This is my story.
I have demons taunting me in the back of my mind most days, I am aware that they are there — only I can hear these voices, I can hear them whispering to me — ‘c’mon Wendy, let’s get high just for old times sake, remember how much fun it was’.
It was fun in the beginning but half way through my drug addiction it became a trying part of life, it became a vicious circle, a circle of destruction, tails and death.
I belonged somewhere, well so I had thought, but I only belonged to the power of drugs and its cycle of addiction.
I have replaced my drug addiction with writing poetry and am currently trying to have them published. I have been fighting addiction since I was 12 years old. Addiction can take hold of anyone from any walk of life. It can steal the rich, the famous, the poor, the old and the young.
My story isn’t about all my dark moments of my drug and alcohol abuse. My story is about addiction and the power it has over me. Where do I begin? Addiction grabs hold of you, it squeezes you tight and it won’t let you breathe easy, it empowers you, it degrades you to your lowest point of exhaustion. Addiction is about choice — the choice to be locked into a downwards spiral when the drugs take control of your life. Addiction is knowledge, learning to live with it.
To control my addiction is the only way I can stay drug free. I know this because I am an addict. I don’t get high or drunk today. I have had many attempts to become drug free and stay sober. I have tried rehabilitation, detox centres and even travelled to another state where I thought I could escape my addiction. I wasn’t ready to be reconnected into society or to be in control of my life, nor was I willing to give up my greatest addiction. I had not yet hit rock bottom. It wouldn’t be until later on in my world of drugs that I would hit rock bottom.
I was fifteen when I was diagnosed with hepatitis C, I contracted the virus from sharing a needle which had not been sterile.
Today I am 33 years old and my hepatitis C has now progressed to cirrhosis of the liver and my past drug use has not helped my medical condition.
I remember the day I shared the needle. I was desperate- I walked into a take-away food shop in the city where I used to score my heroin from my drug dealer. Another drug user and I went into the toilets where we had a shot. I was the last one to have the shot and we only cleaned the needle with a bit of water. That day I gave into my addiction. Drugs and alcohol controlled my life.
I began drinking when I was 7 years old, it started with a few drinks in the basement, then wine in the coke bottles and taking it to school. I kept my drinking a secret till I was in my early teens. I left home at a young age and was placed in State Ward institutions until I was 18.
Drugs were an everyday occurrence in the children’s home. I didn’t know a lot about addiction at that time, all I knew was that I had found something to hide my pain that I suffered due to childhood abuse. Drugs took away my fears; my feelings of loneliness, sometimes for days while I was passed out somewhere. Waking up days later not knowing how I got there and wondering what I had done beforehand. Passing out was always scary but it was a feeling I soon became used to.
I grew up on the streets of Kings Cross, becoming a prostitute so that I could support my heroin habit. I turned to heroin when I was fourteen — heroin was my drug of choice for almost twelve years. I did a lot of unforgivable things to support my drug habit, I begged, I borrowed, I stole and I hurt a lot of good people. I ended up in goal and become a ‘regular’ within the system. I used drugs and shared needles with the other inmates; I became empowered, locked in to a world where there is no loyalty, no trust, no respect.
Today, I live in a world where I make the choice to stay drug and alcohol free. I remember the cramps, the hot and cold sweats, the vomiting, the cravings for the white powder. Heroin was everywhere. It was in my veins. I have been addicted to other drugs, such as speed, ice, dope, pills. I have even sniffed petrol, aerosol cans, glue and white out, however heroin was always my main choice.
It wasn’t until I was about 25 that I realised drugs weren’t taking my pain away for good, it was only suppressing the way I felt.
Addiction to drugs can kill. Drugs own you; they take your life, your memories. I saw three of my good friends die from the effects of drugs over the years. Two friends that I grew up with in the institutions that had become close like a family, died from heroin overdoses and another of my friends was the first male that only wanted friendship with me, was hit by a train after suffering a speed psychosis attach. He left behind a girlfriend and young son. He had wanted to marry the girl and now he no longer has that chance.
Today I have my own place and a little dog. I make the choice to stay strong and now have the willpower to stay clean. I had a great deal of support from people who care and love me and who never gave up on me even after I had given up on myself. Admitting that drugs had taken control of my life was the easy part; the hardest part of my sobriety was learning about my addiction.
Living without drugs and alcohol is all about setting simple tasks for the day. I have learned to cope with my fears, my hurt, and my failures by writing poetry and doing creative art work.
Today I try to be kind to myself and to others and the most important task for me is to learn to forgive myself. I still have some trouble coming to terms with forgiveness but I am coping. I have a life and it’s a life without drugs and alcohol.
I have kept the good friends whom I have lost through addiction, close to my heart and believe that they all saw something in me greater than addiction. There is hope; there is help, just ask and don’t be afraid. For me today, it is all about choice. I could choose to take the life that I once had or the life I have now. I will always choose the life I have now.