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Learning to Live Again – Rebecca’s Story

Learning to Live Again – Rebecca’s Story

I was born in regional Victoria, the youngest of three girls. Our family was close and loving and my parents worked very hard to provide a great life for my sisters and I. When I was five years old my best friend died. This was the first time I had ever experienced deep grief, loneliness or rejection. I couldn’t understand why I couldn’t go to heaven with him. Without realizing it, a hole opened up in my heart and the fear of loss and rejection became a part of my life.   

As I grew older I was popular at school and had great friends. I played lots of different sports moving from group to group, trying hard to fit in. All my activities were fueled by my desire to be accepted and wanted. I started dating when I was 13 and relationships with boys became the way that I reassured myself that I was valued and accepted. I started hanging out with the wrong crowd, dating the ‘bad boys’, which led to even more pain and poor choices. When I was 14 my parents moved my older sister and me to a new school. I made friends quickly but made a big mistake when I started dating a young man who was very controlling, unstable and sexually abusive. I ended our relationship when I was 17 but so much damage had already been done. Alcohol and drugs became my way of escape.

I tried ‘ice’ for the first time at the age of 17. I was drunk, at a party surrounded by a lot of men who were older than me. I didn’t really have any idea what ice was. My friend’s older brother offered it to me so I figured it couldn’t be too bad. I was scared but I took it anyway. I can still remember that first time.

The drugs hit my system like a rush, I felt amazing, and I thought nothing in the world could stop me. Looking back now I also see a scared young girl in a dark, gloomy room making the biggest mistake of her life.

That first experience of ice didn’t lead me to an immediate addiction but I now had a taste of what it was like and I wanted more. Initially I only used it at events like music festivals or big parties. It didn’t take too long however before I craved it every weekend. I couldn’t go out to a club or party without it. My friends and I would search high and low for it, getting involved with some very dangerous people and situations along the way. I stared dating guys who also used ice, I dropped out of netball, a sport that I really loved and I lost my job. I spent less and less time at home and lied to my parents a lot. This addiction isn’t cheap and I chose to help my partners deal drugs so I could afford my own habit. This only increased my drug usage.

The sparkle in my eyes faded, my skin turned grey, and my body became frail. I didn’t even recognize my own reflection in the mirror. When my parents realized that their baby girl was a drug addict they desperately tried to help me but I was so far in denial and shame I couldn’t see a way out. I wasn’t just living in hell, my family was too.

One day after a big weekend of partying in the city, my boyfriend experienced drug induced psychosis and turned on me. For two days he held me prisoner. He physically and emotionally abused me. When I was finally able to get away he followed me in his car. It was like one of those high-speed car chases that you see at the movies. I had no phone credit so I called my mum reverse charge, trying not to crash my car. I was absolutely terrified. I warned her that my boyfriend was following me to their home and that he had a gun. I still remember my mum’s voice, afraid yet so strong. I met her at the police station where, with the help of the local police, I was able to go home to the safety of my parent’s place and get a restraining order against my boyfriend.

Even though I broke up with that boyfriend I seemed incapable of breaking free from the grip of drugs and the party lifestyle.

On the day of my granddad’s funeral instead of going home after the funeral I went to meet my dealer, desperate to score. He got in my car and together we drove around for a bit. He drove and I was the passenger. I must have nodded off because the next thing I knew I was looking at a smashed windscreen and smoke pouring out of the car engine. There was blood everywhere and a rush of pain ripped through my body. He had crashed the car into a tree. Had we hit the tree an inch closer and I would have been killed. I had multiple skull and facial fractures and injuries to my legs and feet. I was also diagnosed with a possible brain injury. I had been given a second chance but I didn’t know how to live without drugs.

Learning to Live Again – Rebecca’s Story

I was stuck in a horrible cycle of addiction that was destroying me. My dependence on ice was so great that I would steal, lie, cheat and manipulate anyone and everyone to feed my appetite for that elusive high. I continued to bounce from one bad relationship to the next, always with fellow addicts. Too many times I found myself in the local E.R, the victim of domestic violence that was often fueled by drug induced psychosis. I’ve been sexually abused, robbed, and had guns held to my head, all because of ice.

I am still not sure what the trigger was for me to seek help other than realizing that I couldn’t live with the pain anymore.

I ran away from the apartment where I was staying with my boyfriend and cried out from the very depths of my heart to the stranger in the night sky who I hoped was listening to me.  I begged him to save me!

The next day I returned home to my parents and asked for their help. They looked for a good rehabilitation center but all of the ones in our state had waiting lists. We were referred to Teen Challenge Grace Academy, Western Australia. I packed my bag, said goodbye to my family and placed myself in the hands of an amazing rehabilitation and life transformation center with the highest success rate in Australia.

The moment I walked through the gates of Teen Challenge I knew I was free. Over the next 15 months my mentor walked alongside me as I stripped back my old life and learned what it meant to really live again. I was given tools to help me navigate the demands and routines of everyday life. I was taught about self-respect, forgiveness, honesty and importantly, how to have fun. A spark was ignited inside of me and I began to heal.

Learning to Live Again – Rebecca’s Story

Going through rehabilitation was the hardest thing I ever have done. But I am now free because I admitted I was an addict, I asked for help, I chose to receive that help and I allowed the grace of God to heal me.

I am living proof that there is always hope!

I retuned home to my family on 11 June 2015. The life I have now is unrecognizable from the one I was formerly living. I am currently studying to complete a dual diploma of Community Service and Counseling. I regularly attend church and Bible study and have surrounded myself with positive and supportive people. I have also had the opportunity to speak at community drug awareness forums, school camps and other community groups and have been invited to join the board of the Latrobe Regional Health Department – Drug and Alcohol. This year I was received the Young Australian of the Year Award – 2016, for my region. Everyday I thank God for my life and the miracle that he has done.

Learning to Live Again – Rebecca’s Story

On 28-29 October 2016, Rebecca will be riding 200kms as part of the Sydney to Hunter Cycling Classic  This event is raising funds to finalise the building of Teen Challenge NSW’s, Women’s Rehabilitation Centre in the greater west of Sydney called ONE80TC.

If you would like to support Rebecca then click here.

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