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Starting over at 51

Jafar the Barmecide
Community Member

Ok, this is take 2 of my first post, I was wisely advised to edit it as I probably gave too much detail and risked doxxing myself and went into triggering territory so here is the revised post-

Sometime ago (redacted to summarise) I had legal issues, and as a result I lost my job, my car, my license, the respect of my family, friends and colleagues, my dignity, my house and eventually, my freedom. I was in a dark place, that is allI can probably say

The journey from there to where I am now is why I am here. I have been through a hell of a lot more than 2500 characters can describe and there is still a long way to go. I am now homeless and unemployed with a conviction that is proving to be a barrier to progress. I have to start over, I have to find a reason to live, some spark that gets me up in the morning. If I can get myself through this, I will be well placed to help others who find themselves starting over, whether they have just been released from prison or newly sober and commited to remaining that way or need help navigating the courts and justice department, I now have experience to share in all these areas and if that can make a difference in even one person's life, then I have found my spark, my reason to live.

My goal is to get to a place where I am comfortable enough to turn around and reach out to people on the same path, learning how to use the systems and services put in place to help people in the most effective way possible by using those services. Beyond Blue is one of those services. I'm here to learn and share and try to stay focussed in the face of the daunting task of starting over at 51.

42 Replies 42

Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni

Hi Jafar the Barmecide,

Wellcome to our forums and thank you for your contribution.

I think that you are amazing, standing here in front of us wanting to start over and just needing some one to give you that chance to help you to move forward with your life.

I understand that having a conviction can be hard sometimes because this conviction can try to stand in your way and it’s also something that society seems to hold against people who have convictions……….. but for you to move forward you need find a loop hole a loop hole that will enable you to find employment and a home and believe me it’s there!

I believe that people who have done their time should be accepted by society to move forward from that they shouldn’t have to pay for the conviction for the remainder of their life.

It was a lesson not a life sentence.

You will get through this and you will help others…….

Someone will give you that chance just believe in yourself and your future of helping others and it will come to fruition.

Im here to chat to you

Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor

Hello again, Jafa the Barmecide. 😺

Having gone through so much, losing so much along the way, still homeless & unemployed, with your future so uncertain, it's pleasing to hear you want to use your life's experiences to help guide & support others. I applaud your every effort here.

I've noted how many here have voiced a wish to find a reason to live. Your reason seems to speak of a belief that you can take the rough course of your life & imagine how this can be turned to a positive benefit for others in the community. This looks to be quite a turn around. I'd like to understand how you reached this point.

Again, welcome, Jafa the Barmecide.


Thankyou very much both Petal22 and mmMekitty for kind words and support.

When I say homeless, that is technically true however I am staying for a little while with friends, I am SO lucky to have had people who stood by me and supported me throughout and it was a real surprise to find out who knew there must be more to the story, and that the conviction didn't make sense without context. It is hard to talk about it without breaching any guidelines for my own safety and very hard to talk about the depths that the mind goes to without touching on trigger points- but I think on this forum many of us have been to those depths and they don’t need over explaining.

Once I had finally decided to get clean, I reached out to an organisation who specialised in alcohol and other drug (AOD) dependencies, like AA but not religious, and they referred me to a rehab clinic. I still attend both these institutions and they have been critical to my survival, this isn’t hyperbole, the support they have continued to provide me cannot be overstated.

After my release I realised the chances of a job were minimal, I had worked in one industry and had very little training outside that industry. I can’t work in that industry anymore without a police clearance (this is 12 years away, it takes ten years of no convictions after a parole period before I can apply to have the conviction spent, I’ll be 63).

An old friend of mine from my shady past, who had managed to turn her life around, reached out to me and I went to have coffee with her. She had been a drug dependent sex worker when I knew her but now, she’s working as a peer practitioner for women suffering AOD and DV issues. I was really inspired by her and realised that this was the path for me, one of the only career paths where a conviction is not a barrier, and it lit a spark in my chest. I can help other men like myself! She told me the peer industry was calling out for blokes like me.

In my time attending men’s groups, I have found that ex-cons don’t respect educated professional counsellors, they are more likely to trust men like me, someone who looks and talks like them and has a similar background. I think I can do a lot of good for these guys, help them stay out of prison, kick substance abuse and respect their wives and families. If I can make a difference for even one bloke in trouble it's gonna be worth it.

Hi Jafar the Barmecide,

Im glad to hear you are living with friends.

Congratulations on getting clean I understand that it takes great courage and commitment.

I think it’s absolutely fantastic that the path your friend took inspired you and “ it lit a spark in your chest” that my friend is your soul speaking to you………… follow it….. believe in yourself and keep building and believing that your dream of helping others like yourself will become your reality…………….. keep working towards it….. it really can be a reality for you.

I understand what you are saying in regards to ex cons not respecting councillors but they would trust someone more like yourself who has a lived experience of what you want to teach…. Someone like themselves but someone who can walk the talk.

I believe you can help many but you just need to find the path way forward to do this and I believe you can.

I wanted to share a couple of things with you.

Please google them and have a watch of the 4 u tube videos starting from 1 to 4.

The U tube video I’d like you to listen to is

Gangs, Jail and redemption

The second thing I’d like you to google is.. Arcofyre.

The guys that run this company are doing what you have mentioned that you would like to do.

They are mentors and have experience of being in custody.

They want to give back and help people feel that they can grow and see their self worth.

Arcofyre was established because there is a lack of support available for people who have been in prison.

No matter how bad your situation is, you can change it, through positive mindset, resilience and belief you can change your destiny. Life is what you make it , every passing minute is a chance to turn it all around.

Maybe you could even have a chat to the guys at Arcofyre to see how you could become a mentor just like them.

Please let me know your thoughts.

Hi Jafar,

wow! I have so much respect for you - kicking an addiction, on your way to bootstrapping yourself out of a challenging situation! Respect.

Post traumatic growth is yours for the taking. You will be a “bigger” person than you ever were before all your challenges/ learning opportunities started. With the depths you have gone you will be able to appreciate how sweet life can be all the more.

It is so great to hear that you want to help others, I think you could be a real asset to the community and a beacon.

I’m glad you have empathetic friends, you are fortunate in this.

I’m sending you love and energy to get through your next steps - you’re on a great path, no doubt with further challenges and tests too. Take care of yourself, A 💞

Hello Dear Jafar...

You have even through so much turmoil and trauma in your life...and you’ve come out of it with a very good and kind heart....

Your posts are very inspirational and let’s others know that with some self care, and a want for a better life...things can turn around...

You have not let your past define the person you are today..I think that you are a good person and wanting to help others here, through their hard struggles..show that you have a beautiful soul....

Thank you so much for joining this amazing community and for your want...in helping to support others here...

My kindest thoughts with my care and respect...🦋🕊🌱🧸..


Jafar the Barmecide
Community Member

G’day everyone and thankyou for your encouragement, kind words and welcomes.

Towards reaching my goals I have enrolled in Community Services Cert III for the time being, I am looking to also enrol in Mental Health Cert IV but I would prefer to do that at TAFE. The first course is online and while that’s convenient I would prefer to interact with other students on a campus. I haven’t ever had any education beyond Year 10 and the theoretical training the Army gave me, but I am self-taught and well read. I would really like to experience a college by being there rather than watching lectures on YouTube and Academia websites.

Speaking of YouTube, I have made a note of the videos Petal22 suggested and added them to my watchlist, when I have a quiet moment alone, I will give ‘em a squizz.

This week I am going to stay at my sister’s place. She has just moved house and is keeping all my possessions until I find a place of my own. She lives with her 2 kids and Dad. Dad has been suffering from depression for more than a decade and is a shadow of his former self. He’s a Vietnam Vet and former SASR Sergeant, though you wouldn’t know it if you met him. There’s a whole other thread in itself so I won’t get carried away.

It just made me sad, when I went to visit them the last time, that my sister is run off her feet between working and the kids, she just hasn’t had a chance to get the house sorted since they moved in. That’s where I come in, the friends I am staying with are being visited by their daughter from interstate, so she needs the room during her stay. In that time, I will do my best to organise my sister’s place to a standard where it can pass their first inspection, which must be coming up soon. I plan to keep busy and sleep on the couch, hopefully leave the place squeaky clean.
Thanks again for the support and a place to think out loud, family relationship issues are probably imminent…

Mark Z.
Community Champion
Community Champion

Hi Jafar,

I'm sorry for what you've experienced, I can't imagine how hard it is for you. But I have a lot of respect for your ideas. A thought flashed through my mind, maybe you'll be interested to be a Mental Health Peer Worker?

You can consider learning this certificate, this is a journey of reviewing and understanding yourself better, and equip yourself to help others with your lived experience. Have a look here: https://www.swinburne.edu.au/study/course/Certificate-IV-in-Mental-Health-Peer-Work-CHC43515/local

Hope it'll help a bit.


Gday MarkZ,

Cheers, -that is the very same course I have been looking at, not my state however but essentially that is what i intend to enrol in. I will continue the community service course until I can do that. My priority now though is trying to find accomadation, hopefully somewhere my boys can come and stay