Forgetting and realising again what and who is important

I grew up in a loving home, with a wonderful family. I'm well educated, had a successful career and always tried to be an honest and decent person.

I never imagined I could become addicted to ice, watch my world crumble before my eyes and not have the strength to do anything about it... until these last few months...

Throughout my twenties I was like many others I know, I worked hard during the week at my job, paid my rent and bills, went shopping, dined at restaurants and then on the weekends partied with my friends using coke, speed and amphetamines. I never felt out of control or felt it was an issue. 3 years ago I met my partner. As a single Dad of 2 from the outer suburbs of Western Sydney, our lives couldn't have been more different up to that point. We fell in love, and I decided to move out to where he and the children were to make a happy family life together.

This was the case until one night, about 8 months into our relationship we ran into an old high school buddy of his who dealt speed and ice. At first we just got a little speed from him for the odd weekend when the kids were at their Mums. We both enjoyed staying up all night talking and taking random drives to nearby beaches and bush land, it was great and I still have happy memories of some of those weekends.

On one of these occasions my partner came home and said his mate didn't haven't any goey so he gave him some ice instead. He produced a glass pipe and taught me how to smoke it. I was so naive at the time, I was excited to try something new and put all the things I had heard and read about ice to the back of my mind. My partner had been a truck driver for the past 10 years and well versed in most elicit drugs and how to consume them. His way of consumption was to inject, this was confronting for me at first but I soon became used to it and thought nothing of seeing black boxes of needles in his dresser draw.

Needless to say it wasn't long before we were both hooked. In the space of about a month or 2 our entire world changed. Our priorities shifted from creating a loving and happy home for the kids, to shoplifting their school lunch snacks in order to save money for our own needs.

For the next two years I still managed to keep my jobs, go to work everyday and hide my secret addiction from everyone except him and our dealers. He managed to do the same for most of this time also. Although he worked in removals and there his habit became increasingly worse, as did his mood swings, temper and ability to distinguish realty from fiction.

The kids went back to their Mum, I became a shell of my former self. Preferring to sit at home alone, smoke pipe and draw pictures rather than socialize with anyone.

Sexually our relationship intensified, as it's one of the effects of the drug. But in all other facets it faded. We were distant and irritated by one another. The only time we really made decisions and worked as a team were when we were planning to score, which became almost a daily occurrence.

At the worst point earlier this year I was using about a half (5 points or $200 worth) a day and he was using double that. I borrowed so much money from loan sharks, friends and family and lied to almost everyone I love in order to keep our lives going through the addiction.

When my partner lost another job in Feb this year he didn't get out of bed for 2 weeks. He was trying to kick the habit but it meant he couldn't function and began to refuse to do anything. He couldn't contribute financially and I didn't have enough money to pay our rent, buy food, get to work and pay for our habit on my own.

We had to move out of our place and stay with his Mum. He decided he would go to rehab and I would be ok without him as he was the one who always provided the drugs for me and always maintained control of that part of our lives. I felt confident that I'd be ok if we didn't have one another there to encourage each other using.

I found a new place to live on my own and he stayed at his Mum's house, when push came to shove he couldn't face rehab and ended up fighting with his mother and coming to stay with me again. He knew I wouldn't have him there unless he contributed financially and my addiction was worse than I was letting on, I had actually continued to use without him by finding the no's of the dealers when he'd used my phone to call them.

When he told me they had offered him a job with them I thought all our problems were solved. We had access to an endless supply of drugs, it was cheaper and I could now use the money I earnt to pay rent and bills.  Unfortunately it's not so simple when it comes to ice. He became violent and I became more insular, depressed and reliant. He ended up leaving and became completely engrossed in criminal activities, living in a cheap motel and barely existing. He was dirty, angry, unhealthy and suicidal. I wasn't much better.

Finally, about 4 months ago, I decided enough was enough when he threw a ceramic bowl full of porridge all over me whilst I was in bed and then called his mum and the police saying I threw it at him and I was crazy and needed to be committed. I locked myself in the bathroom and cried and cried for hours and hours.

The next day I called my parents and told them I wanted to move back to where they live to be with them. When I told my partner at first he was numb and said 'good, you need to' but on the night before I left he came over and cried his eyes out apologizing for what he'd done to us and himself. I wanted to stay and try to rescue him but I new I had to rescue myself!

The day I left Sydney in late July was the last time I used meth. 3 and a half months in, I feel like I'm starting to get back to my old self again. I got a good job, I am paying off my debts and seeing a counselor about my addiction.
For my partner, the road to recovery has not been as smooth as mine. He ended up going to a Salvation Army rehab facility in Sydney but couldn't stand the restrictions and ended up discharging himself. He managed to find some work and was trying to stay out of trouble so he could move interstate with me to give it another shot, but the activities of the earlier months caught up with him.

He was arrested for continuous supply in early August and has been on remand ever since. He was refused bail and is due to face the charges in a few months time. In some ways it was a blessing in disguise. He's now clean, and the intelligent, caring, and strong man I first fell in love with is coming out from the shadows.

I've been back to see him twice and speak to him everyday. At this point we are both committed to kicking this nasty life and soul destroying habit and moving forward into happier times.

I'm not stupid and know the path ahead for us both will be a windy and rocky one. I still have days where I want a point so badly I look for strangers in the streets that look like users and consider asking them to help me. But I live in a small town and people know my family so I wouldn't dare. My family don't know the full extent of my downward spiral and I don't feel at this point, there would be any benefit in telling them the whole truth.

I have a lot of shame and guilt and anger about how I let this happen to me. But I'm working on moving forward, leaving it all in the past and concentrating on making a bright and happy drug free future for myself and hopefully for my partner too. I can't control him or what happens to him, but throughout the whole ordeal the love never died, it just got pushed to the side.  We understand one another better now and hopefully can both continue to support one another and aid each other in recovery.

I wanted to share my story to let people know ice addicts aren't always dirty bogans with sores on their face. Throughout the whole time I used, I still showered, wore makeup and nice clothes, did my hair and looked like any other 30 year old woman you see on the train at 8am in the morning commuting to her job in the city. The only difference was, I had an extra little case in my designer handbag containing a few small crystals and a glass pipe, and I probably hadn't slept for a few days.g It makes me so sad to think I was this person but I'm proud of myself so far and I hope others can read this and relate to my story. It's always nice to know you are not alone.

Thank you for reading.