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Connected back to the whenua

DAVE: It took me a long time to feel like I belonged somewhere. My own head was telling me, “I can’t drink anymore,” and then the other part of it was saying, “All right, so …” I was trying to find people who didn’t drink, but I didn’t feel like I fitted in any of those places. And that’s what it was like when I was drinking as well, I didn’t feel like I fitted anywhere.

So, I didn’t feel like I fitted here or fitted there, and I felt isolated from my family and I felt isolated from my friends, and it was just easier for me to drink.

My father passed away, cancer blah, blah, blah, you know. Regrets and resentment and all these different things like that, that naturally come along with that. So, the end result of me not wanting to deal with it ... I could shut that all off and not even think about it. I just pushed it all the way down. But then eventually it caught up with me, and I ended up going for a ride on the psychosis train for 10 days.

I met this person and she said to me, “Man, I don’t know how to help you,” and stuff, but she introduced me to this Maori tohunga.

INTERVIEWER: All of a sudden you saw the bigger picture.
DAVE: I saw the bigger picture, and for me I saw what was happening to people around me and it was from that point almost that I knew that it was okay, not that it was wrong, but I finally felt like I fitted in. Well, actually, I figured out I didn’t have to fit in. I didn’t have to fit in with nobody, I just had to be comfortable in my own skin and have my connection to the whenua.

INTERVIEWER: That’s good learning for you eh?
DAVE: Yeah ... I’m not the person to go and jump on the anti drugs and alcohol train, but I’m certainly the sort of person that’s going to say, “Hey, you don’t have to do it like this. There are other options if you want it.”