What is methamphetamine? Methamphetamine (also called meth, crystal, chalk, and ice, among other terms) is an extremely addictive stimulant drug. People who use methamphetamine long-term may experience anxiety, confusion, insomnia, and mood disturbances and display violent behavior. They may also show symptoms of psychosis, such as paranoia, visual and auditory hallucinations, and delusions.
A former self-described heavy user of methamphetamine tells her story of a harrowing 15-year battle with the substance which ultimately led to intense withdrawals and suicidal thoughts. She is now off the drug and says she’s happy and looking forward to a positive drug-free future.
This is her story:
My husband and I smoked methamphetamine every day for 15 years and we were not nice people.
Although together for more than 20 years, we turned on each other. He’d beat me up and I attacked him too. I was living on a farm, isolated, with my controlling husband who wouldn’t let me see my friends or family and dictated my every move. My children had left home and although they were suspicious, they had no idea we were drug addicts.
We were both employed so we could afford our $700 a week habit and still live comfortably.
As time went on my hatred towards my husband intensified. He was always beating me up and often accusing me of cheating on him. I never did, it was drug paranoia.
Methamphetamine really does change people. It’s an ugly drug that breaks families. It eventually broke ours and several years on, I am still working to repair the damage.
Eventually I’d had enough. This wasn’t the life I wanted. I was fed up with the violence and after my daughter found out I was using I wasn’t allowed to see my grandchildren. That was the final straw.
I stopped smoking methamphetamine. The withdrawals were so intense! I asked my husband to give it up too but he wouldn’t and I decided to leave him.
I came to Invercargill but he followed me. We tried again, but it didn’t work out.
I was scared for my safety after I left him for the second time. People on methamphetamine are so unpredictable and I already knew he was violent and controlling.
I became suicidal. I just didn’t know what to do with myself. I was suffering drug withdrawals so I turned to drinking to fight the intense cravings and I had to get medical help. I was a complete wreck.
I ended up getting into trouble and I was referred to Nga Kete’s restorative justice service, and from there to Whanau Ora and the GP Service at Nga Kete.
A Whanau Ora staff member talked through what was important to me and we established a plan using Pathway. My three goals were to get my own home where I could be independent, to reconcile with my daughter, and to re-connect with my moko and have them living with me. I’m so proud to say I’ve achieved all of these goals.
Appointments were made at Work and Income to get the correct benefit, and Police and Work and Income also assisted in getting me a security system for my new house.
Food parcels from the Salvation Army over a couple of weeks allowed me to put enough money together for smaller things for my home, and furtniture was donated from Whanau Ora and given to me to begin my new independent life.
My newfound independence gave me a confidence boost and I got a job volunteering with a local business.
I’ve been in my own place for almost a year now and my former husband doesn’t know where I am. I’m really happy to be in Southland. It’s a wonderful place with great community support.
Nga Kete has made a huge difference in my life. I feel like I’ve got good support. I don’t feel like I’m alone anymore. The staff there are just exceptional.
Being off methamphetamine has turned me into a different person. I feel so much better. I don’t feel insecure. Life is just all round better. I’m continuing to seek medical assistance but my future is now looking lovely. I’m happy. I’m positive. I feel safe.
I would advise anyone to seek advice at Nga Kete for anything because the attention you get is just so overwhelming.
If you are experiencing harm/problems from methamphetamine please contact:
* 111 in an emergency.
* Phone your General Practitioner for access to Drug and Alcohol Specialist Services or Mental Health Services.
* Nga Kete Addiction Services (03) 214 5260 or free phone 0800 925 242.