Before working with Partners In Recovery I didn't know what to do or where to start. After leaving my family home, I had been homeless for three years and life was a living hell. I was on and off the street and when I met up with Ryan, a Support Facilitator from Neami, I had been living in a tent in Sutherland for six months. Partners In Recovery were able to help me out while I was living in the tent by buying me a solar panel to charge my phone. Ryan helped me to complete the paperwork needed to apply for housing, was great at providing clear instructions and every time we had an appointment, it had a set purpose. Even when I went to Queensland for a month, Ryan kept in contact and I was able to reconnect when I returned to Sutherland. I was housed in the Eastern Suburbs three months after submitting my housing application and PIR was able to buy me the furniture needed to set up my home. My life is enjoyable now and I am attending TAFE and starting up a business doing computer and electronic repairs. My relationship with my family, my mum and siblings, is better than it has been before and I have some good friends. I often refer people I meet to PIR and the Orana and Cronulla Uniting Church breakfast hubs that I used to attend and I would suggest to anyone to link up with the right service and keep working on it.
I first joined the PIR program in March 2014. To fast forward from those initial meetings in March, I have since completed cooking courses, an anxiety management course and a meditation course through St George and Sutherland Community College. On top of that, I also started martial arts classes, a Zines print making course at Mortdale Community Centre and a computer course through Stapleton Avenue Community Centre. My art helped me to expand my self-expression and gain the self-confidence to talk to groups of people. I am developing the inner protection against the nature of schizophrenia.
Working with Barry from PIR and other services has been like a working alliance and it feels like everyone believed in me and that it was possible for me to achieve my dreams of recovery. My panic attacks have become less of an issue. I have developed coping mechanisms through art, meditation and martial arts. My vision of reality has improved. The process of recovery through PIR has awakened a positive person within myself.
"Part of Leo's journey has included having a network that has provided person-centred support that is responsive and collaborative. From a Support Facilitator's perspective, Leo has taught me a great deal about what recovery means and what the value of a supportive network is." - Barry Sierra – Leo's Support Facilitator