Former client

I'm a recovering addict. My story is much the same as anyone who uses drugs/alcohol. My life became unmanageable and I ended up living to use. At first it was fun and games, I loved running wild and being rebellious. I was young and that's what you do! I've had three children and our lives were manageable for a number of years.

I loved being a Mum it came very natural to me, but I also loved drugs. Sad thing was I put drugs ahead of the welfare of my children, because of this I paid the ultimate price. I had my children removed on a number of occasions for short periods of time.

In that time I went to Detoxes and a halfway house. I could see things falling apart. I had to stop using. So I did and the children were returned each time. It was quite obvious to everyone that the kids and I have a very close bond. I was given plenty of chances but staying clean didn't last long. I ended up picking up drugs 3 months later, I was in chaos and the children were gone again.

I went out using drugs for a further 6 months. I was roaming aimlessly around the streets of Sydney, a lost soul, desperate for something better than this. I had hit a rock bottom. I was sick and tired of being sick and tired. I needed help, I needed rehab, so then I went to a rehab program on the 26th August 2002.

I am now 1 year and 3 days clean.

I had this 'front' happening that I was confident and OK but the reality was I was riddled with fear. During my time at rehab I gained the knowledge and the awareness of this disease of addiction. We went to self help group meetings daily and thats where I realised that I was not alone. People like me with similar stories trying to change, learning life without drugs.

Women in the program were very supportive; they challenged me and my behaviour and were there for me to cry on their shoulder when things were down. That's what it is all about one addict helping another. Don't get me wrong, days at the rehab weren't easy — but what did I have to go back to?

Whilst in rehab I also had to face up to the consequences of my using. I had to face criminal court due to warrants. I had been in the rehab program for a couple of months at this stage and the judge dropped all charges. Only because he could see I was making an effort to change.

Not so lucky when I had to face the Children's Court, which dragged on for months on end. I was 60 days drug free on the stand in the court room, so vague trying to tell them what was going to be different this time. I didn't know but I knew I couldn't give up on my kids. I did my best that day in court, but the end result was that my children were not coming home for a very long time.

I was shattered. Thank god I was at the rehab. My peers and staff were so supportive. I was so shutdown and didn't have much of a voice. I was very sad and depressed for several months. I had all the reasons to leave and use but I didn't and hey I've got through it.