Gabrielle’s Ice Addiction Recovery Story
Hi I’m Gabrielle, I’m 29 years old, and my substance of addiction was ice. I cannot tell you how happy I am to be off the addiction rollercoaster.
You could say that I had a really good upbringing. I have one brother and had what I’d considered to be a traditional upbringing with two loving, happily married parents. I was brought up with good values and morals and was never exposed to any drugs or alcohol as a child.
I grew up in Roma, which is a small country town. There wasn’t a lot to do there and I fell into the wrong crowd. I started dating an older guy at sixteen. He was into drugs and dealing them. That’s how it all started.
Our relationship would end up lasting eight years – and it was really awful. There was a lot of violence, and he was very controlling. I didn’t have any coping strategies to deal with this behaviour.
It didn’t help that my best friend was dating his best friend – if anything it normalised our situation – didn’t everyone do this in their teens?
Because of his controlling ways, I didn’t have much of a social life. Instead, I was very focused on work. I worked for a mining company as a project coordinator.
We moved to the Sunshine Coast for a few years, and it was during this time that things got bad. My using increased, and I realised that I needed to leave to regain control of my life.
One day, outside of his knowledge, I did just that. I left in the middle of the night, changed jobs, and my phone number, and moved into a share house in Brisbane. I never saw him again.
When I did that, I thought that would be my “clean start”. However, I was beginning to realise that there was a bigger issue, which was my drug problem.
In Brisbane, the previous connections I’d established made it easy for me to move into dealing drugs. That way, I could basically use for free.
Although my drug use hadn’t escalated, my life did as a drug dealer. My priorities changed. The people around me were, shall we say, a little more serious than petty users. I started to get involved in bad things, and crime.
In 2019, my apartment got raided twice. I racked up 24 indited charges which were commercial possession, commercial supply, and everything that goes along with it.
After that, I felt like I began to fall apart. I started using a lot more to try and cope with the stress of the legal issues.
On the surface, I looked calm and controlled. I always thought that I had everything under control and that I was smart enough to be one step ahead, unlike others.
A big part of my story is that I managed to hide my addiction, and my legal problems, from my family, for the entire time.
I didn’t talk to anyone about my problems.
Instead, I dug myself deeper into a hole.
When all the legal stuff came along, I was concerned about what my lawyer and barrister were telling me – that I’d get a four year jail sentence. I was worried that if I was sent to jail, that my family would find out about my whole past.
I was carrying around my life as a one big lie. It was a massive burden.
Throughout my time in Brisbane, I struck up a relationship with another guy who became my boyfriend. We used, dealt and lived together.
My lawyer suggested that I go to rehab, stating that if I didn’t, I’d be looking at a longer jail sentence.
I went to the Hader Clinic Queensland in June 2020. My boyfriend, who was in the same legal situation, came with me.
We pretended not to be a couple.
We stayed for a week, then we left.
We started using the day we left.
However, things got way worse after that.
My partner had a psychotic episode, and tried to commit suicide by burning a house down in Brisbane.
He was admitted into the Royal Brisbane Hospital Burns Unit for several weeks. That’s the point where he realised that he needed to get help – and arranged to go back to a different rehab.
While he was in hospital, he was broken and vulnerable – and wanted my support, which I couldn’t give him – as I was still using.
Two weeks after he committed to rehab, he had changed a lot. He had surrendered to the fact that he needed help, and was now begging me to commit to stop using and to go to rehab myself.
I arranged to go back into The Hader Clinic Queensland’s residential rehab on the 2nd of August. However, as soon as I got there, I got on the ice and didn’t actually rock up there until the 6th.
I was scared and I was ashamed, I guess because I’d already been there once before, and I had left, basically saying, “thanks anyway, but I’ve got this”.
It was a case of swallowing my pride, returning, and saying, “I need help”. It was also very confronting giving up what was familiar. Using was my life.
Anyway, I went in for thirty days. It was much easier than the first time around, but difficult in that I couldn’t talk to my partner. I think there was a concern that as we left together, that if he wasn’t doing well, that I might get up and leave again.
About two weeks after I had been in there, my brother reported me missing to the police. My family had no idea that I was in rehab, my using, my convictions, anything. I’d simply dropped off the face of the Earth.
The police got in touch with the clinic – my bail had been changed so that I could attend – that’s how my family ended up finding out about my addiction.
It was pretty traumatic, but I’m grateful that they found out while I was at the rehab seeking help, rather than watching me destroy my life.
Sally, one of the counsellors at the rehab, helped me through that whole process. This was probably one of the biggest things that has happened in my life – coming clean and having to be honest.
Once I got the courage to come clean, everything became easier after that.
I ended up extending my stay at rehab for an extra thirty days. I did well with my rehab.
My partner also did really well with his rehab too.
When I came home, I did everything that I was told to do. I worked through my exit plan, I went to NA.
When it came around to my court sentencing, I was able to produce many clean drug test results, and since I got out, I have been supported by the Hader Clinic Queensland’s staff who offered to write letters of recommendation for me.
The prosecutor in the Supreme Court asked for four years and I ended up with three years suspended on immediate parole. This was due to rehab and also due to my brother writing a letter outlining the support I had from my family. That would have never happened unless I had gone to rehab.
The relationship I have with my family is great and improving as we make up for lost time. My partner and I got engaged three weeks ago. He gets along really well with my parents. It’s really nice – and I think they are grateful to have their daughter back, as I was essentially M.I.A for ten years.
I was always the child that was missing in action their whole lives. It was really sad, because there was nothing they could do except let me go.
Every time they would try and reach out to me, I’d disappear or change my phone number. I was ashamed and I couldn’t accept the fact that I was stuffing up my life either.
My partner and I go to meetings every day, sometimes together, sometimes separately. We both hold service positions for our home groups. We’ve both got great sponsors.
Every person we see congratulates us on how good we look – and how rare it is for a couple to be in addiction together to be sober together – however, it’s working well for us. We are stronger together, and happy to be the exception to the work.
I haven’t returned to work yet, however, I’m just taking it one day at a time. I know that I will have to be careful at work as my addiction can really play out there – I can literally be addicted to my job.
Therefore, I am being gentle with myself and my expectations as I’m in early recovery.
I’m very grateful to the staff, especially Jay – I felt he had my back during the whole program. I knew that I wasn’t ready to leave after thirty days. I am glad that I could extend my program. Once I accepted that I needed help, my recovery journey became easier.
I’m grateful for recovery and cannot thank The Hader Clinic Queensland enough for their support and help.
Queensland’s only private rehab centre with ACHS accreditation
We are proud to be the only private drug and alcohol addiction treatment centre in Queensland to be independantly accredited.