Bridging The Gap helps men on Struggle Street

Jean Clayton, co-founder of Bridging The Gap with John Edwards who’s learned so much from the service.


‘DRINK ‘til you drop and that’s where you sleep’ is a philosophy John Edwards lived by for many years, struggling with alcoholism, drug addiction and homelessness.

Now sober, safe and sixty-plus, John, a resident of Coffs for the past ten years, told News Of The Area about what led to his time spent on the street and how he eventually found help.

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It’s a story that follows the common connection that alcohol and drugs have with trauma in the home and domestic violence.

“I’d left home once by the age of twelve but went back and by fourteen I was an alcohol and drug addict.”

When asked what it was like at home, John says “not good”.

“I was physically, mentally and sexually abused by people who came to our house, men and women.”

There was always alcohol involved, he said, “everywhere”.

As a fifteen-year-old, John got a job but continued abusing drugs and alcohol.

“I couldn’t keep jobs, I was too angry, and was heavy on the grog, but I got a job in Tasmania which is where I met my first wife.”

At this time he was on doctor-prescribed anti-depressants, but his anger continued to ruin his relationships, and three wives later he got in trouble with the law.

“I got told I had to sort out my anger issues so I decided to come up to Coffs.

“I found a doctor who gave me two contacts; the first didn’t pick up the phone and the second was Bridging The Gap who helped me from day one.”

John was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and given medication that “changed my life within half an hour”.

He also attended a Christian meeting where he feels he received a healing, and literally praises God for his enriched new life, at 63.

John can’t change the trauma of his childhood home life, but he can quietly advocate by living well having received help.

Bridging The Gap Men’s Resource Centre is in Rose Avenue, Coffs Harbour: (02) 5606 2167, email: [email protected].



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