I have so much to say I could fill a book or two, but I’m trying to be as brief as possible. In case you don’t know much about me, I will say my name is Dominic, I am 28 years old and begun shooting up heroin when I was 18. My drug problem started from a much younger age, but this is when my problem had begun to drastically alter my life and unfortunately not for the best. I won’t say it ruined my life because I love my life now, but I did almost lose it all, even my life a couple times. I am nearly 2 ½ years clean from opiates all together, but it wasn’t because of my own strength and ability. I had to give up everything I had in the States and come to Australia and achieve sobriety. This is why it’s so important and vital that I remain here.
Six months before my making the decision to first come to Australia, on the 15th of August 2014 my father was found dead from a drug overdose. This was pretty heavy and put me in a massive downward spin. I hadn’t spoken to my father for over five years and then all of a sudden, he was dead. Just a month after my father’s death, my cousin and his beautiful pregnant wife were travelling out of state on vacation. They were in an accident and both my cousin and their unborn baby died, and by some miracle his wife hadn’t. It was a very hard time for my family on both sides and I just couldn’t handle it. And although it had been a long time coming and me wife at the time and I had already been separated for a few months, that September our divorce was finalized and I had officially lost my best friend and love of my life. I became very weak, depressed and overdosed again.. In another attempt to beat my addiction I checked myself in at another rehab clinic. This rehab was a 15-day in-patient treatment program and I really tried to make it work. I underwent a heavy detox for the first few days and then it would be basic rehab from there. It wasn’t even 24 hours after leaving rehab, that I was back at the trap house getting some more dope.
Amongst everything that was already going on, and my divorce becoming finalized, with the little cash I had left, I blew a bit of it on drugs and decided to use the rest at an attempt to ultimately save my life. I had told my mother I needed to get out of the States, otherwise I was going to end up dead. My mother agreed and asked, “where do you want to go?”. I told her south Africa and my mother told me no, it was way too dangerous. Then Australia came up, and my decision was made. That night I booked a flight from Detroit Metro to Sydney, Australia; I would be leaving in just six days after I had made the decision. My mother had mentioned my little brother wanting to join me, so we booked him a flight as well. Knowing I couldn’t get high for at least a day when flying to Australia, I got $200 worth of dope to do before I got to the airport and 6 Xanax bars along with 12 Ambien just for the plane ride. Most of the dope was done the night before our flight, but I strategically left a bit for the morning so that I wouldn’t get sick in the airport. My brother and I flew out February 20th, 2015 with flights to return us to the States in a month. A flight that would change my life in ways I would have never expected. By the time we landed in Sydney, all the Xanax I had purchased and half of the Ambien were gone. Arriving in Sydney I was feeling okay but I knew the deathly withdrawals were coming and they did, boy oh boy did they! It took me about five days to detox and function, with minor symptoms here and there for the next week or so, this time was no different from the rest except I was in Australia.
After Sydney, my brother and I headed to Byron bay, we met the most unreal and beautiful people I have ever met. So, the first month goes by and it’s hectic and stupidly expensive. My brother had no money, so I was paying for him as well through our travels. We blew through over $10,000, it was absolutely unnecessary and not smart at all but I was in a dream. It was time for my brother and I to head back to Sydney to catch our flight back home. It was over halfway to Sydney that crazy things started happening with me body, it was like I was beginning to withdraw again. I was getting cold/hot sweats, vomiting, diarrhoea, stomach and back pains, the withdraws started to happen again! All of this begun to happen once I had remembered I had a bag of dope and a syringe in my safe waiting for me when I got back to the States. Once we were about an hour out of Sydney airport I told my brother he was getting on the plane and I wasn’t going back with him. I knew I wasn’t ready, I told him about the stash in my safe, I told him to get rid of it so that when I did return home, it wouldn't be there. He did.
I stayed an extra three months, making it a total of 4 months here in Australia. I even had to get a bridging visa so as not to risk my chances of coming back as I knew I had to come back to Australia. After a little bit of travel around Australia it was time for me to go back. I wasn’t ready, but I knew I had a good shot at staying clean. Seven months goes by and I began to realise that the States weren’t my home anymore and I had to get out of there. The only people I knew that lived in Australia lived in Melbourne, they were my two angels, Chelcie and Deanne. I had promised Chelcie I would be back for her birthday in 2016, and I was. These girls mean the world to me, they introduced me to their families, their friendship groups and welcomed me with open arms. I love them so much for everything they have done for me! I was supposed to have stayed with Chelcie and her parents, Mel and Colin for just two weeks, but... I’m still here with them today, over 18 months later! I couldn’t have asked for a better Australian family, they truly are a blessing!
The first day back in Australia at the start of 2016, I get picked up from the airport by Chelcie, Dee and Jack (Chelcie’s boyfriend). We have an amazing catch up and begin talking about all the things we are going to do. It was so unreal and such a euphoric feeling being back and to know I had made it back. The next day was Chelcie’s birthday and I was so excited I could make it back in time. That morning I get woken up by Chelcie whom seems very concerned and says “Dominic you need to call home, something's wrong and your family has been trying to get hold of you. Look at your phone!”. I have missed calls from heaps of family members. I call my sister and she begins to sob “our brother’s dead. He committed suicide and hung himself in his basement”. I’m sure you all have a good idea on how one would respond to news like that. This was really heavy; my older brother has committed suicide and I had only been on Australia for less than 48 hours. I had to make the decision weather I would fly back, make my brothers funeral and be there for my family or stay in Australia. After long talks with my mother and family I decided to stay in Australia. It was too much of a risk for me to go back to the States in such a depressing and hard time. I was still weak from my cravings and it scared me to return. My brother was buried on February 3rd, 2016. It was surreal and I was shocked, and to be honest, it still is and I still am.
I decided to carry on, I started looking for jobs and Melanie had a connection in real estate and put me in touch with him. First meeting was good, he said from the start he thought I could be great and really wanted me to be a part of his team. I told him I had to think about it and would get back to him. A day later the director of the company got back in touch with me and asked that I come back in for another meeting. He was very persistent and said he really wanted me to be a part of the team. I told the director I was very interested but I am only looking for a job that is offering sponsorship. He said if you work out and do well I have no problem sponsoring you, I have done it before and it was no problem, basically the government wants to know that if you become disabled that I am able to
support you if you can’t earn, it’s easy. I had to think on it, and the next day I accepted and was set to start the following Monday Feb 8th, 2016 as an assistant because I wasn’t a licensed sales representative, so I couldn’t list or sell yet. I started the course immediately which I had paid for. The first day of courses was February 15th and completed the courses on the 19th. My director had an in at the institution to get me to the course 2 weeks early, as they were all full and I would be able to get my assessment scoring fast tracked.
Finished the courses and submitted my assessments. Received my competency requirements on March 1st and sales representative certificate only a week later on the 7th! No one else got theirs in a week, the quickest out of the others I know of was a month. Don’t know how he did it but he did, it was quick as and I started selling straight away. My second day licensed, my director asked me to come with him to the city and attend a meeting on Collins Street with our largest developer. He was concerned that
they were thinking of looking for a new agency to sell their apartments and wanted me there as the new off the plan specialist to boost their confidence in us to sell their product. He was right they gave us a few weeks to make sales before they found a different agency. Within the first month I sold two off the plan properties and a $1.1375 beach side town house. Whilst I was working my ass off during this month, I got word that
one of my mates had died from a drug over dose. I continued to work my ass off and produce for the company. At the end of May 2016, the director decided to put together an “elite” team of young, hungry sales agents and he called it the wolf pack. He was happy with my performance and asked me to be a part of the pack. I was so excited for this, not only to be a part of an 'elite' team but also if he is asking me to be a part of a specialized team that I must be doing well enough for him to want to keep me around. Unfortunately it ended up being bullshit, we had 2 training sessions then nothing eventuated.
On July 28th, 2016, I found out one of the most influential and greatest men I have ever known passed away. My grandfather. Another big loss for my family and I, we have had so much pain and death over the past 24 months it's unreal.
I continued to excel in my work. October would see me stand alone and start marketing myself and doing my own things within my work, as well as the majority of my focus and efforts to continue to sell my directors off the plan stock. That following November I got my first listing. It was a 5-unit block in Mordialloc that was listed for over $2 million! It went to auction in December and sold for $1.825 million, the highest sale for the office that year and one of the highest sales over all in Mordialloc for residential property. In order to make more sales and prove my worth to the company I started to work seven days a week, doing open homes for the off the plan properties on Saturdays and Sundays.
Once I had got my first listing and had begun selling as a standalone agent, I started to push the process for my sponsorship. When he was finally ready to commit I had sought out advice from a migration agent on their cost and fees. When I told him about it, he said not to worry they had done it before and it wasn’t a problem, we don't need to get them involved. He had told me the office manager and accountant would take care of all the paperwork and lodgements. I also said I would pay for the migration agent and he had said there was really no need, they knew what they had to do and could do it. Looking back, I’m not sure why I put so much faith in them, but I figured they had done it before so it would be fine. So, the long process began and the application and nomination were lodged and paid for. Everything was finally happening and my dreams to starting to come true.
I returned to the States for Christmas and New Years in 2016 for three weeks. No one knew and I surprised my mother! She was so happy to see me and I her! We cried, laughed and then cried some more. This was the first time back since my brother and grandfathers passing. It was a good to visit home, but that’s all it was and could be, just a visit. I was able to see some really good friends and family. Made it to South Carolina to visit one of my oldest and best friends with my two other oldest mates. Went to a Lion’s game
with my cousins Rob, Chent and Scary Larry. Also attended some beautiful and sad family gatherings like Christmas family dinner, it was absolutely great to see everyone! Got back to Australia on February 19th, 2017 and straight back into it, working extreme hours 7 days a week!
One week after being back I got news that one of my uncles had passed away. Later that same day, I got word another one of my uncles had died that evening! Just a massive head f#$@! It was terrible news but with all the death I have experienced, especially of those close to me, I have learned how to deal with it, manage the pain and work through it, I have to, it’s all you can do.
February 21st, 2017, 2 years clean from opiates. I never thought I would have been able stop using, let alone achieve sobriety for this long. The 25th of February, I had decided to make a change and start to look at moving out and get my own place. Found people who wanted to share a house and found a couple good houses too! Then some concerning but fixable news was sent to the person handling my sponsorship on March 10th, 2017. For some reason, this wasn’t important enough to her to send this information to me straight away and I didn't get it until the 20th of March. With only 30 days to submit a response to their request for more information from the date of receiving. Well pressed for time I put together all the necessary information and evidence and submitted it right on time. The next correspondence that came was on the 19th of May which was the denial of my nomination. This didn't mean I wasn't approved it meant that the reason the company wanted to sponsor me wasn't sufficient. I got this notice straight away with 21 days to rectify or appeal. First thing, I went to a migration agent and she asked for all the information submitted and all the correspondence. We had a sit-down meeting and went over it all. She was in shock, she couldn't believe what was being submitted on the company’s behalf to nominate me. The denial was for something very easily avoidable but was fixable, at a cost... The minimum wage requirement for sponsorship is $53,900 plus super as a guaranteed base wage. Mine was set at $32,600 plus super. My director said he would guarantee the amount needed which was great, back in business, or so I thought. Upon further review of the denial, it stated there was a request for more information that was sent in January that never got a response, it was just ignored. Then the migration agent went over the paperwork submitted and laughed, asking why something of this standard was submitted. The company had submitted screen shots of job seek ads and minimal evidence to support the request for sponsorship. She was shocked that they were using evidence like this for such important documents and that if it was submitted correctly I would have been approved under the old 457 visa I applied for. This was however all fixable, I just had to pay for it all to be fixed and done correctly. I then took this all to my director and we go to chatting about what happened. We discussed cost and it was $2,400 for the agent fees, about $1,400 for the appeal and $1000 for a new visa application. Now with most of my sales being off the plan, I wasn't getting paid on almost all the work I had been doing until 2018, so I didn't really have the money for it. Considering this wasn't my fault, I proceeded to ask him if he was willing to pay for it, he told me that I was “so ungrateful to even ask”, “how dare you”, he said “look I can live here legally, you're the one that can’t, I'm not paying for fucking nothing mate!”. I then asked if he would split the payment with me and he said, “mate I'm not paying for fucking nothing”. Well I didn't have the money, he later offered to pay for it upfront but I would have to pay it back out of my commissions. At that point with the way he spoke to me and the way he wasn't willing to invest in me, I couldn't and wouldn't invest 2 more years into him and his company. I resigned a week later. Unfortunately, in my contract the company is only obligated to pay me my commission on properties sold, and that settle, within three months after date of resignation. Since most of my sales were off the plan and settling in 2018, I won't get any of that money hence why I currently have very little.
My most current plan is to re-enter Australia on a student visa. I have enrolled in a project management course so that I can come back to study. I then plan to get a job in the field and start over again with my mission to obtain permanent residency in Australia. I have run out of time to save the necessary funds to leave the country, apply for a new visa, pay for my study enrolment fees, living expenses, first year of study and flights to leave and then return. This is my last and desperate plea to begin my future in Australia. This is why I am asking for your help to make this country my forever home. Anything will help and be greatly appreciated. Thank you all from the bottom of my heart. I love you all!
Also want my mom to know if she reads this, you are my everything. I love and miss you to the moon and back and not a day goes by I don't think of you! You are the strongest, most kind hearted woman I know and I don't tell you enough!
- Trevor Nichols
- Kados Weekes
- Phill Cheplik
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