Real Life

‘I love my kids but I can’t stop taking ice’

One mother's story of how her ice addiction has cost her so much.
woman's sillhouette

I’ve struggled with drugs for a long time but being a mum means the world to me.

I have two sons, who I love more than anything. My eldest starts school next year and my little one is just a baby. I try to make them my priority but it’s hard when my partner, now my ex- partner, was so caught up in drugs. I just kept getting dragged back into the mess and the darkness.

He would use ice for days on end and he became increasingly violent. He repeatedly lashed out and hurt me, but I don’t really think it was him, it was the drugs.

It was ice.

I don’t think he meant to be so angry but he couldn’t help it. He just couldn’t control his fury. I really believed if I stayed I could help him change, or that he would want to be a better man for my two sons, but he always chose drugs over us. I suppose sometimes I did too.

I finally left him when I realised that he wasn’t going to change. I knew it was an unhealthy situation for my kids to grow up in because I was just repeating the pattern of my childhood, of my mother’s childhood.

I rarely actually saw violence in my home growing up but I grew up seeing my grandmother’s bruises. My grandfather was an alcoholic the whole time I knew him, and he would get ugly behind closed doors. My grandmother never really talked about it, she just got on with it.

In turn, my mother had abusive relationships that I witnessed growing up and it just seemed to me that it was the way it was. It was all I knew. Men were cheaters and beaters, my grandmother used to warn me.

I have not really had a great experience in relationships. Some of my earlier ones were okay, but they got progressively worse with them being based on anger and frustration, and drugs.

It’s not easy to leave a violent relationship. It’s complicated, my life is complicated, my choices are complicated. I’m surviving on a single mother’s pension and paying the rent and buying food on my own is hard, and when things get hard I find it even harder to stay clean. I keep relapsing and falling back into old patterns. The drugs are like an old friend but I know that friend is my enemy.

I never sought legal help because my life is difficult enough. I’m hoping that maybe in a few years my son’s father and I will sort ourselves out and we can be happy again. It may take five years, who knows?

The Department of Human Services suggested I talk to TaskForce Community Services and get some support as part of my program and I find talking to them is a relief. They refer women to other services such as Child First who come to your home and help you to be a better parent.

TaskForce also encourages you to get a mental health plan in place through and appropriate medical check ups. My case-worker, Fiona Mulligan, runs the Breaking the Barriers program for mothers with substance abuse problems. She travels all over Melbourne seeing women with children that need help support.

Having someone to talk to and advise me without judging me has been one of the things that has helped me survive. I know I’m not alone and that Fiona really cares about me and my kids.

My ex keeps trying to get back into my life. He texts me saying he’s lonely and needs cuddles, but I’m trying to move on with my life. He doesn’t help with the boys, or pay me any money. We barely see him for weeks and then he wants cuddles?

I know letting him back into my life right now would be bad. After an incident last week I lost my boys. My babies were taken away because although I always try to put their needs first, and make sure they are okay, the authorities don’t think I can look after them right now.

They have been sent to live with my family and until I get myself together that is my current reality. I want more than anything to sort my life out. I want to watch my son walk into school next year and I want him to come home to me at the end of the day, and I’m prepared to work really hard to make that my new reality.

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