Why I became an ice addict – and how I got clean

The Age

When I was a little girl, my dream wasn’t to become an ice addict. I didn’t really have dreams.

I didn’t really believe in much. I remember feeling sad, lost, lonely and in pain. I didn’t know how to deal with these emotions.

In my teens, I was scared of drugs. I drank and tried to numb the pain in other ways, but I never thought of turning to drugs. As I got older, I became curious. My friends used recreationally and they didn’t look like those scary pictures the media shows us of the negative effects of using drugs.

I remember when I used a drug for the first time thinking, “it mustn’t be that bad”. I was young and I was hurting.

When I tried it, I thought I had found the answer. I felt relief.

I thought I could hide my drug use forever. It would be my secret and I could finally be a happy participant in a life I had never really lived.

But little did I know the drug would soon destroy me. I didn’t know I was losing weight and that my skin looked horrible.

I didn’t know the lengths I would have to go to get the drugs. I didn’t realise that I would lose my high school girlfriends or my morals and values.

I didn’t really know that my mental health was deteriorating either. I just needed my drugs to numb the shame, guilt and pain. The obsessive thoughts to use more became relentless. I didn’t know I had a choice to stop. It didn’t feel as if I did.

Sonia Mattei felt isolated as a child. Photo: Paul Jeffers
Sonia Mattei felt isolated as a child. Photo: Paul Jeffers

It is so easy to form an opinion when you look at the horrific images plastered all over the TV, internet and newspapers about how treacherous and dangerous ice addicts are.

Yes, unfortunately some are. And yes, I do believe that if they do the crime, they must do the time. But not everyone addicted to ice is a dangerous criminal.

Today, at three years clean, I do have a choice. I asked for help and, thankfully, I got it.

Other recovering addicts helped me stay off drugs. They showed me a new way to live. There is hope, recovery is possible.

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