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2 October 2019


For the first time in a long time I am on the up and up, and I am feeling pretty good about that! I see hope for my future. I still have work to do, but I am further along my road to recovery than I could have ever imagined. Life has been pretty tough for as long as I can remember. When I think about the past, I can see how angry and frustrated I have felt. At five months I was burnt pretty badly in a house fire. For the next 12 years I endured many operations under the care of Professor Fiona Woods. I had some learning difficulties growing up, and I remember sitting in class, not learning anything, not doing anything. No-one knew what to do with me.

Towards the end of primary school, I was bored and angry with too much energy and nowhere to place it, and I discovered drugs. For many years drugs would become a defining part of my life. Drugs always came first, before relationships, education, work or anything else. I am not proud of some things I have done, and part of my recovery is accepting my past.

Part of the reason I want to tell my story is to get the word out there that people who use drugs are not bad people. Being an addict is not fun. We use drugs instead of seeking help. We use drugs because we insist on doing it on our own. We hide behind the drugs to hide from whatever truths we can’t face, and to escape the pain. We use drugs because fixing things seems way too hard. I want to share my story to show that you can turn things around.

The Big Issue came into my life two-and-a-half years ago, after another vendor, Kevin, encouraged me to give it a go. I think that my love of selling, and the energy I get from interacting with my customers, is what makes me a good vendor.

I can’t contain my enthusiasm and I get an endorphin rush whenever I sell a magazine. The boss told me that they get lots of positive feedback from my customers, but the truth is I just have wonderful customers that I love talking to. Selling The Big Issue has really boosted my self-esteem – it’s good to be good at something. It has become a big part of my life and part of my routine. My main focus at the moment is my recovery and getting well, and routine is part of that.

You miss out on a lot when you’re an addict, and I am enjoying learning some life skills such as cooking, and rebuilding some relationships that have been damaged. I am so grateful for Mum who has always supported me, through all the ups and downs. I want to live more independently and, longer term, I would love to go back to school.

I am getting better at accepting help, so reckon I will be able to give it a real shot this time around. My real dream is to be in a relationship and have a family of my own. I have so much energy and drive, and for the first time I am starting to believe in myself. I cannot wait to see what my future holds.

Photo by Ross Swanborough

Interview by Andrew Joske
Jarran sells The Big Issue at North Perth Plaza.