Here, Jasmin Wilson, 32, tells the story in her own words.
'H￼ave a good day!’ I called, waving my two girls, Elizabeth, then 10, and Katherine, four, through the school gates.
Saying goodbye, I desperately tried to avoid eye contact with any of the other mums. What if they can tell? I worried.
A busy working mum, I was hiding a dark secret. Growing up, I’d always known about the dangers of drugs. My mum Helen, 59, and dad Scott, 60, worked in drug and alcohol support, so our house was filled with information leaflets.
Then, aged 11, I found out a schoolmate was hooked on amphetamines. Worried, I told her mum so she could get help.
Moving through high school, it seemed like drugs, especially meth, were everywhere. ‘No thanks,’ I’d say if I was offered any. ‘It’s not for me.’
Even when I started work, got married and had my beautiful girls, I’d hear of mates taking crystal meth, also known as ice. Scarily, it seemed as common as drinking. I don’t need meth to make me happy, I thought.
With my family, job, two cars and a home, I had everything I wanted.
Then, in 2015, life started to unravel. My husband lost his job, so we rented out our house and moved in with Mum and Dad to save costs. Work was stressful and my marriage was on the rocks. Overwhelmed, I slipped into depression.
Noticing how energetic my friends who took meth seemed to be, part of me envied them. I’ll just try it once to pick me up, I thought. I won’t get addicted.
Besides, if I felt better, I’d be a better wife and mum too, I figured.
So one day, I got hold of some of my friend’s meth and snuck out to the shed while my family were in the house, unaware.
Smoking the drug, I felt a surge of happiness. My good mood lasted for a few days, but when I started to come back down to earth I wanted another hit.
Within weeks, I was smoking meth every day. Today’s the last day, I told myself each time. Tomorrow I won’t need it.
Helping the kids with their homework, or doing the school run, I could feel myself becoming distant. They were still fed and dressed, but when I was high, it was like I wasn’t really in the room.
Going to the office every day, I looked like I was functioning, even when I hadn’t slept all night. But on the inside, all I could think about was my secret addiction. How can I buy some more? When can I take it?
Racked with guilt, I knew what I was doing was wrong. Feeling low and hating myself only made me turn to meth more to cheer myself up.
After six months, I was spending $100 a day. Burning through savings, I started selling anything of value. I even pawned my wedding ring.
Handing it over, I didn’t even feel sentimental. The meth is worth it, I decided.
Irritable, I started snapping at the girls and my husband over small things. A lost sock could start a screaming match. I was paranoid, too.
Then one day – when I’d been using meth for seven months – an old friend who’d spent a few days with us sat me down. ‘Your life will be okay without the drugs,’ he assured me.
That’s when I started to see the drug as a real problem, not a solution. He encouraged me to tell my parents. He’s right, I realised, but I felt a wave of dread. They’d be so shocked and disappointed.
Sitting them down in the lounge room, I confessed. ‘I’m taking meth,’ I said.
They were devastated and during a tearful conversation they urged me to stop. It wasn’t so easy though. I was in the drug’s grip and I kept relapsing.
Finally, 18 months after I first used meth, I hit my rock bottom. What has my life become? I thought. I really need help.
Calling a drugs helpline, I poured out my story. ‘There’s a detox programme in two weeks, I can book you on it, if you’re ready?’ the counsellor said. Seeing my chance, I grabbed it. I was going to get clean for my girls.
‘Mum’s going away for a week,’ I told them gently. ‘I love you.’
After spending eight days at the centre drug free, I felt amazing. But it was just the start of my new life.
My marriage was broken beyond repair and after blowing more than $30,000 on drugs, I had to work hard to make ends meet. The best thing though was spending time with Elizabeth, now 12, and Katherine, six. I realised how much I’d missed out on.
Now, I’m making up for lost time and raising awareness about the horrors of drug abuse through my job with the Aboriginal Drug and Alcohol Council. Don’t make my mistake. The price is just too high.
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