Female 50, Sydney
Have a middle class background, private school education & overseas trips.
1970, 15yrs — smoking, alcohol, Avil, grass.
1973 at Uni — LSD, speed, mushrooms, hash, grass, alcohol, mandrax, valium, sleepers
1974 — working private enterprise, progressed to heroin first smoking then injecting.
Junky for 2 years (1.5gm/day) — rehab for 6mths, but still wanted a taste., became weekend user. Tried other Detox programs found I had two addictions, needle and drugs. Did 6 months on a pharmacotherapy program, had to end early for travel reasons.
Always returned home to same friends who ‘owed’ me or said why not try this instead…
Alcohol/cough medicine/cocaine when other drugs not around. 1980’s Boyfriend stopped me seeing ‘old friends’ so substituted with alcohol, grass, hash. Pregnant again at 28yrs, stopped drugs little bit of drinking/smoking.. Boyfriend ‘kicked out’ when daughter 2years — he was alcoholic, blackouts, destructive. Another boyfriend back to weekend using, drinking, smoking, 9–5 work then another boyfriend who didn’t drink just smoked. Had two more children in1989/90 but still drinking/smoking cycle with pregnancies. Had two major back surgeries — got hooked on prescription pain killers and valium.
1994 — blackouts, violent, ‘Jekyll-Hyde” — treatment center 3 weeks, self-help groups but smoking dope and painkillers. Went to meetings for year then moved, stopped going. Youngest child diagnosed ADHD — Ritalin, Catapres, Risperdal medications.
1995 — eldest child ran away from home, fostered out, also taking drugs at high school.
My father given three months to live — cancer, other brothers/sisters pointed finger at me.
Started drinking in earnest, smoking, taking whatever prescription drugs I needed to get through the day. Lost drivers license twice for two years — having blackouts, aggression, denial. Ringing police up over fights with boyfriend, they would give me the AVO.
Went to psychiatrist 2–3 years who told me NOT to drink!
2001 — third DUI, Police said would throw book at me — lose kids, go to jail etc.
Moment of clarity!!! Lost license again for 4 years — had to find a way out of this addiction cycle! Rang self-help groups, did suggested things etc, did ‘Steps’ — put myself first. Found out about feelings, not living by my will, handing it over, one day at a time…etc
2005 NOW been 3yrs 8 mths nothing heavier than panadol, even given up caffeine/tobacco!! I have totally different fulfilling life — thankful, grateful & accepting.
Continue to stay close to support meetings 2/3 per week. Retrained in computers, returned to work force, currently studying AOD Diploma/Mental Health Certificate IV at TAFE (well I may as well learn the theory??). Do volunteer work for self-help groups and other organizations. Recently found out I had liver problems, thyroid disorder & HepC. Now on ‘second’ round of treatment, side-effects OK, can get lots of support.
Love life, learning and choices….