James’ Addiction Recovery
21 years old James, who grew up exposed to his mother’s battle with addiction undertook our residential addiction treatment program for his own addiction. He is now six months clean.
Hi, my name is James.
Addiction, even when you’re a kid, is what I’d call a lifestyle choice. Being brought up in a home with a parent in full blown addiction is what I’d describe as being chaotic.
However, being a kid, I accepted that this is how things were. By that, I mean, it was normal to be awake for twenty four hours a day, it was normal that your home was dilapidated and that there was often no food to be had. Plus, school was pretty hit and miss.
As well as being schooled in the education system, when I actually turned up, I was also schooled never to talk about what was going on, should Child Protection Services drop by.
As a teenager, aged 15-16, I started smoking weed with friends. However, the difference was that I was the friend that couldn’t stop. I started isolating myself and doing weed at night in my room, alone.
I didn’t want to care. I didn’t want to feel. I started doing magic mushrooms and LSD with friends.
Then I moved to the USA to live with my Dad and that’s where my use really spiralled. It’s very easy to get drugs there – and they are super cheap. Prescription drugs became my downfall. I was doing dexamphetamine pills, benzodiazepines, anything I could get my hands on.
I was away at college, so my Dad didn’t see there was a problem. Nobody saw what was going on.
I rationalised and normalised my choices as much as I could. It was “normal” to take speed to get through an all nighter prepping for an exam. It was “normal” to get cooked with your friends on a day off.
What wasn’t normal about me is that I needed drugs to function. Contemplating vacuuming my floor required me to use beforehand.
I started going to underground raves and started using MDMA. I reckon I would have fried my brains 24/7 if I could have.
I didn’t consider myself an addict – mainly because I wasn’t hung up on using any one substance. I’d use bits and pieces of everything therefore in my mind, I wasn’t addicted to anything and didn’t have a problem. My friends were worried about me and voiced their concerns.
“If all these people stopped complaining, then I’d be fine,” I thought.
The COVID-19 pandemic hit while I was living with Dad. I decided to stock up on drugs to see me through it. I went on a bender and blacked out for four days. During that time, I broke my toe, shattered my bed frame. I was psychotic.. and embarrassed.
The drugs were making my struggles with mental health worse. Every time I used, my problems appeared to magnify. My Dad didn’t know how to cope. If anything he had the, “get out of bed, get over it and go for a run” attitude – he had no idea what he was dealing with.
Eventually the decision was made that I’d return to Australia. My girlfriend was in Sydney so I went to visit her which was all fun and games until it wasn’t. I was rapidly becoming very unwell, binge drinking and doctor shopping – so her family kicked me out.
I went home to Queensland and had to quarantine for two weeks. I decided to ask around for amphetamines. I was offered something “quite different from other speed”. It was ice.
Well, that made me mentally ill, violent, psychotic and abusive towards my mum and girlfriend. They told me that they’d both had enough.
“Everyone is making my life difficult,” I thought.
Yet somehow in there I recognised that my life really was out of control and decided to come to rehab.
I did the thirty day residential addiction treatment program and I remember thinking, “how the fuck did I end up here,” while peeing on a drug screen urine test and lighting it up like a Christmas tree. I laughed at how surreal it all was.
However, the outcome was good – I did detox over a few days and came to learn that good rehab is about putting time between your last using and building new life skills. Just putting 24 hours of successful living between you and drugs, one day at a time.
I am involved with NA and have a sponsor. I take each day as it comes and always when feeling stressed use the “HALTS” acronym – am I hungry, angry, lonely, tired or stressed” – it’s easy for me to forget that a decent meal can sometimes make the biggest difference.
My future is looking bright. I have enrolled in university studies here and am studying Social Work. I’d like to undertake post grad studies and be involved in the upper management levels of AOD and mental health. Or research the aetiology of addiction.
Recently I returned to Sydney and reconnected with my girlfriend and her family. We have a lot of healing to do. Likewise, I am getting on better with my parents these days too. We communicate openly and life is much easier for it.
I 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.