man sat alone

Recovering from an Ice Addiction

My Journey from Ice Addiction to Recovery

My name is Russell and I am a recovering crystal meth / ice addict.

I have been to SPP three times. My first stay was eight years ago. I had little idea how ill I was on my first admission. I came to the front door with a $500 a day Ice addiction and a small mountain of pot habit to try and get me somewhere close to sleep each evening.

I didn’t come to SPP because I had some form of ‘spiritual awakening’ or because of a ‘light bulb moment’. For me the drugs simply stopped working. There is an AA saying that ‘chemicals medicate pain’ and for me the drugs had long stopped working and the medicine had become my poison.

I used, not to enhance Saturday nights, but so I wouldn’t think, feel or dream. For a while the chemicals ticked those boxes and for a while I thought I was the puppet master changing my world both instantly and dramatically. I didn’t notice the movie had changed and that I had morphed into a slave to a substance I thought I needed more than oxygen.

On my third night at SPP I went into a psychotic fit of involuntary spasms which the staff couldn’t control. An ambulance was called and I was strapped into a stretcher and taken to ER at Manly Hospital. The next few days were spent having brain scans to determine whether I was epileptic and was suffering fits. They proved negative. It was the beginning of my detox.

I spent four and a half weeks in the detox wing only allowed out for the last few days before I graduated. On my first two stays I was not allowed to be part of the Changes program having been diagnosed as too brittle to undergo such an intensive program and fear I may trip into psychosis and not come back.

I stayed clean for three hours after my first admission and used once after my second admission, having stayed clean for seven months. I came into my third admission three months clean and was sent to SPP by my GP who said I was on the verge of a major relapse and needed to go somewhere safe. My diagnosis was ‘complex grief’. In the space of a week my ex-wife died prematurely to a rare cancer, a relationship I was in unfolded and my best friend moved overseas.

My third visit was significant because the work I did centered on the issues of intimacy, avoidance and relationships. Once clean, the more substantial issues came to the surface. That I had the opportunity to ‘re-parent’ the ‘inner child’ was a revelation as was the work around avoidance and adapted behavior.

After a four week inpatient stay I was fortunate to be able to do SPP’s transition program for a marathon three months four days a week. It was one of the most confronting and enlightening of any work I have had to do. I discovered myself as such not in myself but within the dynamics of the group and how I related to different personalities and them to me.

The nurses and therapists at SPP loved me back to life. I am now nearly six and a half years clean. I work a Twelve Step program and began the journey by doing a meeting a day for two years and ringing my sponsor every day for that same period. For the last five years I have been coming back to SPP each month either with my fellowship for meth addicts or of late as part of the Alumni SPP in the Real World program.

My abstinence is only possible by being of service to others. On a weekly basis I visit jails and help facilitate Recovery groups. I also attend other institutions rehabs and detox units as part of sharing my story and lessons I have learnt with a hope that someone else may see themselves in some part of my journey.

I thought Recovery from addiction was a ten day detox from extreme using to a more manageable diet of substances. I never signed up for abstinence nor for a deep searching personal inventory of me as a human and especially not to be doing meetings and living the life I now am. This is however how I have found my freedom from the slavery of addiction and bondage from a monotonous soul destroying nightmare.

I learnt at SPP that early recovery is five years and have since discovered that this journey takes time and is rarely possible without a huge support network.

The only courageous thing I did was ask for help and admit to myself I had no idea how to stop using and maybe someone else did. My favorite two sayings in Recovery are “the therapeutic value of one addict helping another is without parallel’ and “feeling good isn’t the point”. There is nothing more extraordinary than those walking the same path assisting and that courage, integrity and honesty are more than just feelings.

The program of Recovery is about changing behavior. Where my thoughts go in early Recovery is not as important as to where my feet go. If I am going to a meeting and walking the talk then eventually my thoughts and mind will settle from a frenzied intensity to an internal acceptance of a type of serenity and calmness no substance can get close to.

If you or someone you love is struggling you can call South Pacific Private 24/7 on 1800 063 332 or email info@southpacificprivate.com.au.

We always advocate that you reach out to your local GP for support or to a health care professional with experience in addictions.