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From Ice Addiction to Recovery

While many people talk about the ‘Ice epidemic’, few people hear the stories of those who have gone through addiction and come out the other side – and sadly not everyone can say they are fortunate enough to come out the other side.

Addiction is a chronically relapsing disease and as a recovering Ice addict, Russel knows first-hand how tough the journey to Recovery can be. He admitted to South Pacific Private three times and knows that each attempt at Recovery is not a failure but a step to being free from pain and the harsh reality of addiction. Recovery takes hard work and everyone’s journey is different. This is Russel’s story…

“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 pot habit to try and get me somewhere close to sleep each evening.

I didn’t come to South Pacific Private 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 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. An ambulance was called and I was taken to Emergency 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 stayed clean for three hours after my first admission and used once after my second admission, after having stayed clean for seven months. I came into my third admission three months clean and was sent to South Pacific Private 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 centred 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 behaviour.

After my inpatient stay I was fortunate to be able to do South Pacific Private’s Transitions Program for three months, four days a week. It was one of the most confronting and enlightening of any work I have had to do.

The nurses and therapists at South Pacific Private 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 South Pacific Private each month either with my fellowship for meth addicts or of late as part of the Alumni SPP in the Real World program.

I thought Recovery from addiction was a 10-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 South Pacific Private 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.”

Think you might have a problem?

Supported by most health funds, treatment at South Pacific Private is designed to meet the individual needs of each client and offers the best possibility of recovery, facilitated by a multi-disciplinary team of Psychiatrists, GPs, Registered Nurses, Clinical Psychologists, Therapists and Case Workers.

If you would like to speak to someone who understands the challenges of addiction, and who can discuss your particular situation and treatment needs, please reach out to the team on 1800 063 332 or email us at info@southpacificprivate.com.au for a confidential chat.

Want to share your South Pacific Private Recovery Story? 

You can remain completely confidential. Just reach out to us on prmanager@southpacificprivate.com.au. We would love to hear from you and your story could inspire others to take that first step.

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*stock image used.