I started using drugs at the age of 15. I started smoking a bit of pot which by the age of 18 progressed to much harder drugs like speed and ecstasy with that became a lifestyle of which involved crime, drugs, lies, deceit and money. All which landed me in jail where it became my life… As long as drugs and crime were in my life I would soon lose everything else, my family, my friends and my freedom. I mean everything! Soon I realised I would die or live my life in jail. I realised I needed something else when the courts offered me a drug court order where I could go to rehab at Mirikai and promised that if I worked hard I could get my life back so that’s what I did. I am now 26 years of age and Mirikai has turned my life around. 12 years of hell and my life has turned into a dream come true. I never thought I could get my life back, but Mirikai changed me in every way. I now have a loving girlfriend and my family and good friends by my side. I now live a clean life and feel good about who I am. I don’t need drugs or crime to have fun, it feels good to be where I am today.
For so long I thought my addiction was going to be part of me for the rest of my life. I used speed to help me out of depression and heroin to bring me down from complete mania. I suffer from Bi-polar (manic-depression). Drugs make me feel normal.
I used drugs for 12 years. I remember the first time I used a substance it made things that used to be dark, colourful. From that day onwards my using was everyday. My using took me to dirty alleys, dirty needles and dirty situations. It got to the point that using and doing crime was normal everyday way of life for me. Between countless psych wards and detoxes I was beaten. My family didn’t want to know me unless I was clean. I really resented them for that. At 22, I found myself broken, lonely and on probation. At that time I was on subutex as a back-up, but I was still using everything, everyday. The doctor I was seeing told me about getting Natrexone implants to stop the heroin use, but they were only being done in Western Australia – so I went desperate and with every intention of coming back clean. But I came back to Brisbane and hit the speed harder than ever. I gave a dirty UT to my probation officer and received a summons to court. After fronting the same Magistrate many times he gave the option of either jail or rehab. I chose rehab – I chose life. That was the beginning of my time at rehab.
Living in rehab was quite different for me in the beginning because of my mental state. As time went on, I found a few medications and it became easier when I found the right one. I had to accept that I may be on medication for the rest of my life. Rehab was a great learning experience for me to see myself through others eyes. I graduated the program after nine and a half months and moved into the Oasis Program (halfway). Halfway has given me the opportunity to re-integrate back into society. It’s helped me save, pay bills and live a healthy lifestyle. I am coming to the end of my stay here. I just live simply and take it a day at a time. I owe my life to both Mirikai and the Oasis Program.
When I was 15 I started using drugs. To start with I experimented with marijuana, speed, ecstacy, cocaine etc. Things began to really get out of control when I found myself with a heroin habit at 18. Up until that stage I had believed that I was different from anyone else and would not develop a habit. I quickly realised that I could no longer manage and was addicted. I had a number of unsuccessful attempts on the methadone program and also naltrexone, however I could not bear to give up. I went through countless excruciating detoxes, but just picked straight back up again. Heroin took me to a disgusting place, one where I would stop at nothing to get it. I robbed a lot of people, even family and prostituted myself. Every cent I could get my hands on went to heroin, therefore I lived on the streets – squats, toilet blocks or just wherever I landed. Eventually I landed in jail, was released and then straight back into it. The next time I went to jail I found out I was pregnant. I applied for a Drug Court Order and was released from jail to go to Mirikai Drug Rehabilitation Centre. Though at the time I didn’t think so, this turned out to be the best thing I could of done for myself and my then unborn child. My life changed on so many levels. I truly believe had I not gone into treatment that I would be dead or at the very least would not have my daughter. Today I am 2 ½ years clean, have a beautiful daughter, work in administration in a treatment centre and thank god every day that I am no longer in active addiction.
There are many times over the past ten years so that I thought I may never be free of the fear of losing my child or the helplessness that comes with drug addiction of a loved one. Nowadays I have a daughter completely abstinent from drugs and a beautiful granddaughter who was born at Mirikai. The staff at Mirikai have been an endless support to my daughter and I am so grateful.
(Parent of a client, the Mirikai Residential Program)