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Glenn’s passion to save lives

Glenn Collis of Bourke has a powerful story to tell of recovering from addiction. PHOTOs facebook

Glenn Collis is a Barkindji man, a former Bourke resident, an ex-champion boxer and a recovered alcoholic who has dedicated the past ten years to helping other men struggling with addiction.

Through cultural connection and dance, Glenn has become a powerful force for men seeking change.

He willingly shares his story of success and failure, championship wins and gaol, and the lifelong and generational impact of domestic violence.

“Alcoholism doesn’t discriminate,” Glenn said. “I look at the disease of addiction and alcoholism and the damage it does, and the only way I can keep my culture is to help others who are struggling, through dancing, art and music,” Glenn said.

“I am also the former coach of the NSW boxing team, so I tuck into good health and well-being and fitness and do training drills with the kids as well,” he said.

Glenn is a senior drug and alcohol counsellor with the Glen Centre on the Central Coast and will be visiting Bourke and other river communities at the end of the month. His story is harrowing but all too familiar.

“Dad was an alcoholic. Mum didn’t touch the drink until she met dad when she was in her 20s and they had their struggles with drinking, and then through my childhood there was a lot of domestic violence,” he said.

“My dad was very shut down through his own experiences as an orphan and the only time he could open up was when he was drinking. I would come home from school and hear the country music playing and I knew it would be on.

“It would start out with aunties and uncles coming over and having fun and it would end up with violence and us kids running away and finding someone to stay with.

“I excelled in sport and that’s how I overcame my low self-esteem. I became a professional boxer at the age of 15 and as a sportsman I was given a free ride. I left school but could barely read or write.

“In boxing you’re always by yourself – you train by yourself, you run by yourself. When I turned professional, I had won three titles in my fifth fight, but I never had anyone looking after me.

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