RESILIENT: Toowoomba man and ex-Sunrise Way resident Max Evans was a guest at the facility's fundraiser breakfast on March 2, 2018.
RESILIENT: Toowoomba man and ex-Sunrise Way resident Max Evans was a guest at the facility's fundraiser breakfast on March 2, 2018. Tom Gillespie

'I was going crazy': Ex-addict's path to resilience

ONE of the hardest things Max Evans had to do was turn the door knob at the entrance to Sunrise Way.

"I was so scared - I was shaking like a leaf," the Toowoomba man said.

Mr Evans was one of several former residents of the drug rehabilitation centre invited to its fundraising breakfast this morning.

While ABC Landline host Pip Courtney was the guest speaker for the event, discussing the theme of resilience, the numerous ex-addicts were the real stars.

Sunrise Way CEO Wendy Agar and former resident Max Evans.
Sunrise Way CEO Wendy Agar and former resident Max Evans. Tom Gillespie

Mr Evans, who battled alcoholism for much of his adult life, described a harrowing situation while he has trapped by addiction.

"It got to the stage where I had to have it first thing in the morning, as soon as I woke up," he said.

"If I didn't have any left from the night before, I thought I was going to go crazy.

"Sometimes, I wondered if I could physically walk into the pub, I was that much of a mess."

Mr Evans was advised by his boss and family to seek rehabilitation, eventually entering Sunrise Way in August 2016.

Now sober for 14 months, he said his entire outlook on life has changed.

My life has changed dramatically - thankfully I still had a job to go back to, which unfortunately other residents don't," he said.

"My relationship with my family is magical - I didn't think it could ever be that good.

"I'd lost everything, the only time I'd contacted them was when I wanted money.

"I now see the kids all the time and they come around and see me."

ABC rural journalist and Landline host Pip Courtney speaks at the Sunrise Way breakfast fundraiser.
ABC rural journalist and Landline host Pip Courtney speaks at the Sunrise Way breakfast fundraiser. Tom Gillespie

Ms Courtney, who lost her husband John in a helicopter crash seven years ago, said her own battle to cope with loss was made easier because she had a strong support network.

"There would've been an appearance, because people know me from the telly, that I was this resilient person, and that was not the case," she admitted.

"The reason I was able to keep going is because of the support that I had - I had a job, a house, money in the bank, a supportive workplace, a great boss.

"When I think about what some of the people who come here have got, I wonder how they recover and heal. I think it's about having a team behind you."

The event was one of this year's major fundraisers for the facility, which is still experiencing a funding shortfall despite State Government assistance.

CEO Wendy Agar said another major event was scheduled for the middle of this year.

 

Announcement at Sunrise Way: Announcement at Sunrise Way