I don’t know exactly when drugs became a problem. It started off fun and exciting. I enjoyed the relief drugs gave me from my rigid world of private school and achievement. I liked the power drugs gave me when I dealt to my friends and foes. Drugs became a problem when I could not stop using even when I wanted to.
I did the ‘normal’ alcohol to marajuana to speed to acid to heroin storyline. I sought drugs. None of my friends at school took drugs, so I introduced most of them to their first drug. I loved learning about new drugs and testing them, even when I knew nothing about the effects they were going to have on me — even more exciting!
Marajuana was good, although it made me feel sick, and I found it hard to get up off the floor (I rarely had the luxury of a couch). I loved acid. Until it sent me paranoid. I went blind for a few hours on daytura. Alcohol made me vomit like a pig. I vomited all the time — it became normal. I loved speed because I could lose lots of weight, really fast, without even trying! But heroin was my favourite .
The first time I used heroin I did not know I was using heroin. My marajuana dealer offered it to me — he said, “Would you like a snow cone?” Of course I said yes, I never said no to free drugs. I thought ‘snow’ meant ‘speed’, and I had used speed a number of times before then. So I smoked it and it was wonderful. I felt like I was floating on clouds. I had never felt so relaxed and happy and blissful in all my life, and I have not felt that way since. It is that feeling that I continued to chase for a number of years, only to become a desperate heroin addict in the process.
Before heroin, I was a smart, vibrant, hyperactive school girl, with dreams of becoming a professional musician or stage actress. Heroin stole all my dreams.
Somehow I made it through school, with a number of suspensions, and finally getting asked to leave school after overdosing at school on pills and alcohol. I finished school with a heroin and marijuana habit, through correspondence, after I got kicked out. I decided I wanted to continue with my dreams by going to university to study music. My piano teacher walked out of my lesson a few days before the audition because I was so stoned I could not play. I was stoned the day of the audition also, but somehow I got into University to study piano and composition.
I decided I needed to get serious about quitting heroin. So I went on a certain pharmacotherapy program. I lasted 5 months off heroin, by taking the programs treatments and smoking copious amounts of marijuana and taking party drugs such as speed, acid, mushrooms etc. It helped that I was prescribed 8 amphetamines per day for my ADD.
It did not last. Back on heroin, overdosing regularly, I was forced to leave university to go to rehab. My first rehab. I lasted 3hours. I got kicked out for being stoned on marijuana. A few detoxes later I tried rehab again. I lasted 2 and a half weeks. I got kicked out for smoking other stuff and sniffing glue. A number of detoxes and overdoses later I tried rehab again. I lasted 3 and a half months. It was hard work. But I just kept going back to heroin. I didn’t know how it happened, but each time I thought I was going well, I ended up with a fit in my arm again. I was getting desperate and sick of detoxing. I was sick of the things I did to get drugs. I was constantly getting kicked out of crisis centres, refuges, detoxes and rehabs for using, stealing to get drugs, and prostituting myself to get drugs. I was sick of lying to my friends and family. I tried so many things to get money that I swore I would never do. I looked down on people who sold themselves for drugs, and I ended up doing it daily. I looked down on people who stole handbags from lady’s in the street. I did that, and worse. I did anything for drugs.
I tried rehab again. They kicked me out after 24hrs because I had pills in my pocket. I was so scattered from using pills and heroin, I did not even know what day it was. So I used and used and used so much I don’t remember most of it. I remember I became suicidal and tried a couple of times to overdose. I hated living. I woke up in detox after my second suicide attempt on the 24th December 1999. I spent Christmas and New Year 2000 in detox. I spent 6 weeks in detox. I couldn’t go back to many places in Melbourne, because I had been kicked out of so many places, or I was still too young to get in. I was 20yrs old.
I rang rehabs and half way houses all over Australia, looking for a place that would take me, and that had a short waiting list. Many rehab waiting lists were 6months long. I did not have that long. I believed I was going to die. If I did not get into somewhere safe from detox I believed I would kill myself. Finally I found a place that said they would accept me in the shortest amount of time.
I came to Queensland a broken person. I never wanted to use heroin again. I used speed heavily before I got into treatment because I could not handle being out of detox, waiting to get into rehab without any drugs. I was so desperate not to use heroin — I thought speed would not harm me as much. 6 weeks later, when I was admitted I was in psychosis. I was in my own reality which was so scary because I couldn’t trust anyone. I believed I had committed suicide, and I was in Hell. I believed people were witches and vampires, and they were putting spells on me. I believed there was no way to escape. I believed treatment centre was a cult, not a rehab. But there was nothing I could do about it because I could not trust myself. I could not trust my mind or my addiction.
The psychosis slowly wore off and my body and mind started the lengthy process of recovery. I learnt about boundaries and assertion and conflict resolution. I learnt how to look after myself — basic needs like washing my clothes, changing my sheets and cooking vegetables! I learnt about positive self-talk and being responsible for myself. Completing the program was a buzz for me because it was the first thing I had completed without getting kicked out for a long time. The people there loved me back to life.
Since completing the program I found new ways to get support outside of a rehab. I found a loving Higher Power and friends who were also recovering addicts, staying clean. I am constantly reminded where I came from, and today I believe there is no need to use drugs, no matter what.
I live a pretty ‘normal’ life. I am 3yrs 6months clean. This year I completed a Diploma of Multimedia and have found casual work in the industry. I have found my dreams again, and was recently accepted into University to study Bachelor of Music. I start next year and I am very excited about what my future holds, without drugs. I have recorded a few of my songs, and have sung live at a few venues. I teach piano, and love having music back in my life.
The friends I have made in recovery have encouraged me so much to find my dreams again. It has been a hard journey so far, and I don’t expect my life to suddenly get easy just because I am clean, but I love the challenges life throws at me, and I love the fact that I face my life head on, without any substance in my system. There are so many people who have helped me on my journey, not just from this program and other detoxes, rehabs, crisis centres, refuges and family, but people who give me a chance, despite my past.