My journey through addiction started with alcohol. I never really drunk alcohol and then I got a job working in hospitality and it was here I began drinking to fill a void. My kids were living with their father in another town, so I used alcohol to fill that void. I was drinking and partying most nights. I moved to Taupō, and drinking stayed the same there. Still drinking every single night. Still trying to fill the void of not having my kids with me. And then I moved to Australia, and I came right. I was still drinking but not every night because I wasn’t working at the pub. Then when I moved back from Australia, I started living with my sister and her partner was dealing crack.
When he first gave me a line, I just thought I was taking speed. I had taken duromine a couple of times before and this just felt the same as that, so I just thought oh we’re having speed, we’re having crushed up duromine, sweet. He would leave us a couple lines and we’d be doing the lawns and keeping the house spotless. I was doing it with my sister, so it was fun, having a line here and there and then we started wanting a bit more. We were completely oblivious to come downs and didn’t know what they were so when we started feeling a bit down or out of energy, we would need more to pick us back up again. By this time, I was running a retail store and I had the shop looking pristine, but by the afternoon I was exhausted so I would ring up and get some lines brought in to pick me back up again. And then someone said to me, oh have you tried it in a pipe? And that was the worst thing I could’ve ever done. From there it just spiraled because that was a whole different feeling altogether.
I never paid for it. It was always just there. Friends would come over and they would be on it and bring it around. I had an awesome group of friends before I started using, and then they slowly dropped off because they weren’t into it and suddenly, I had all these other friends that I thought had my back, but they really didn’t. They were just there for the crack. When I started getting right into, I had a partner who was right into it too. We decided to move to Oz, so I sold all my belongings went there to set up and then when I come home to get my kids, he ghosted me, and I never heard from him again. He took everything I had. All my money. Brand new furniture and setup and I have never heard from him since. That sent me into a downward spiral and my meth use got heavier and heavier.
I never told anyone that had happened for ages. I was embarrassed, so I just smoked to escape that reality. Heaps of people were coming over again to my house again because it was a place to smoke. I had my kids living with me and I thought they were algood and I was being a good Mum. They were fed and the house was tidy but in hindsight I wasn’t being a Mum at all. I was leaving them to fend for themselves for the weekend. Leaving the older kids to look after the younger ones and I would just go because I was just so high. One of my daughters was suicidal and I didn’t even know. My kids were hurting, and I didn’t even realise or find out until I got clean. Even though I was on the property, I really wasn’t there for my kids at all. I didn’t even know what was going on for them for those 5 years because I was so stuck in the realm of just getting high.
I used for 5 years, and the last 3 years were heavy use, but the last 2 years were extreme use where I wasn’t going a day without using and having a gram sitting in my draw was normal. At the last two years stage, I started to think, fuck I don’t want this anymore. It got boring. People would just smoke and then get fixated on their phones, didn’t want to go anywhere, or do anything and I just got bored with it. I also realised people were only using me for my drugs. If I didn’t have something for them, they weren’t around, or they would come around, grab some and just leave again. I felt like a visitor in my own home.
A had one of my foster kids also living with me at this stage and her partner who was a dealer. He owed money to (GANG) so they started sending around their hitman and taking his stuff. It got to the point where I sent my kids away to stay with someone else and I slept with a gun. One day I got home and (GANG) were walking back and forth along the front of my house with a shotgun because they wanted their money. My son was stuck in the house, and I couldn’t get to him. I thought fuck I can’t do this anymore, this is enough. A huge turning point for me was my daughter saying I was not going to have my granddaughter anymore. That I would not see my granddaughter anymore if this is going on. And that was it. There was no way I could live without my granddaughter. I call her my hero. My saviour because if it wasn’t for her, I wouldn’t have gotten clean.
Another reason I stopped was because I went to a tangi of a very good friend, but the family didn’t want me there because I was on crack, but I went anyway. The daughter came up behind me and punched me in the head. It gave my brain whiplash, or a minor brain injury. It affected my balance, my speech and I got photosynthesis and had to wear sunglasses all the time. I was so scared to touch it again incase it damaged my brain further. It took about 6months to start coming right with therapy. It’s been 3 years now and my speech is still affected by it at times.
The hardest thing about recovery was the loneliness. I was going through recovery of the brain injury at the same time I was coming down off the meth, but it was the loneliness that was hard. You go from being surrounded by so many people constantly popping in and out to having no one around. But I wanted my life back, so I continued to stay clean.
I didn’t access services to recover but I held myself accountable for it. I put it up on facebook because I thought how embarrassing if I don’t do it. In the early stages of recovery, it felt like I was in an inflatable dingy and there were sharks swimming all around me - how easy would it be for that dingy to pop. I had my brother in-law or son in-law that I could get it from at any time, but I didn’t, I stayed strong. I kicked everyone out of my house who did it and kept everyone who did it away from me.
The key to recovery is - you have to want to do it yourself. There is no way you can make someone give up if they don’t want to do it them self or it’s not going to work. I joined the Anti P Ministry - and they really helped especially if I had a down day, I could talk to them. I eventually became an admin there and then a person who helped others going through meth addiction. People I helped there were thankful that I wouldn’t judge them and tell me that I gave them hope that they could beat their meth addiction, because I did.
I had to build the trust of my friends and family again and that took time. I still feel some guilt at times for what I subjected my kids to. Things they have told me that I did that I can’t even remember. Making my son bike home from Pap to the Mount at night when he was 10 because I was too fried. Kicking my kids out of the house when my daughter was heavily pregnant and my kids having to live in a hotel for a while. It definitely took time to build that trust back up, but I’ve proved to them I can do it and I have.
Today, I am past the 3 years clean mark. January the 20th is my yearly date and I celebrate coming clean and getting my life back every year on that date. Everything with my kids is good and they are so proud of me. I have my credibility back. I am working for the Bay of Plenty DHB, I am a business owner, and my recovery is a journey that I deal with every day. There’s always that devil on my shoulder reminding me what it felt like, what it tasted like. It actually makes me sick. But I fight every day to stay clean, because this life is 100% better than that life was.