Role model speaks out on booze is­sues

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - NEWS - PAUL MIL­TON BUT­LER

BOOZE is the great­est killer of all men’s dig­nity, ac­cord­ing to Moss­man so­cial worker Richard Burchill.

For the past two years Mr Burchill has been work­ing for Al­co­hol, Tobacco and other Drugs preven­tion (ATODS) as a com­mu­nity sup­port worker and he sees first-hand the de­struc­tive force of peo­ple abus­ing al­co­hol.

“It’s not just the black­fel­las that drink too much, it’s the white­fel­las too,” Mr Burchill said.

“But we all have to for­get about the colour of peo­ple’s skin and re­store their dig­nity so they no longer harm them­selves or their fam­i­lies.

“That loss of dig­nity is one of the core val­ues as to why peo­ple turn to the bot­tle to find com­fort in their lives.”

From his small of­fice at the Moss­man hos­pi­tal, Mr Burchill deals with many sad cases each day and has to try and help peo­ple who are in the very pit of de­spair and turn their sit­u­a­tion around so that they once again can take charge of their own lives.

Some­times he wins, but most of the time it’s a hard slog.

He has been recog­nised re­cently for his ef­forts with an en­cour­age­ment award in the in­au­gu­ral Na­tional In­dige­nous Drug and Al­co­hol awards.

Mr Burchill was one of just seven peo­ple from across the whole coun­try to be recog­nised af­ter be­ing nom­i­nated by a work col­league.

Un­hap­pi­ness is usu­ally the main rea­son peo­ple turn to the bot­tle.

Mr Burchill said that loss of dig­nity, es­pe­cially to Abo­rig­i­nal peo­ple, has come about through coloni­sa­tion.

“You have to re­mem­ber our peo­ple were here for thou­sands of years liv­ing a life that they carved out for them­selves, and were de­signed for, and one that worked, and then along came the white­fel­las, and that’s fine, but they have ex­pected us to live their way of life in just 240 years of set­tle­ment - it’s a big ask,” Mr Burchill said.

He said the only real way for­ward, if ev­ery­one is se­ri­ous, is that we must all work to­gether as a tight-knit rugby league team.

“The five-eighth can­not be run­ning to the cen­tre and sees that he’s black and say, ’I hate blacks’, and so there­fore I am not go­ing to pass him the ball - and it’s the same with the black­fella, he can’t say that he’s not go­ing to pass the ball be­cause ’he hates whites’,” Mr Burchill said.

“We all have to look through our hearts to each other and not our eyes if we all want to get along and en­joy Mother Earth.”

Mr Burchill has a num­ber of pro­grams in place to help peo­ple beat the booze and one of them is the holis­tic ap­proach that seems to be work­ing very well.

“I take peo­ple on cul­tural heal­ing camps and get them to open up and talk about their prob­lems and then I show them that the heal­ing process is two-way street,” he said.

“We can help them get back to proper liv­ing but they too must take re­spon­si­bil­ity and re­spect them­selves and their fam­i­lies if they are to suc­ceed.”

If you or some­one you know is ex­pe­ri­enc­ing prob­lems with al­co­hol, call ATODS on 40841232.

Lead­ing the way: Richard Burchill

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.