I was born in Rockingham Hospital and have lived around that area for most of my life. I grew up with my two older brothers and my mum.

School was pretty unenjoyable. I didn’t do too well in class and I was not very sporty. I started drinking and using drugs while I was still at school. Mum pressured me to stay until Year 12, which I did, but to be honest I kinda wish I’d dropped out earlier and learned a trade. The best thing I got from school was being introduced to wrestling! I got into wresting when I was 18 and it became my passion.

After I left school, I got involved with the All Action Wrestling gym and we trained during the week and put on shows every two or three weeks on the weekend. Sometimes we would even go on tour to regional towns. I loved being involved with wrestling and stayed with it until my mid-twenties. I hoped to really try and make a go at being professional, but unfortunately the addiction I had been struggling with got the better of me.

Even though I had been drinking and using drugs since my mid-teens, I feel like it didn’t really become a big problem for me until I started missing wrestling gigs. One too many no-shows got me sacked from the team. About the same time, my mum passed away. I was 25 and I found myself without a home. This was the start of many years on the streets.

After a couple of years sleeping rough, I spent two years in a rehab program in Esperance. It was really good for me, but after returning to the city and sleeping rough, I started using again. Turns out old habits die hard.

Over the next few years I tried a few other rehab places but still really struggled to get on top of my addiction. While on the streets I met a case worker from the Salvos. They suggested I see a doctor, and I was diagnosed with autism.

This led to some positive changes in my life – after my diagnosis my case worker helped me access accommodation. It’s the first time I’ve had my own place and it has really helped with my mental health. It’s been about seven or eight months now and I love it, even though it’s not always easy to come up with the rent. I started working at The Big Issue not long after I got my flat, and that’s helped for sure. Even though I haven’t used drugs since getting off the streets, I reckon addiction is a lifelong battle.

I look at The Big Issue as a stepping stone to a brighter future. I reckon there are two types of people in this world, spectators and participants – and being a spectator is boring. Some people are happy just doing what they’re doing, but I don’t want to stay still, I want to keep pushing myself, I want to keep improving.

I would like to study community service and be able to help people make positive changes in their lives, especially young people. If you can help people when they are younger, they will grow up with fewer regrets.

Jordan sells The Big Issue in Perth CBD

Interview by Chad Hedley
Photo by Ross Swanborough

Published in Ed#712