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Be a role model and help tackle problem drinking

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Glen Stewart at Oolong House, NSW. Photo: David Norsworthy.
13 Sep 2012

Individuals and communities are leading the fight against problem dinking. Find out more about how people are working to Close the Gap in Indigenous health outcomes with this week’s Indigenous.gov.au feature on alcohol.

Turning your back on grog can inspire others.

Glen Stewart spent nearly forty years binge drinking before he took a personal decision to put the grog behind him.

Now he helps other men at Oolong House, an Aboriginal run residential rehabilitation centre in Nowra, on the south coast of New South Wales.

“I started drinking as a teenager,” Glen said. “When you’re young you do what your mates do otherwise you find yourself isolated.

“After I started working, I became an alcoholic who wouldn’t go home for days. Eventually my wife got sick of it. That hit home.”

With alcohol taking a huge family, health and economic toll, Glen entered rehabilitation at Oolong House and believes his time there was vital to beating his addiction.

“It’s important to isolate yourself from the alcohol and from the peer pressure. So I spent four months away from the community so I could clear my head and change my life.”

Following his rehabilitation, Glen began volunteering at Oolong House, and was then offered a full-time position.

“The Kooris who come in feel comfortable talking to me about their problems,” he said. “I get asked a lot about my recovery because the Koori blokes like to hear about how another Koori dealt with it.”

“I tell them they have to be role models. My wife and I foster three little kids and the best thing you can do for them is to get up sober each morning and go to work.

“The best move I ever made was that initial call to Oolong House because my life has gone forward in leaps and bounds. It’s so much easier to make decisions when you’re sober and you’ve got a clear head.”

Find out more

The Australian Government supports Oolong House and other alcohol rehabilitation projects around Australia.

Other stories in this week’s Indigenous.gov.au feature on alcohol:

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