Suzanne Burns – The Accidental Social Worker

Life for Suzanne Burns went off the rails when she left home as a young woman. From a very sheltered upbringing, she soon found herself using drugs and alcohol and shortly afterwards becoming a single mother.

Suzanne has spent the last 20 years serving others. Part of that service includes being the founder and executive director of Foundation House, a maternity home for pregnant and homeless women, which offers educational and job training programs.

Her story is inspiring and she is this week’s guest on Bleeding Daylight. Find Bleeding Daylight wherever you listen to podcasts or at listen by pressing play on the audio player below.

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Jacob Hill – Winning the Battle of Addiction

How does a young boy with a promising future become a thief and a junkie and how does he turn his life around? That’s the story I unfold in the latest episode of my podcast, Bleeding Daylight.

Jacob Hill was a straight-A student with a dream of winning Olympic gold, but his life took a number of unexpected turns, including crime, drug addiction and coming very close to death. Some would say it’s a miracle that Jacob is alive today.

How did such a talented young man fall so far and how did he turn his life turn around? Today he’s a husband, father, author and pastor.

Jacob is my guest for this episode of Bleeding Daylight and you can hear his story by using the audio player below.

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Breaking Free from Addiction


As well as popularising the phrase, “tune in, turn on, drop out”, Dr Timothy Leary was known around the world as being at the forefront of experimentation with drugs, especially LSD.

Timothy Francis Leary (October 22, 1920 – May 31, 1996) was an American psychologist and writer, known for his advocacy of psychedelic drugs. During a time when drugs such as LSD and psilocybin were legal, Leary conducted experiments at Harvard University under the Harvard Psilocybin Project, resulting in the Concord Prison Experiment and the Marsh Chapel Experiment. Both studies produced useful data, but Leary and his associate Richard Alpert were fired from the university nonetheless because of the public controversy surrounding their research. Leary believed LSD showed therapeutic potential for use in psychiatry. – wiki

Back in those early days at Harvard there was a young professor of psychology named Charles Slack who also began experimenting with LSD and other drugs. Within a very short time he went from being a bright young academic to being a drug addicted mental hospital patient.

Dr Charles Slack has now been completely free of drugs of any kind for over 37 years but he says he still has to deal with his addiction every day.

Dr Charles Slack is well-known in Australian recovery circles. He gained a PhD in Experimental Psychology from Princeton University and became an Assistant Professor of Clinical Psychology at the Harvard Psychological Clinic from 1955 to 1960.

He was amongst the first to experiment with LSD and as a result became addicted. In 1976, clean and sober in 12-Step programs, he migrated to Australia to start a new life.

Charles is now the chairman of B-Attitudes, a not-for-profit group that aims to facilitate the restoration of the physical, mental, emotional, social and spiritual lives of individuals and families who have been affected by substance misuse. He has turned his own experience into a way of helping others break free from addiction.

B-Attitudes is a charitable, not-for-profit organisation, founded 10 years ago by three people who have a heart for empowering individuals who want to recover from alcohol and drug addiction and work towards a drug-free lifestyle.

The founding directors are qualified Psychotherapists in Transactional Analysis, one a Certified Transactional Analyst in Psychotherapy. Two have a background in Registered Nursing and Midwifery. The Committee of Management contributes a wide field of expertise and the Chair is Dr. Charles Slack, Ph.D. who is himself a recovered addict with over 37 years ‘clean’ and sober.

Each of the three founding directors have 15 years experience in the field of alcohol and drug addiction and community-based recovery and related family care.

I recently had a fascinating chat with Charles about B-Attitudes and about his own journey to beating addiction. He even said that a current, popular television series displays the right way to fight drug addiction. Can you guess which show it might be?

You can hear our discussion by clicking the play button on the audio player below.

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Would you like to live to 150?

Researchers are saying that the first drugs that can slow the ageing process are likely to be available within five to ten years. They believe this could result in people eventually living to 150 or more.

Peter Smith, dean of medicine at the University of NSW, said a girl born today in Australia could reasonably expect to live to 100 already, due to advances in medicine, lifestyle and public health. In addition, new drugs to help the body repair itself were in the early stages of development, along with new stem cell therapies.

”I think there is real hope we can extend human life by some decades further,” Professor Smith said. – Sydney Morning Herald

So, what do you think? If you could stay reasonably healthy, would you want to live for 150 years?

I’m hoping I’ve still got a good many years ahead of me but I’m not sure about hanging around for 150 years. What about you?

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Putting Alcohol on Hold

The first month of 2011 is over and we’re into the first day of February. It’s also the start of FebFast for thousands of people across Australia.

FebFast is a fundraising campaign that invites people to participate in an alcohol free February, and at the same time raise funds to support organisations working in research, prevention and service delivery concerning the use of alcohol and other drugs by young people.

Our annual health and charity event encourages people to forgo alcohol in February while raising vital money to support young people with alcohol and other drug related issues.

The event creates an opportunity for people to ‘press the pause button’ on their busy lifestyles and create a clear space to plan for a more balanced year ahead.

Over the past three years we have seen more than 10,700 people take up the FebFast challenge to live February alcohol-free. Collectively these people have raised more than $1,700,000.

FebFast funds are distributed to organisations that work to reduce alcohol and other drug related harms amongst young people through research, prevention and service delivery programs.

So what do you think? Could you give up drinking for a month?

I find that whole months can go past without me having a drink anyway. I’m not what you’d call a big drinker. 🙂 I enjoy a glass of red wine now and then and an occasional beer (especially Beez Neez) but I’ve never been drunk.

I wonder how many people would find that they’re more hooked on drinking than they thought if they had to give it up for a month.

What are your thoughts on drinking? Do you only drink to get drunk? Do you prefer not to drink at all? I’d be very interested in your thoughts.

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