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Real Life Kōrero - J.T.'s Story

“I am forever grateful to Higher Ground for the privilege of being there and for helping give me the tools to live life clean and sober.”

My Story

I’m an addict. This is the story of my recovery.

I felt I was different all my life and at 8 years of age I became aware of this. I ate SOS lollies (cough lollies) and unbeknown to me, these contained a form of alcohol, and that alcohol would be the burst I needed to get me through the day.  I see this now only in retrospect. 

My first experience of a mood- and mind-altering substance would have been nicotine. My mother smoked Pall Mall menthol and my sister, and I would often steal one or two and go under the house to smoke them.

At age 13 I, along with a friend, bought a bottle of blackberry nip. I remember my friend stopped drinking, threw up and passed out. I proceeded to finish the bottle, hopped into bed, and threw up violently. Not a good experience one would think, but it did not hinder my progress on to harder alcohol, smoking cigarettes (we had stolen), cannabis, hash oil and 4-way trips.

In my teens I felt ten feet tall and bulletproof. But my use was not like other social drinkers or non-drinkers. I would not stop any mood- or mind-altering substance until it was all gone.

I had my first child at 21 and my use slowed as I was a young mother struggling to parent on my own.  However, my use didn’t slow for too long.

My oldest child was taken from my care by my parents. I had arrived home late, and my parents were there. They said they were aware I wasn’t coping well. This led me to spiral downward. I used for another 6 months, was mixing with undesirable people and use to wake up to use and use all day until I passed out.

After 6 months of hard out using anything and everything, I admitted I had a problem and I entered Higher Ground Rehabilitation Centre, which was in Parnell at the time. I was the only voluntary person there. During this time I was able to start being honest for the first time in my life. After 4.5 months of being there, I left and was able to enter a halfway house in Thames.

Being in a recovery halfway house enabled me to get both my children back.

I am forever grateful to Higher Ground for the privilege of being there and for helping give me the tools to live life clean and sober.

After a period of 12 years, I relapsed for 7 years in Australia. This time when I came home, I was welcomed to the Hanmer Clinic in Tauranga. This time I used the 12 steps and meetings, educational groups, social walking group, etc., to support my recovery.

I am not enmeshed with the 12 steps although they will be the foundation for life. I encompass other things, such as weaving to calm, centre and clear my mind. I garden as I love to see things grow.  At the age of 64, I am prepared to start looking at the Bible and the teachings therein. Meditation and visualisation also help with maintaining my mental health for me.

After 5 years clean, I do not wish to attend meetings and do so on a very irregular basis, I instead spend time pursuing other interests.

Naku iti noa



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