I moved to Sydney when I was 2 just me my older Brother my Mum and Dad, my family was heavily involved in soccer indoor and out. Always first there helping set up. We were in a big flood and we lost everything having to swim across the road to get to safety, we moved around a lot. My Dad was a builder and in my eyes probably one of the best he was a perfectionist in his trade, my Mum was sporty and caring we didn’t have much but we didn’t go with out. My Dad got offered a job in a small country town which he took and we packed up all are stuff and headed there, leaving all are friends behind for a fresh start. I didn’t fit in very well and found it hard. My parents bought a house across the road from a swimming pool, I was there the majority of the time when I wasn’t at school (I still hold a few records at that pool today). At school I was always that little bit shorter than everyone else, and my class mates would always remind me of this fact. I had a few issues going on at home and often felt alone. My Mum left my Dad for reasons I did not understand which I do now (we lost 10 years in this process but have made amends) and I stayed with my Dad who had his own demons to deal with, lots of people who we came to know helped us out in this small town and I am thankful for all who tried to help me. Me and my Dad did not see eye to eye, my Brother had his head screwed on left home and joined the military excelling in all areas of his career. While I got a job on weekends in a local supermarket my Dad remarried to a lovely lady and I got a step Sister and Brother, I left home in not the best way, and started my apprenticeship as a Chef. I moved into lots of different houses while I was doing my apprenticeship. I started doing lots of silly things which got me in a bit of trouble with the law. I had a lot of anger issues and trust issues which got worse if I started drinking which I did often. One thing I am thankful I got from my Dad is my work ethic it didn’t matter what state I ended up in I always went to work. I didn’t have any were to live for a short time and I use to come back to the restaurant after every one had left and make a bed on a few chairs using a table cloth for a blanket and have it all put away early before anyone else arrived and start morning preparations. I was lucky enough to meet a man that owned a cement Depo which had a lunch room and showers and he let me live there providing I kept an eye on the place at night and locked up. It was great my oven was my heater. I had to drive an hour to go to Tafe so I bought a car. I lost my license several times for drink driving so I was back to asking for lifts riding my bike and hitch hiking, my relationships wouldn’t last because of my own insecurities and trust issues which followed me wherever I would go, my drinking along with other addictions and crowd was getting me in lots of trouble. (If you shit on your door step you end up smelling) my brother who was high up in the military knew of my struggles and helped me apply for the military as well. I got my trade as a chef and also got accepted into the military. I had a few months to wait till I joined so I ended up going fruit picking 55cents a bucket with some friends and met some great people on the way. I went through recruit school it was a different group of people all wanting the same thing it was a great feeling. I recommend any military service to anyone who needs direction or is unclear about their path. I have always been good at adapting to my surroundings, meeting some great people I am still friends with today. When I was in a controlled environment I excelled. But when left to my own devices I fell, were many could have a casual drink, I took it to the next level always with my past getting blown out of proportion and ruining my night and for those around me. It’s not easy to accept when we have a problem thinking you can handle something only to repeat the same mistakes over and over. I got based in the same base as my brother which was great for a while, with his career progression he moved away again. In the military I was lucky enough to see lots of different countries and assist in lots of different opportunities that help disaster struck areas. I started getting in trouble again for similar issues I had before, and out of work I would do the same stuff that would get me in trouble. The military noticed that I wasn’t performing at my best probably because I was acting like a dickhead, and sent me to an 8 week rehab I had to attend AA every day and see lots of Counsellors and psychologist at first I hated it but once I became honest with myself I started working through my emotional issues and people that could control the way I felt. I had a choice to stay the same and blame everyone for my current situation or make something better off my life and be the person I always wanted to be. All I needed to do at the start was so a day at a time. I’m not religious at all but through AA I found my own God a God of my understanding who wanted me to never give up, and if I did fall to dust myself off and not make the same mistake again, when I got out off rehab I continued going to AA I recommend anyone to go to AA if you have any issues involving alcohol because it’s not just about drinking it’s learning how to live and be whole, going through the steps is one of the best things I completed in my life and I like to go through them with any one who needs, the serenity prayer has been a useful tool and is still apart of my life, i kept attending AA meetings when I had got back into my military life and also to try to control myself and limit my time alone. I took up a part time job making coffee in a cafe, I met my wife not to long after this and she was the first girl I was truly honest with, I moved out of the area and groups that I new so well and we moved to a mining town. I went door knocking to get a job in the mines, I still wanted to attend AA but there was non in this town so I started up my own AA meeting and had a few members after some time. I was working on the surface until I met a bloke that told me if I played football for the town he would get me a job underground I had never played AFL but my rugby skills would come in handy once I learned the rules. My mining career was going good, my partner and I was getting pretty serious and we wanted to take it further, I reached out to my mum to make amends having lost 10 years through a lot of reasons, it was a good step for me. I got married and we had are first child my mum came to live in the same mining town to reconnect even more, through this time I took on a lot of extra courses in mental health and received my diploma in counselling, this was all to get my own head working out issues so I could be the best person I could for my wife and for my kids, the more I learned about myself and other mental health issues the better version of myself I became,. I was captain of the mines rescue team, the safety rep on crew after completing my IFAP course and I developed a passion for training in the art of Brazilian Jujitsu, I had always loved training in different sorts of martial arts but jujitsu for me was my calling and still is today, it has humbled me in ways that only practicing jujitsu people would understand. I moved up in different roles of underground work until I was an Airleg Miner which suited me fine it was hard work and i got paid for what i did. The money was good but so was the danger, some times I use to sit on a rock and gather myself after there was a change of ground which was common in underground work. I would write letters to my wife my son and my future kids just in case anything would happen, I continued moving up in mining and became a underground Shift Boss moving to different mines and moving towns. I started working for a great company who put safety first and now I am an underground foreman. I’ve also competed in several Brazilian Jujitsu tournaments which I will talk about in another post. A year ago I started flying in and out for work, so my kids can have the best schooling I can give them, all the while offering lots of support and counselling to whoever has needed it, I have been to a few schools to tell my story and offer support, knowing anything is possible if you have help and are willing to move forward in your life. I am 38 now married for nearly 11 wonderful years 2 kids who I have the best bond with and a new one that is getting to know me, my story is not the best one and it’s not the worst one but it’s my story this is definitely the PG version to what I could of told, my journey is far from over and I’ll never stop trying to be better than I was yesterday, I try my best in all that I do and I make mistakes, but I do learn from them and I’ll never give up. I have a good relationship with all my family and am thankful for my journey so far. My career today is dealing with lots of people getting the best out of my team, I love my job and I love my life. I want to give help to anyone that needs it, and continue growing in all areas of my life.
Published by alanwballard
Happily married and Dad of 3 doing my best to enjoy all the journey I get to have with my loved ones wanting to give something back and trying to balance work and home life underground mining living the dream View all posts by alanwballard