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'I didn't want that life anymore' - former addicts share their stories of kicking methamphetamine habit

Methamphetamine use is on the rise in New Zealand leading to violence and crime.

Two woman who've kicked their addiction to the drug shared their stories and the devastating impacts the drug has on families and the wider community on TVNZ1's Breakfast today.

Rachael Wild and Darnell Rumbal were both addicted to the drug for more than 10 years and our now clean. 

"I was a meth addict for around 16 years and today I'm three years and three months clean," Ms Wild said.

"For me it took me away from reality, it took me away from the pain and the trauma of what I had been through throughout my life and gave me an escape.

'I used for years and thought I was a 'functioning addict' . It probably wasn't until my last few years of using when there was a lot of domestic violence and abuse, where I had exposed my children to that, I started to understand the grips of what the drug was doing to me."

Ms Wild said the drug was so addictive she just couldn’t stop despite feeling the pressure from her family and the community.

"I lost many friends and at the end of my addiction my family didn't want to know me."

"As much as I wanted to give up, no one will really understand the grips that meth has over you and the wanting to stop but just not being able to."

Ms Rumbell was a meth addict for 14 years and is now 14 months clean.

"The first time you use it it's such a high and a euphoric feeling, you feel so energised, all your worries go away. For me it was like I had found the magic cure to my whole life and that's what draws you in, but it doesn't stay that way.

"When I was in the grips of my addiction I fell pregnant with my fourth child.  As much as I knew that what I was doing was wrong and I wanted to stop, I couldn't.  I used throughout my pregnancy, throughout my labour and throughout two years of breast feeding my son, that's how strong it is."

"When you're not ready to stop people can offer you all the support and all the intervention in the world and unless you are ready to stop then there's no stopping you."

Both woman gave advice on how to break the habit and how to prevent using in the first place.

Ms Wild said she went to a Māori kaupapa rehab in Rotorua three years ago.

"It was the best thing I did, I had my children taken away from me and I needed to get well."

"But rehab’s only the beginning, you have to really want it.  They're so many things around us, that are what we call triggers, that people go back and they use again.

"I had to fully surrender 100 per cent that I was an addict and that I didn't want that life anymore," she says.

Both agree that preventing the addiction in the first place is key.

Ms Rumbal said, "Prevention is key, if we can stop people picking it up in the first place, that is vital.”

"We share our stories because we want to hopefully help other people from not going down the same road as we did," Ms Rumbal says.
 

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Rachael Wild and Darnell Rumbal were addicted to the drug for over 10 years and are now both clean. Source: Breakfast