Courageous Sophie looks forward to 2016

I moved from a farm to the city and my first puff of ICE was in year 7 with what I thought was a friend who picked me up from home with two older males. We drank slabs of beer and then had a puff of ICE (PIPE) and went to school the next day feeling weird.

A couple of years on my sister and I became homeless after a family breakdown forced us to live on the streets during the winter months. One night we had no choice but to spend the night in a toilet block with an unknown male who provided us with free drugs before we moved on and walked the streets in the cold before jumping in a mate’s window.

We negotiated to stay and pay rent in what was kind of like a halfway house where we enjoyed using drugs and just being able to forget about the rest of the world. Things then took a turn for the worst when police raided the house – the undercover cops interviewed us all because of stolen goods, next thing you know I’m in the police station getting bail conditions because someone lagged me in, I was stuck in a cycle of crime. Due to continued criminal activities, I was placed in both Secure Welfare and a Detention Centre on numerous occasions. That’s when I hit rock bottom and thought – “WHEN WILL THIS EVER END”

Experience of mixing other drugs with ICE

I use to take lots of other drugs as well as ICE and not give a dam. GHB, Cocaine, ecstasy, bongs and when coming down depressants, sleeping tablets and all sorts. I use to drink alcohol and use MDMA and feel happy. I use take lots of uppers while smoking and injecting ICE. I did not realize it was so dangerous and an enormous strain on the heart and other parts of the body which can lead to stroke and overdose which I have experienced and ended up in hospital. You put everyone that cares about you at risk, they are worried and try to save your life, make you breathe and come back to life. It scares them to death and they become traumatized, not just you. When you hit rock bottom you reflect back, become depressed and angry because you have let a lot of people down that care. There it is again the monster inside my head telling me not to care about what they think, it overtakes you and you scream your way out and you go back and do it again, it never ends or stops.

Experience of Withdrawal

Withdrawal was so hard. Everybody would think I was crazy, they couldn’t look at me, I was another person, a stranger, a monster to them. I let so many people down. But I no longer had control over my substance use – this monster got the better of me, it ate my flesh away day by day, I worshipped it, fell in love with it. I continued to try and source drugs during withdrawal periods and those efforts brought on anger, rage and frustrations. I then began abusing prescription medication to assist with poor sleep hygiene which made things worse and led to increased poly drug use patterns.

My drug habits started because of a variety of difficult reasons, I didn’t get monitored by my paediatrician and doctor. I felt that my medication (ADD/ADHD) was not working and that my parents did not assist me to have my medication reviewed due to family conflict – everything was just out of control in the family every single day of our lives.

Experience of giving up

Barwon Child, Youth & Family have played a huge role in helping me get my life back together. It’s now been four months since I have touched a drug. It’s been a massive struggle on the way to getting better, lots of ups and downs but I am facing reality and feeling better.

I continue to seek AOD/Mental Health support from Barwon Child, Youth & Family who provide me with education on the expectations of withdrawal/recovery in both the short and long term. I still get voices that climb inside and try to attack me at random times and I try to fight my demons off, I have panic attacks worse than anxiety that are horrible and I feel like death. The workers at Barwon Child, Youth & Family assure me that what I am experiencing is a normal part of my journey to improved health outcomes and this is comforting.

The Future

I can tell you it is very hard and a continuing struggle to keep improving, but I feel so much better and wouldn’t go back in a million years. I’m already on the right path to being successful and cannot wait until I reach my achievements and goals in my life because I believe there is a bright, solid, amazing future out there for me planned by God.

It’s about patience and believing in yourself. I’ve learnt a lot from my mistakes, decisions and choices. I’ve learnt not to take huge steps forward in life, it’s about little tiny baby steps and you will achieve. Everything does get better. Don’t let the negativity get you, let anybody influence you, or put or bring you down.

I have learnt to be stronger – I use to be that little girl who use to follow the pack of wolves and I use to hate the word “NO”, I couldn’t say no to anyone, it would always be okay and “YES”. I would never let my parents or teachers say no to me, but I have learnt what it means and it can be used for a good cause – lack of discipline or to help someone.

In all of this, I am proud of how far I’ve come and I won’t go back, I’m going to keep taking tiny steps forward one day at a time. I’m also ready for 2016, never been so excited, it’s going to be so good to have a completely fresh start with everything. Anything is possible, just believe in yourself, be hopeful and faithful.

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