Our History

Why 21Renew was created

The vast majority of private drug and alcohol rehab facilities in Australia and South East Asia operate on the Therapeutic Community Model and deliver programs based on outdated concepts and learning processes.

21Renew was created to offer people suffering from alcohol, drug and gambling issues a very different approach to what is currently available.

The Founder

The founder of 21renew is Graeme Alford.

Graeme had a privileged upbringing and attended a private school in Melbourne where he finished Year 12 and received a scholarship to attend Melbourne University where he studied law. Graeme best sums up his time at Melbourne University in the following way.

“My University days were characterised by my single-handed attempts to turn the owners of the local hotels into instant millionaires.  For nine months of the scholastic year I concentrated on drinking, parties, pub crawls and attempting to financially ruin the bookmakers at country race meetings.  The other three months of the year saw me borrowing notes, burning the midnight oil, and attempting to pacify my lecturers and tutors who did not recognize me.

I graduated in 1971 with honours in drinking and gambling, a credit in pool playing and a distinguished pass in nightclubbing……. I also passed in Law.”

In 1972 Graeme married and commenced his legal career which saw him practise as both a barrister and solicitor. By the mid 70’s his addiction to alcohol saw him drinking up to 30 beers a day and his life spiral out of control. In 1978 through his drinking and gambling he misappropriated funds from his Trust Account and was charged with misappropriation of funds from his trust account. He was disbarred and sentenced to 5 years imprisonment with a 2 year minimum.

Following his release in 1980 he kept on drinking and in 1982 was arrested and charged with armed robbery of a bank in Prahran and sentenced to 7 years imprisonment.

Having destroyed his marriage and career Graeme was written off by almost everyone except his mum and a few close friends.

Since his release in 1986 Graeme has worked in a scrap metal yard, created The World Masters of Business which brought out to Australia many of the world’s leading business and political figures including the former President of Russia and Nobel Peace prize winner  Mikhail Gorbachev and Nelson Mandela who Time Magazine included in their top 100 people of the 20th Century.

The day after his arrest for the bank robbery Graeme made a decision that he did not want to die a failure and so started a journey in recovery that has seen him remain abstinent from alcohol for the past 36 years.

Since his release in 1986 Graeme has worked in a scrap metal yard, created The World Masters of Business which brought out to Australia many of the world’s leading business and political figures including the former President of Russia and Nobel Peace prize winner  Mikhail Gorbachev and Nelson Mandela who Time Magazine included in their top 100 people of the 20th Century.

Graeme was an in-demand motivational speaker for over 20 years delivering presentations in Australasia, South East Asia and America on his favourite topic “Failure is Never an Option.” He has written three books including the best-selling Never Give Up, sat on the Board of Life Education for 5 years and helped raise in excess of $250,000 for Life Education which delivers programs into schools to help children understand the dangers of drug and alcohol abuse.

Over the past 25 years Graeme has coached and mentored hundreds of people with alcohol, drug and gambling issues and. In 2015 he completed his Diploma in Community Services (Alcohol, Other drugs and Mental Health).

As part of completing his Diploma Graeme was required to complete 100 hours practical placement at a drug and alcohol rehab and this experience solidified his view there was a better way to assist and treat people who had Drug, Alcohol or Gambling issues.

21renew was built on Graeme’s own experience in recovery, his passionate belief that any successful recovery is based on not only acquiring the necessary tools to deal with substance abuse and addiction issues, but also having a plan for how you want to live the rest of your life.

The vast majority of Drug and Alcohol rehabs focus on the time spent in the Rehab and pay scant attention to what the client does post their residential stay at the facility. Many of these drug and alcohol rehabs outsource their after-care plan to Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous. At 21renew we believe these twelve step groups are a wonderful provider of assistance but only provide half of the solution. The other half is for the client to have a plan for how they are going to live their life and providing them with the motivation tools and coaching they need to enjoy their new found freedom from substance abuse or addiction issues.