My parents divorced when I was three and I grew up living with my mum and step dad. Every second weekend my older brother and I would stay at our dads place. My dad is an alcoholic and from my earliest memories he was smoking weed in front of us. He was always growing “pot” plants, sometimes the set up more elaborate then others.

At home with my mum and step dad we were brought up in a strict catholic house. My mum & step dad had three more children together. Mum suffered with mental health issues, which progressed into alcoholism.

When I was quite young I started battling with my body image an eating disorders. Other destructive coping strategies kept popping up, I started self harming and I remember I would force myself to stay awake all night and day while I was going to school.

I was 13 when I started smoking weed and 14 when I started drinking alcohol. It was horrible because I would always black out and get really sick. I didn’t realize that that wasn’t normal.

When I was 15 I was kicked out of home. I lived on and off the streets and in run down government housing commissions, that were over crowded with addicts. That is when I first had meth. I was over the moon when I found it because I didn’t black out or vomit and it made me feel important, strong and like nothing mattered. I could stay awake for days and it felt like I had a purpose and I never wanted to be without it. During this time my family cut me off. My mother told me that it was easier for her to pretend I didn’t exist than to worry about me taking drugs and dying on the street.

I moved to Sydney when I was 20 with my long term boyfriend, we needed to get away from some of the carnage caused from his drug dealing career. I had also gotten a really good job up there. We tried the clean thing for a while, it was really hard and we broke up after a few months of trying.
I started drinking and taking drugs again straight away. I was so lonely and frightened at that point. I remember sitting down and pressing a razor blade against my wrist as hard as I could, willing myself to end it. I barely broke the skin. I hated my self for being so pathetic and not being strong enough to cut deeper. I decided that instead I would kill myself slowly and painfully with drugs and that that is what I deserved for being so weak. So for the next few years, that is what I proceeded to do & I did a pretty good job of it.

I got really thin and sick. I had a severe chest infection that lasted for the better part of a year. When I would have a coughing fit it was like I was drowning and couldn’t take in a breath. I was so scared of these fits because I thought one of them was going to kill me. I am surprised I am still alive and in one piece today. I used wake up after a bender and my feet would be so swollen and sore and my toes would be numb from lack of blood circulation. Often when the drugs ran out, it felt like I had to fight with all my might to stay sane and when I would lose that fight, it just became a primal fight to stay alive. And for hours I would slip in and out of conciseness and all I was aware of was this intense pain and fear. The funny thing was I kept doing this to myself over and over. There were times when I suffered psychosis, sometimes the snap to insanity was eerily calm and quiet and I felt like I was floating in a different and better world. Other times the snap was so terrifying and I felt like I had to fight the world to stay alive. I remember one time I ended up cuffed by the police and I thought there were helicopters in the sky from different countries coming to save me and I kept shouting at the police that, “they are going to write about this, what do you want them to write about you.” That didn’t help my case and I ended up in hospital held down by a team of nurses and injected with sedatives and anti psychotics. I was living in constant fear of insanity and death.
When I finally realized that I was addicted to ice, I was terrified. I had no job, my family had cut me off from their lives again, I had no friends who I had known longer than a few months and no place to call home. I was high all the time, I loved the beach & I remember I couldn’t even be there with out using.

The morning that I realized I was an addict I conjured up an image in my head of my boyfriend and I drug free and playing in a rock pool. I wanted it so much and I could see it so clearly but it seemed so far away and unattainable. In my mind that is were my journey of recovery began.

I tried many things to get clean. I did the geographical move back to my home town and I white knuckled it down there, I managed to get Ice out of my life for two years and for that first year I was able to not use any drug, other then alcohol, for up to a month at a time. I seemed to only get sicker though and in this period I ended up in hospital more times then in all of my using. With every hospital episode another type of therapy was enforced on me to help me get better. It wasn’t until I found CMA 9 months ago and I started working with the 12 step program, that I really started to make leaps in my recovery and that I was able to start living a life free from drugs and alcohol.

Since being in recovery my life has become very full! I am doing things that I have always wanted to do, like starting hobbies, volunteering & success in my work. I have been able to start building an adult relationship with my family, which I really cherish. I feel like I have more awareness around my behaviors and their consequences and with that I feel growth. I feel like I am starting to learn what my needs and wants are and with the support around me, I am slowly starting to learn to overcome my fear around asserting myself. I have more motivation and energy to do things, without drugs, than I have my whole adult life. I am learning that I can be kind to myself and when things are hard I practice saying a few kind words to myself and doing something for me that I enjoy. This has felt very empowering to learn that I can do nice things for me!

Life in recovery has been challenging at times and I have battled with  difficult feelings, but they haven’t got out of control and on the whole Ihave stayed pretty safe and sane. And you know what – I am starting to fear my self less and less.

CMA has helped me make new friends, who love and care and support me. I have done the things suggested, I got a sponsor and I stay in regular contact.

I got phone numbers of other recovering addicts and I used them. I go to regular meetings. I went to a meeting nearly every day for the first 6 months and I am still at one most nights. I am working the steps with my sponsor. I am involved in doing service work. I do fellowship with other addicts regularly and “I don’t pick up one day at a time.” Doing all of these things not only has helped me stay clean but has helpedme feel connected and a part of CMA.

We have a lot of fun together too! I believe that for me, a big part of my recovery and healing is to learn how to socialize and have meaningful relationships without drugs or alcohol. We regularly go out for dinner and coffee. We have a different activity once a month. We have gone bowling and to the mountains for a hike and we have had a number of beach trips! The love and support that I have received in this fellowship is the reason I am clean today. I have CMA to thank for the life that I have today. I aim to show my gratitude, by giving back the same love and support that I have received.

CMA Helpline