Hi, I am a thirty-something woman and member of the CMA fellowship. I have been clean for three and a half years. During this time my world has changed more than you will probably believe.

This is my story of how I came to be a CMA member.

I grew up in the suburbs of Sydney. I was raised by both my parents. I have childhood memories of riding my bike and family holidays on the Gold Coast. I was carefree, playful, and was given the gift of a loving childhood.

My transition into a teenager was a bit more difficult. I started to struggle with who I was. I became uncomfortable in my skin. I lacked the voice to speak up and talk about how I felt. That feeling cemented itself into my soul and began to grow.

I learnt when I was 16 that if I binge drank alcohol I felt pretty good about myself.

I also learnt that if I worked a lot of hours at my part time job, I would have no time to reflect on how lost I felt.

So I stayed busy and binge drank on the weekend. This behaviour carried on after I left school and started working full time in an office.

The thing I never really liked about alcohol was the calories. So when I ran into an old friend who raved about the benefits of ecstasy and speed they had my interest.

I was promised no calories, dancing all night, and the smell of food would repulse me. In my eyes that was a WIN WIN WIN… So my experimentation with drugs began. I was 21 years old.

I still see those first few years through rose coloured glasses.  I had a small group of very close friends and we went through this phase together. We went to raves, festivals, day clubs, kick-ons in hotel rooms.

I truly believed I was living this amazing double life, office worker by day, international women of mystery by night.

Week after week I went through the cycle of being awake all weekend, and then caught up on sleep during the working week.

It was tough but I managed.

On the dance floors I found a connection I’d never felt before. I’d never felt more myself, and more at ease.

The first time it was suggested to me that I try crystal meth I actually said no. My exact words were, “no, that’s a scary drug”.

But as often these things went for me, my rubber arm was twisted and 20 minutes later I was in the back of a car smoking crystal meth for the first time.

After using I returned to the club and it felt like I had electricity in my blood. And surprise, surprise, I really liked it…

From that moment on crystal meth had me. Not that I knew it at the time, but it already had me.

My weekends changed once I starting using crystal meth. I had less regard for work on Monday and didn’t want to attempt sleep on Sunday nights.

Coming down then became too painful so I just didn’t come down. I used crystal meth every morning; it was part of my morning routine.

I got away with being high at work for a long time.

I got to the point that having the drug in my system meant that I was acting “normal” – if I tried to not use I would stop functioning.

This is the belief that kept me in this cycle for many years.

I told myself that I needed to work, I needed to function, so I needed to use crystal meth every day.

They say that addiction is a progressive disease. And that is very true for me.

It got to the point that smoking crystal meth every day wasn’t enough. I became open to using in other ways. And as soon as I made that shift everything changed.

I became paranoid and dropped in and out of psychosis. I stopped going to work. I pushed everyone that loved me away; I didn’t want them to see what I had become.

I lost so much weight that my face was sunken and skin opaque.

The only thing I cared about was using crystal meth.

I had a thirst for the drug like I’d never had before, and I’d do whatever I had to do to get it.

My rock bottom came on my 30<sup>th</sup>&nbsp;birthday.

I had told myself a lot of lies up until that day, but on that day I looked in the mirror, and I didn’t know who I was looking at.

For the first time I was actually scared for myself and I realised that if something didn’t change, I would die.

Six weeks later I admitted myself into rehab.

I turned up that first morning full of fear. I didn’t know what was about to happen but I knew it was time to try and change.

In the rehab they spoke about funny things that didn’t make much sense at first. Things like going to meetings and being in an abstinence based program which included alcohol.

I was in that treatment centre for three weeks and a few miraculous things happened in that time. I came to understand that I have the disease of addiction and began to identify as a recovering addict. I started to function quite normally WITHOUT crystal meth in my system.

While I was in the treatment centre two members from the CMA fellowship came and told their story.

I related to both speakers and decided that when I left I would go along to one of their meetings. And I did. And I still do today.

My life has changed a LOT in the last three and a half years. And as I stated above, my world has changed more than you will probably believe.

I live a life today that is rich with joy and laughter. I am surrounded by people that love and support me.

It has taken time but I no longer think about using crystal meth.

I no longer want to put anything in my body which will cause me harm. I am close again with my family and I have mended the relationships that my crystal meth use damaged.

I have learnt to love myself and I am no longer confused about who I am.

Every day I stay clean I grow to be more comfortable in my skin.

I am just one woman in recovery who hopes to help other women. If you related to any of my story please come along to a CMA meeting, we are here, and we can help you.