Academically, I was smart. In the classroom and within sport and recreational activities, I excelled. Teachers would say to me, “you have the potential to go far and succeed at anything”, then as I got older that became “you could go far if you just bothered trying”. Cannabis made me feel good, but what I couldn’t see then is that it also took away my drive to do anything other than smoke weed. I was high all day at school, sitting exams and writing my answers in the wrong places or wagging school altogether. I stole from my whānau and friends to feed my daily habit. I sold anything and everything of value, just to get the next hit and eventually that “hit” became a necessity for me to function daily.
I first tried meth when I was in year 9. I was drinking alcohol at a friend’s house when her Mum wanted to see the effect meth had on me. She invited me into a room with another adult and showed me what to do. I was only 13 years old.
Although I dabbled with meth in my youth, it wasn’t until I was 18 that I started using meth frequently. It took me 3-months to realise I was addicted but took me 8+ years to get off it for good. What began as a splurge on the weekends, quickly skyrocketed to using weekly, to using daily. It was the most addictive drug that I have ever used. My life revolved around meth and getting the next hit. I would sell anything of value, steal, hustle and eventually I started selling meth to feed my habit. Along the way I burnt bridges with everyone that tried to help me until my entire friend group only included other users who would not hesitate to throw me under the bus to get that next hit. After time, meth did not have the same effect on me as it first did, so I started taking other drugs with it. Ecstasy, trips, ketamine, amphetamines, amyl nitrite. Anything and everything I could get my hands on and most of the time I didn’t even bother asking what it was or what it would do to me, just how do I take it.
The breaking point for me was finding out I was pregnant and choosing to get an abortion because I didn’t want to have to stop using. Choosing to get an abortion destroyed me inside more than I realised it would, but this was the first wake-up call that I needed to get clean. It took me many attempts to get clean. The hardest part was realising that I needed to take all the temptations away and that meant staying away from everyone who did it, which was my entire friend group. I didn’t know how to stop smoking meth. I gave up meth the only way I knew how, by replacing one drug with another.
I started drinking alcohol heavily to minimise my cravings for meth. I worked in hospitality, so alcohol was readily available to me. I was blackout drunk at least four nights a week and that was normal for me. It wasn’t until I met my then partner that I used meth again. Our relationship was a whirlwind. He had access to a drug I easily succumbed to, so within a week he was moved in. With two alcohol and drug habits living under the same roof, it wasn’t long before we were out of drugs and out of cash, and that’s when the violence started. What started as a twack across the face soon led to being thrown against the wall, pinned to the ground, beaten black and blue. I fell pregnant and while that seen me stop drinking or using drugs, it also meant I stopped working and he began to control every aspect of my life. I did what he said because I didn’t know how to survive and provide for my baby without him. He still constantly used meth and alcohol and the violence continued. I was pinned down while having a knife put down my throat and told not to fucking move. I was held at gun point while my baby watched because he was on a come down. Her screams that night is what finally got through to me, that I needed to leave a life surrounded in drugs, alcohol, and violence once and for all. I got help from my old employer. He helped me access the services I needed to provide for my daughter, and survive, without having to accept verbal, physical and emotional abuse as a way of survival.
Today, I am completing the last year of a Bachelor of Social Work degree. I hope to use my journey to help others stuck in a cycle that I was once in myself.