Welcome Home, Adam

As I write this, my good friend Adam Brookes, he of Adam’s Story, is just two hours away from arriving back in Australia. I will post this blog after I hear that he has landed in Darwin, en route for a two-week stay in Howard Springs Quarantine Facility. Then he’s heading back home to Dapto in New South Wales.

For those of us who know Adam, his arrival will be the most wonderful news. In fact, I was absolutely over-the-moon with joy when I heard he had passed through into the departure lounge at Heathrow Airport yesterday afternoon my time here in Perth. Why, you might ask?

At the end of his original Recovery Story, Adam described how he had travelled to the UK in 2011 to meet a number of people involved in the budding recovery advocacy movement there. Whilst there, he fell in love and eventually got married. That was beginning of a nightmare for Adam, which is told in his Recovery Story update in my newly released book Our Recovery Stories: Journeys from Drug and Alcohol Addiction.

Adam eventually relapses in the face of considerable adversity in his family life and memories of a past traumatic experience, but he then starts to rebuild his life in the face of even more adversity. His Story is heart-wrenching—what happened to Adam would break the vast majority of people. But his Story is wonderfully uplifting as well. It shows the strength of human spirit, incredible resilience in the face of one major knock-back after another. Despite all that happens, Adam picks himself up and continues his Recovery Journey.

He returns to Australia, where family and friends help him further strengthen his recovery. He then decides to return to the UK, but on the flight back realises he is making a mistake. (You can learn about the dilemma Adam faces in his updated Story).

‘I arrived back in the UK to find that I still had my apartment. I got my job back, luckily, and was very grateful for this. I got back into the swing of things at work and was travelling around the country with the job. I reconnected with my AA buddies. 

And then the Covid lockdown occurred, on the 23rd of March, just over two weeks after my return to the UK. The government imposed a stay-at-home order, banning all non-essential travel and contact with people outside one’s home. My company laid me off and I was left thinking, ‘What on earth am I going to do?’ All I had for support was my neighbour in the same apartment block. I was not in a good place. 

Two weeks after the lockdown started, I joined my first AA Zoom meeting, a 24-hour meeting from New Zealand. I immediately got stuck into these AA Zoom meetings, spending a good deal of time on my computer. I was hosting and chairing meetings, ‘meeting and greeting’, and being ‘on patrol’ to deal with ‘invaders’ who crashed the meetings to show pornographic material or private parts of their body. 

My service gave me a sense of purpose, achievement and responsibility. It gave me a routine and, along with my exercise, really helped me. I also got to meet a lot of new people around the world. I don’t know how I got through financially, but I did…’ Our Recovery Stories: Journeys from Drug and Alcohol Addiction. Copyright © 2021 by David Clark

Adam becomes one of many Australian citizens stranded abroad, facing incredible high ticket prices (and a lottery of losing your seat to someone willing to pay more) to get home on the very small number of flights to Australia. But he gets his job back, has his Zoom meetings, and keeps trying to get a flight. No luck with the latter!

A year later, still desperately trying to get home, Adam is made redundant. How will he survive financially?

In desperation, he once again checks the Australian government-organised flights back home, not expecting anything as tickets are booked up way in advance. But…

… there is a seat available for an Australian government repatriation Qantas flight back home the following week. And at a very reasonable price. All he needs is a negative Covid-test two days before the flight. And then he is at Heathrow, calling me from the departure lounge saying he on his way home. If anyone deserved that incredible piece of luck, it is Adam Brookes.

Welcome home, matey! And the beginning of a new wonderful life!!

PS. I thought you’d like to see that photo of you when you were teaching Sam [my youngest son] to surf, taken on 19th April 2011. Just to remind you of the Perth beaches… and your buddies here. And you will have seen that I’ve included a reminder of the UK—that incredible Recovery March in Cardiff in 2011 with your great friend Wynford Ellis Owen.