Craig Payne

craig payne


Craig's current role includes Counselling and Group Facilitation within Turning Point's 28-day detox and stabilisation program at Wellington house and Ward 1East. As well as providing therapeutic, educational, creative and relapse prevention groups, Craig also conducts activities such as bush walking, swimming and other mild outdoor pursuits. Craig aims to assist clients to understand their addiction, adopt strategies to achieve their abstinence or harm minimisation goals, and establish a positive routine moving forwards working off four main elements of discovery, hope, empowerment and connection.

Craig holds a Diploma of Alcohol and Other Drugs and a Diploma of Mental Health. He has also completed Intentional Peer Support (IPS) Training and Peer Worker Training. Craig has a lived experience of addiction.

What made you want to become a peer support worker?

The rehab I attended was owned and operated by people with lived experience of addiction. I found connection and hope through shared experience with the workers that hadn’t existed for me before. More importantly, I found a purpose and decided to use my experience to help others in the same way I had been helped. I left rehab and five weeks later began studying my diplomas.

What are the misconceptions of addiction?

Addiction is misunderstood. It is not a lack of will power. People can be in control of every aspect of their lives except their ability to control their substance use. It’s not weakness. It is addiction. I think one of the biggest is that you don’t have to use every day to be addicted, it can still find a way to wreak havoc with your life. You don’t have to lose it all to be addicted. It can affect anyone regardless of your upbringing.

Change takes time and just because someone has been through treatment, they aren’t necessarily “fixed’. It might take repeated attempts but valuable lessons are learnt along the way. It takes patience, but sadly, not everyone can be saved. Just because someone isn’t using doesn’t mean they are “fixed’.

What are the biggest challenges for someone with an addiction?

Hands down accessing help/treatment when they need it. There are not enough beds and too much time passes between someone wanting help and being able to access it and they are lost to addiction again in the process. We have to seize on the opportunity of someone wanting help when they identify it.

Another challenge is changing the perception that taking away the substances takes away the addiction. Sorting out the life issues that keep driving someone towards addiction is part of the process of turning things around. Recovery takes changes to behaviours and attitudes that have been formed over a lifetime and mistakes will be made along the way. Recovery can’t be done alone. It takes changes to lifestyle, environment and routines. This isn’t an easy adjustment and requires a lot of support along the way. Nothing changes if nothing changes. Understanding what drives your addiction can be a painful and difficult process that takes support from doctors, counsellors, friends, family, and peer groups.

What has been your experience of the documentary?

I feel privileged to have been part of the documentary and think the care taken of the participants was amazing. I hope that this goes a long way to addressing not just how addiction is viewed but how it is treated moving forward.

What do you hope people will see when they watch the documentary?

I hope people see the value of Peer Support and organisations begin employing more Peer Workers. I hope people will see that addiction can affect anyone but that with time anyone can achieve their goals. I want people to see HOPE. Mostly I want change in the treatment of addiction and for people to understand that there is no short-term fix. It takes long-term commitment and an holistic model of care.