twin brother, and raised by a single mum. So, that was us. Moved from Wellington to Hamilton when we were teenagers, lived in Raglan, and then moved to Tauranga. So, we’ve got a homestead and I’ve just recently come up to Auckland. So, been all over the show, really.”

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