Craig Harlum was in the grip of a drug addiction for 12 years when he hit breaking point and was left fighting for his life.
“I weighed 35 kilos, I was very sick and I hadn’t eaten or slept for three weeks,” Mr Harlum said.
“I was off my face every day for 12 years, there was not one day I was clean.”
Mr Harlum pushed away his family and friends and was left isolated from his former support networks.
With nowhere to go for support, he found himself doorstep of the Salvation Army’s William Booth House rehabilitation centre in Sydney.
"Even though I didn’t like myself and nobody else liked who I was, they didn’t judge me and they accepted me the way I was.
“They fed me, gave me a bed, taught me how to live again and introduced me to God.
“I made a decision to accept him into my life and everything changed from there.”
Mr Harlum said the sense of isolation that plagued him for many years fell away.
“I thought I was so isolated and I was the only person that struggled with this stuff, I didn’t know there were others,” he said.
"When I finally got into with William Booth House with the Salvation Army, someone answered the phone and I got connected in with people who were already in recovery or had done the journey.
“It gave me hope and made me realise I wasn’t alone and it made me feel like I was a part of a family again.”
Mr Harlum is one of the many people the Salvation Army’s red shield door knock appeal helps each year.
He spoke at the appeal launch at Orange City Bowling Club on Friday.
Mr Harlum is now a minister for the Salvation Army in the Lockyer Valley in Queensland. “At the moment I’m able to talk to prisoners in prison and actually give them hope,” he said.
Mr Harlum said his spirituality gave him a sense of fulfillment.
“When I was in addiction I grabbed everything outside myself to fill myself up,” he said.
“Since I met God, I’m filled out from the inside and now I can give something back.”
Other speakers included award-winning illustrator Freya Blackwood, red shield appeal committee chairman Tony Rodd and NSW/ACT divisional commander Lt-Colonel Miriam Gluyas.
The red shield door knock appeal will be held from May 28 to May 29.