Trigger Warning: For some people in recovery watching Addicted Australia there may be some parts of the show that are triggering, particularly in relation to gambling methods being depicted. You may want to seek support while watching if this is the case.
Addiction is rarely portrayed on television and when it is it often perpetuates shame and stigma rather than showing the real, complex lives of people being affected by addiction.
The new Addicted Australia documentary series takes cameras into the lives of ten Australians and their families, to show real stories of addiction. Each of the ten participants have enrolled into a unique and bespoke treatment program, developed by Turning Point, to access holistic care and support, recover and get on with their lives.
This is their story.
You can also read about Turning Point’s response to Episode 1 here.
If you would like to discuss the episode with peers check out the forum thread here.
Addiction can touch anyone
“I don’t look like a drug addict, so I’ve been told. I don’t know what one looks like really, because I’m one, so they look like me,” Sarah, 42, addicted to ‘ice’ (crystal methamphetamine).
Right from the outset the documentary makes an important point about addiction - it can affect anyone in our community. No matter what someone looks like, where they live or their background, addiction does not discriminate.
Many people don’t understand addiction. If you want to learn more about how gambling addiction works and why people can become addicted check out some of our resources here.
It’s particularly important to realise that the reasons for addiction and individual experiences are as varied as people themselves as you’ll notice in this episode. The participants have problems with different substances or in Lucas’ case gambling and are at vastly different stages of recovery.
No two experiences will be the same and therefore the treatment and support should also be individualised. For anyone ready to make a change, we have a range of support options available.
Addiction is not failure
To reduce shame and stigma and improve access to treatment it’s incredibly important that people understand that addiction is a health condition not a moral failing.
Addiction is a chronic health condition that occurs when someone is unable to stop consuming a drug or activity, even if it is causing physical or psychological harm, or interfering with everyday life.
Lucas is clearly experiencing this type of harm with his gambling addiction, having reporting significant financial losses from gambling, he constantly experiences the urge to gamble and is concerned that if something doesn’t change he will become homeless and loose his children. He is not alone with these concerns, many people who seek support on Gambling Help Online have similar stories.
It’s also important to note that recovery takes time and changes through an individual’s journey. In the documentary we see a range of people at different stages in their recovery and they all need support in different ways. Even when people experience lapse or relapse it’s not a failure, but rather another step in their recovery process.
Families and friends are also affected by addiction
On the program, support is also provided to the families of participants. The effect on families and friends when a loved one is working through addiction shouldn’t be understated. We understand this and have a range of support options for friends and family on our site.
We see a range of treatment and support options depicted in this episode including:
A key part of the Turning Point treatment model is a weekly peer support group, where the participants meet to support each other and discuss they journey. Our peer support forum provides a similar function and is available 24/7.
Several of the participants have counselling sessions with clinicians in this episode. Talking to someone about where you are at and what you can do to make a change can be really helpful at all stages of recovery. Find out more about chat counselling.
Keep watching and access support
We believe Addicted Australia is incredibly empowering viewing, and the most truthful portrayal of addiction that has ever been shown on Australian television. We hope you continue to watch over the coming weeks.
Remember, if you or anyone you know is affected by addiction and need support, we are here to help 24/7.