Our stories

People who have used CADS share their stories, poems and songs. Thank you for sharing!





I personally think that CADS programmes are very Beneficial. I first came to CADS in 2005/2006.

I’ve come back to work on my anger and other issues. I’m in recovery from addiction to alcohol and drugs but I’ve also realised that I’m an addict to other addictions like anger. I want to change with doing a Managing Moods Programme.

Thank you CADS for giving me another chance to work on my habits and behaviour but I know I have to do the work, I just want the support and help.

I’m 85 days clean today of substances.

After drinking off and on for the past 30 years I have finally found the inner peace that I have long been searching for. Little did I know this drinking would become my full time career and take me to the depths of despair…

Realising just how sick I was, I finally got myself into CADS in desperation. I knew I couldn’t go on living the lifestyle I was. I could see myself dead within 6 months.

I was very fortunate and was introduced to the most wonderful counsellor, who took one look at me and could see my plea for help written all over my face. He was not judgmental, just the opposite. He was full of compassion and understanding. I have since called this gentleman my “guardian angel”. He managed to get me immediately into Pitman House and from there straight into Higher Ground where I was to spend the next 4 ½ months.

I also learnt about acceptance and finally surrendering to a power greater than myself. All of this didn’t happen overnight, it was not like a light bulb switching on but gradually things were becoming clear and my life improving.

It has been some time now since my last drink and what a life changing event this has been. My pride has come back as well as my physical health. The AA Fellowship is now a big part of my life as is working the 12 Step programme. This I do on a daily basis as well as attend a group session weekly at CAD’s and also have a catch up with my guardian angel.

I have made the most wonderful friends in my recovery. I am now happy, I can now look at myself in the mirror and think, “well you are not so bad”. I can now finally laugh and look people in the eye. I am finally enjoying life, a life of sobriety.

I know I can never undo the damage I have caused in the past, but that was yesterday, I now only live ‘one day at a time’. I have forgiven myself. Tomorrow is another day. The power of the bottle has gone, I now have my power back thanks to my Higher Power. Life is wonderful.

I'm just writing to inform you of the great experience and support that I have had through CADS and specifically Pitman House. I got an addiction by accident. I am 42 years old and had no history of drug or alcohol abuse until last year when I started taking clonazepam in an effort to deal with couple of traumatic situations that I found myself in. I didn't bother to google this drug and find out about its potential side affects and withdrawal difficulties until I was a week into a nightmarish cold turkey, 6 months after taking my first pill. This was an absolute nightmare and my GP switched me to Zoplicone in an effort to restore sleep. In the background I had chronic depression which was exacerbated by my reliance on the benzos and around xmas time I had literally reached rock bottom. I was starting to have suicidal thoughts and everything seemed hopeless. After trying to work with a different agency and getting nowhere fast I was finally put on to CADS - Pitman House. Everything moved very quickly for me from this point, even though things were a bit broken up by Xmas.

I had my first consultation and then met with a Doctor. I was listened to and given a gradual withdrawal programme which I followed to the letter. I was also referred to the physiotherapist for sleep and anxiety support. All these people have been excellent, and both their professionalism and support has been exemplary. I have been one week now off the zoplicone and my sleep is returning to normal and my general anxiety levels are under control. I have been able to do this without tapering with diazapam which I am very happy about.

I am married and have two young boys and am the sole income earner so there was a lot riding on me making a full recovery and remaining as functional as possible in the interim. Thank you.

After 30 years in a 12 step programme for family and friends of problem drinkers, I found myself bringing a sick addicted family member to CADS for help.

I quickly decided that I also needed the professional help of your counsellors and groups to help me with my behaviours and learning to live a peace filled life in spite of the people around me, and helping me to not rely on prescription drugs.

I am so grateful for the love and acceptance to enable me to truly live and love those around me who are still suffering from their illness and addictions.

My life, happiness and behaviour doesn’t depend on others but on my own choices!!

As I learn to behave better those children and grandchildren respond with more love and respect.

My behaviour not only helps me cope in stressful times but has also helped me through shifting house, helping family through separation and a car accident. I acted well instead of reacting and making myself more miserable.

It’s called the Demon Drink,
It doesn’t allow you to think.
It takes away the pain,
Only to bring it back again.

You may think it’s a true friend,
But it will bring you to an untimely end.
No headache in the morning,
That surely is a loud warning.

I’ll just have one for the road,
You are putting your body into overload.
It’s not a thriller,
It’s a damned killer.

If you are in a rush to be dead,
You need to get someone to check your head.
That’s why it’s called the Demon Drink,
It doesn’t allow you to think.

A wonderful friend told me, do you remember the Indiana Jones movie the last Crusade. When Indiana Jones closes his eyes and leaps across an invisible bridge into the unknown. “That sometimes you got to have faith.”

Five months ago, I had long hair, thick beard, lost my job again and smelt like the something the cat dragged in. I had been smoking Cannabis for 25 years. My sister had sat me down and told me how the truth, the “weed” had disconnected me from my family, I was present but I wasn’t there, I stopped caring about my appearance. I was forty and I was treated like a child, my family walking on eggshells because they were afraid to tell me the truth. That day I cried a lot.

The next day I started going to CADS. This time I meant it. Last time I said what they wanted to hear, this time was different. I wrote a plan to manage my addiction, I thought I was weak, I needed marijuana to watch TV, to escape my feelings, deal with family. I stayed only in my comfort zone and always terrified of life.

My first group was with my group facilitators, who taught me skills like identify triggers and beliefs. Dealing with the Beast I called it. I read my workbooks and did my homework. I tried to go every Monday. On Fridays I had one-on-one counselling.  My counsellor taught me how to deal with my feelings for the first time.  I listened to my Wairua (spirit) and it made me more understanding of what brought me here. There has been ups and downs.  Watching TV sober was amazing and connecting with my whanau truly for the first time, dealing with all the bad feelings.

The Leap of Faith is when I gave up marijuana and nicotine for the first time. I trusted the skills I had learned from the group and my counsellor that I could cope with what lay ahead for me.

40 days clean, my Wairua is strong, I have good relationships with my whanau, I see life more happy and positive, I want to devote my life to people with addictions. I want people to feel how I feel and live with a smile.

Some come to CADS like a prison cell
To release them from their fiery hell
To feel peace from their personal grief
The devil takes life like a friendly thief.

But CADS are there to give some hope
To free you from booze and dope
And things in life that hold you back
And give back control and put lives back on track.

So why are you here? Why are you here?
Sent by the courts? Or out of fear?
To think what you are or could become
Whatever it is, the first step’s not much fun.

But now you are here, what will you do?
You can tell more lies or speak what’s true
To release you life from what holds you back
So free your life from addictions trap.

Honestly, I never thought methadone was anything other than another drug. My partner and I had, what most people would consider, a life. Money aplenty, beautiful home, nice car and the time to enjoyed it all.

Of course, drugs (as always) brought that all to a slow but sure death, in a blaze of fear and disappointment. Thank goodness I had met the love of my life before it all “hit the fan”. We have carried each other through the last few years.

To cap it all off, we were both sent to prison for helping her son while he was on the run from the police! While in prison my partner discovered she had breast cancer. Thank God, a mastectomy and chemotherapy/ radiotherapy saved her life. Thing is, we know that if we had not gone to prison, she would never have found out in time.
You could say that prison was a stabilizing/saving factor in our lives, most definitely, but methadone has been the rock against which we braced ourselves for all the incredible “bumps” in our lives. Without methadone in our lives, I shudder to think what might have happened to us.

In my fifteen odd years on the methadone, I’ve found that it can put various limitations on your life, “liquid handcuffs” and all that. It’s hard to travel and it’s possible you may have to partially deceive some people about certain things’ like why you need to go to the chemist so much!

You could argue that there are negative things about methadone. To me, they all mean very little when compared to the fact that methadone gave us our lives back.. Almost certainly, literally saving our lives.

It’s funny, before prison we had everything that “society” considers you need to have a happy and successful life. Only problem was we were still abusing drugs to some degree. We thought we had a handle on it, but of course we were kidding ourselves. Once prison removed drugs completely from our lives and we continued in that light ever since, only then were we able to have a real life with the help of methadone.

A lot of people would say that we have a lot less now, but I can honestly say that we’ve never been so happy!  I don’t necessarily believe that methadone is appropriate in every case or everybody. I also feel that your case worker has a great deal to do with your success. I know our’s had a very positive effect in our lives.
I do feel that I am qualified to say that if it is suitable in your case and you use it how you’re supposed to, methadone will help you.

We first came to CADS when we arrived home from Aussie, broken, sick and shrouded in shame. We persuaded our families we were miraculously cured and truly remorseful and left counselling as quick as we could… Soon bankrupt, again, under investigation and horribly sick, I thought I’d had enough. My husband hadn’t and I have never seen him again. I returned to CADS where I had weekly counselling, and did intensive group therapy. I managed to stay off opiates for about six months and I thought I really was miraculously cured. I didn’t think twice about my stash of weed, a drink here and there, or the weekend ‘P’ benders. Funnily enough, my miraculous cure fell apart pretty quickly. And now it was time to see what “rock bottom” was all about. I spent the next year thinking I had it sorted - working part-time, under the table of course, and spending wage and benefit on my drug of choice. I was alone, desperate and I couldn’t go on.

I re-engaged with CADS and they let me stay. I pushed it as much as I could, kept on using and hoped I’d never get called on it. After years of going on and off “bupe” (buprenorphine/Suboxone) in Aussie, I learned about community detox here, and that “bupe” was now available in NZ. I tried community detox twice to no avail. Again I was unravelling fast and I wanted to die. I couldn’t see any way out. Things came to a head and my dirty secret was out. I was so relieved to finally not be living a lie anymore. I detoxed at Pitman House, re-engaged with CADS and started doing 12 Step programs.

And almost three years later, here I am.

My clean life is amazing. I’ve just started working full-time in my dream job. My relationships are healthy, if not always to my liking! Despite breaking up with my boyfriend recently, I AM OK!!! Today I don’t have to drink or use drugs to deal with life and, every day, that amazes me. I never thought I could even get clean, let alone live clean and like it. Today, thanks to the amazing people I’ve met along the way, and my faith in a 12 Step program, I wouldn’t change a thing.

Discover our journey united & bold
Permit minds to ponder, good thoughts that unfold.
Should minds be of absence, opinion unheard
Offer forgiveness, submit a quiet word.

Flippant beware! Good humor of course
Bona-fide laughter, be part or endorse.
Our aim is for victory, acceptance, & Grace
Whispers keep sacred, respect others space.

Deny a self- purpose, a moment to judge
But share all well wishes, as opposed to a grudge.
It’s not over yet, the fun’s just begun
Rehearse our falsetto’s a song must be done.

Obeisance our mentor’s, kind thanks & goodwill
We’ll close with embrace, & embark our new skill.

Way down in a Valley, In a Valley so Low
There I saw a man lost in a world he didn’t know
He thought he was cold and lonely, where nobody cares
Down in this valley with shadows of fears.

We sing from a mountain so very high
Listen to our singing you will know why
Climb up on the Mountain, Climb up to the path my friend
Find the Path to Love and the path will never end

A man climbed up from the Valley, in a Valley so cold
He found a path, a beauty to behold
Sometimes the path is twisted and cold like an endless frost
Please don’t lose hope my friend, your only lost


A man sings from the mountain, a mountain so high
He lived in the valley. For so long he thought he would die
His soul is singing, he sings for the Soul
For the man in the Valley who was once so very very cold.

This is part of a song written by one of our talented Consumers

My life story gotta have a remix
Gotta be a Magician wit a bag of tricks
Tryin to get myself of the floor
No more runnin to the Liquor store

Like an Architect I’m makin a master plan
Building a dream to be that better man
I gotta stop listenin to the whispers
Stop taken to heart the hater’s whispers

Gonna be like Rocky & have a fight song
Its time to get step, step, stepping on
Wanna be the king of my domain
Wanna find a queen to take my name

Gonna become the man I wanna be
Cos I don’t wanna cry no more
Gonna become the man I wanna be
Cos I don’t wanna hurt no more

Also look out for the December pRogReSsioN for extended recovery story and song

I've been thinking for a while about what I could tell people about my journey with CADS. I guess my story is a success story about recovery. However I see it mainly as a story about how the support and care of some amazing people has helped me to change my life.

When I first came to seek help here, I felt very lonely and desperate. I had turned away from family, friends, and in some ways from life itself. Now eight years later my life is looking very different and bright. I have achieved things I never thought would be possible for me to achieve. Today I own my own house, work in my dream job and am in a healthy relationship with my husband. We still have our ups and downs and life is still far from perfect. I know there are and will be disappointments, many uncertainties and many things I am scared of. There will be many changes and challenges. The difference is, today I feel much better equipped to live life up to it's fullest as well as facing the things I fear, because of what I have learned about myself and what has changed within myself.

Today I am able to:

  • Listen to myself
  • Argue with myself
  • Belong to myself
  • Feel myself
  • Be happy
  • Be sad
  • Be vulnerable
  • Feel valuable
  • Be loyal to myself
  • Be at peace with myself
  • Let myself be
  • Be excited
  • Be angry
  • Be scared
  • Feel the energy
  • Stand by my side
  • Trust myself
  • Experience the world in my own way
  • Do everything and nothing
  • Know that I do some days better than others
  • Experience my life
  • Be responsible for myself
  • Ask for help
  • Not be responsible for others
  • Look out for others
  • Be loyal to others
  • Live for my own joy
  • Enjoy being with others
  • Be present with others
  • Miss others
  • Enjoy being with myself
  • Know I'll wake up tomorrow morning
  • Lay trust in my own death
  • Be part of the universe
  • Be part of the infinite being

I am simply able to be.