There is always a way out

Six years ago I was a hopeless heroin addict with not much of a future. I HAD nothing, and I WAS nothing. Today I am a happily married mother of two beautiful children, a paediatric nurse, a homeowner and a caring friend, sister, aunty and daughter in law.

The road to here was not easy, but it was so worthwhile.

I was not your usual drug taking person, in that I never tried any drugs while I was at school. I focused on my studies and graduated in the top 10% of the state. My goal was to go to university, and nothing was going to stop me. I was in quite a bad car accident in the year I was to start uni, and I deferred my studies as I spent a month in hospital, and my recovery was slow and painful. I also then decided to move out of home for the first time with some friends. Within a very short while, I found out that all of my new housemates smoked pot and it was not long before I tried it. None of them pressured me into it, I was just curious. One thing lead to another and within a couple of months, I had also tried trips, speed and ecstasy. Heroin for me was a big no-no and just something I thought I would never do. But as the story goes, I also tried it when I found out that all of the other girls had, and had hidden it from me because they knew how upset I would be. I spent $12.50, and ended up with my head in the toilet vomiting for 2 hours. Not fun by any stretch of the imagination, but addictive. I still felt good while I was being sick.

The heroin use became more frequent and I found I needed to get out of the situation so I moved. I formed a new group of friends and most of them were a few years younger than me. Unfortunately, they were all experimenting with drugs and I got back on the merry go round. I also fell in love and my partner got very heavily into heroin. I begged him to stop but he couldn’t and in the end I figured, if I couldn’t help him beat it, then I might as well join him. Within a few short weeks I realised I couldn’t remember the last day that I was straight. We ended up selling everything we owned and turned to crime to feed our addictions. Unfortunately, I had also received a large compensation pay out from the accident, and we went through about $50,000 in no time.

Family began to worry about us but we were very good at hiding what we were doing and none of them suspected it was drugs. Our crimes eventually caught up with us and we were sentenced to 3 years probation. It was obvious to the probation officers that we were still using heroin and my partner’s one told him he had to find help or he would be going to jail. After three and a half years of everyday using, we were ready to find help. We had tried to stop using so many times but always failed, as we could never handle seeing each other hanging out, and in so much pain.

We found a Doctor who would treat us with a pharmacotherapy program, if we could find someone to be our carer. My partner’s mother agreed to have us live with her and assist us with the treatment. My first heroin free day was 18 November 1999. That was the easy part, and the hard part of counselling was to follow. A lot of things were brought up that I had tried to hide from, by numbing myself with heroin. I had been sexually abused from the ages of five to nine but ended up being able to forgive my abuser. I became a Christian and it saved my life (corny, but true). It is the only thing that keeps me clean. Nothing else worked for me. My partner and I were now drug free, but had to face each other and really look at who we were. We ended up breaking up but then I found myself pregnant. I knew that I was strong enough to raise my baby by myself and that it would be hard, but I could do it. My beautiful daughter entered this world exactly one year to the day that I stopped using heroin. A coincidence? I think not! It is a constant reminder of what I gave up, to get where I am now.

The happy news to the end of my story is that my partner and I reconciled, and got married in 2003. I have remained drug free, and for me, I mean TOTALLY drug free — no medications, no pot, no nothing. I am totally free and completely happy. My second child was born on 18 November 2004, exactly five years to the day since I gave up heroin. Just another amazing piece to my story.

I guess what I want people to take away from my story is that there is always help out there. It is not always easy to find, but there are some amazing people in our community who really do care about drug addicts and want to help. I thought that I was the scum of the earth, but we are not — we just made some poor choices. If you are still using, then make a good choice and find help today. It is so worth it and you owe it to yourself to be the best you can be.