Support ‘breaking the cycle’ for Canberra family

Adam is this year’s Salvation Army Red Shield Appeal testimonial speaker and says the support he’s received from the organisation means “everything”. Photo: Kerrie Brewer.

“It was just at that right time. I was sitting at Woden, I didn’t know what to do, and I got that phone call; it was like it was God. And that was the start of my journey at CRS.”

Canberra man Adam was lucky to get an ‘early bed’ in the Salvation Army’s Canberra Recovery Services (CRS) program, a residential program for people experiencing alcohol, drug and/or gambling dependencies.

“I fell into addiction pretty early. At about 12 I started drinking and smoking dope, and by 16 I was on heroin,” Adam says.

“My mum was part of the Stolen Generations and my dad was a bikie … I grew up into dysfunction.”

Adam says when he left Tasmania, where he was born, he was “on the streets and involved with different groups and different gangs”.

“I just lived a lifestyle that was out of control for a lot of years. I was in and out of juvenile detention which progressed to in and out of prison.”

He says the Salvos “loved me back to life” and supported him so that he is now able to be the full-time parent for his one-year-old daughter, with the Church helping with housing and furnishings.

“Everything you see here [in the house] is from the Salvos and the Church and the people I’ve met since I’ve been clean … Me and [my daughter] moved in here; I had nothing. I saved up enough to get her a cot and a change table.”

Adam says the support from the Salvos has inspired him to pursue ministry. He is now an adherent of his local Corps, and he is looking at studying theology “to help others”.

“I’ve got a real passion to help others; bring them out of the life that I was in,” he says.

“Obviously I have a real heart for ministry and helping others, but at the moment, being a single dad, I don’t get the opportunity to probably do as much as I want to be doing.

“[My daughter] is my most important ministry, at the moment.”

Adam says the support he’s received means “everything”, and that he struggles to put it into words.

“It’s not only just my life that’s saved; it’s broken the cycle for my little girl. She is going to get the opportunity to have a life, do whatever she wants to, be whatever she wants to be.”

The Salvation Army’s Red Shield Appeal runs over April, May and June every year, with the Red Shield Doorknock taking place on 25-26 May. To volunteer or to donate, visit

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