Meet a Mate - Bruce Howie

Meet a Mate - Bruce Howie

20 July 2020

Mate and Veteran, Bruce Howie, shares his story of how reaching out for support can make all the difference.

It was 2015, 30 years after I discharged from the Australian Army. I was 109kgs, living by myself after a divorce, and many of my family members were not talking to me. 

I had a bottle of vodka every night plus a few beers. But I always thought there was nothing wrong with me. I had been drinking since I was 15. It wasn’t until I began to realise that if I didn’t make changes quickly, I could die before I should. 

With the support of a GP, I changed psychiatrists and in 2017 was admitted to Toowong Private Hospital. While there, I attended a program for ex-service personnel suffering from PTSD.

As part of that program, we were taken for a tour at Mates4Mates. I was impressed with their services – it was unlike any organisation I had seen before. Seeing that they also had exercise physiologists and psychologists on site, I applied to join and haven’t looked back. 

After I discharged from Toowong Private, I decided to stop drinking. I had tried many times before, but it never stuck. 

I started seeing a psychologist at Mates4Mates and here began an awesome change in my life. For some reason I sat up and listened. All my arguments ended up out the door, and I slowly but surely started implementing some of the tools I was learning. As the old adage states, “If nothing changes, nothing changes”, and I did begin to change.

I also started seeing an exercise physiologist at the Brisbane Family Recovery Centre and the story was the same – I wanted to change. I started on a back-pain management program and joined challenges such as the 10,000 steps challenge. The weight loss began, and I started looking at what else I could now do. My life has changed for the better.

The main reason that I decided to share this story is because I could not have possibly achieved all this without Mates4Mates. A truly unique and enjoyable place. 

I am 68 this year. I now weigh 84kg. I have not had a drink since November 2018, which alone is unbelievable, taking into account that I was drinking for 53 years, and have never been this long without a drink.  

My son, daughter and my grandchildren are now talking to me a lot more, and I enjoy that time a lot more. My former bride and I have a stronger relationship. I have also joined a gym, for the days and time I cannot get into Mates4Mates. A truly impossible state of events which could not possibly have been achieved without Mates4Mates.

Written by Veteran and Mate, Bruce Howie

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