Heroes: Jason Medina with the two Queenstown cops who saved his life, Alexandra Cully and Matthew Hargreaves. PICTURE: SHOTOVER CANYON SWING

Jason Medina’s a long-time Queenstown resident who last week completed 100 Canyon Swings in one day, raising money for St John after the charity and two resort cops saved his life last year

Last Thursday morning I woke up early, stupid-o-clock early.

It was 3am, blowing a gale and bucketing down with rain.

It was the morning of my Shotover Canyon Swing adventure to raise money for St John.

I said a silent prayer and the answer came instantly: “Life is not always sunshine and roses, Jason’’.

Whoever put the message across was right.

I’d been through much worse than a little wind and rain.

“There is a job to do and I intend to do what we set out to do,” I said to myself.

If the pin was going to get pulled on the day, it wasn’t going to be because of me.

I drifted back to sleep and woke up to my 6am alarm.

The weather had calmed.

I whispered a small “thank you” out loud and got up to get ready for my pick-up.

I’ve always been a survivor but in March of 2019 I nearly was not.

A series of yet again poor decisions had me in a relapse cycle.

The self-loathing was deafening.

It saturated every part of my mind, body and spirit.

I made the decision to rid everyone of me, most of all to rid me of me.

As I sat waiting for the end to come, I saw a bright light, but it was a different end to the one I was anticipating.

The light I saw came from torches that belonged to constables Alexandra Cully and Matthew Hargreaves.

They saved me from me.

The next time I would see Alex and Matt together would be last Thursday at the Shotover Canyon Swing.

I had already caught up with Alex a couple of times but had never met Matt face-to-face.

There were hugs all around and they both did a tandem swing with me to help us achieve our goal of 100 jumps in one day.

They also returned later to be official witnesses for our Guinness Book of World Records attempt.

I gushed with pride and gratitude they were there to see just how far I had come in 18 months since our first encounter with one another.

The aftermath of the night Alex and Matt saved me was messy.

One day at a time: Jason Medina. PICTURE: SHOTOVER CANYON SWING

Were it not for a group of local ladies, a local man and my best friend I do not believe I could have made it to start the path of recovery of my own accord.

Hillary Clinton once quoted the African proverb, “it takes a village to raise a child”.

It did take a village to help me — I was in a child-like, fragile state.

My gratitude for the wider community of the Wakatipu was my driving force in the St John’s fundraiser.

It continues to drive me into speaking out about my journey out of the darkness into the light.

Getting from there to here was not without its perils.

It was not without its stumbles.

At times I faltered.

The point is, I kept getting back up.

No longer do I live my life regretting the past at the same time as being fearful of my future.

Today, my primary purpose, first and foremost, is my recovery.

I have learned to be my own best friend.

I have learned to love and accept myself the way my grandmother loved and accepted me.

For me, the opposite of addiction is connection.

For years I considered myself to be an island of some great complexity that no one could possibly understand.

Never did I feel I was worthy of being accepted, loved or even liked.

I felt that people only tolerated me for what I could do for or offer them.

Those were only feelings, though.

Feelings are not facts.

We live in a wonderful village here in this region.

No one has be alone in whatever battle they may be fighting.

Find your tribe and engage with them.

It’s a sign of strength to ask for help.

It’s OK to admit your limitations — we all have them.

Go out and be kind to others, most of all, though, you have to be kind to yourself,
whatever that may look like for you.

May peace be with all of you … one day at a time.


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●  General mental health inquiries:0800 443 366
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