One brave woman has come forward and shared her difficult 16-year battle with meth addiction.
Sarah, as she was identified by The Daily Mail Online, was a former private school girl from a regular middle class family who found herself hooked on drugs by the age of 13.
Sarah, 30, tells the Mail that as a result of a series of traumas in her youth – an incident of stalking and sexual abuse at age nine and school bullying – her world felt like it was collapsing around her and she turned to drugs to cope.
The Victorian native spoke of spending several months in her teen years living in filthy Melbourne squats strewn with needles and using ice, GHB and pharmaceuticals daily with rehab and psychiatric hospital stints becoming a regular occurrence.
“My life was full of chaos, pain, shame, abuse, crime, sex, lies and hospitals. I was involved in toxic and violent relationships. Yes I was alive, but I wasn't living,” Sarah told Daily Mail Australia.
In a journal recounting her arduous journey to recovery Sarah gave a breakdown of the kind of life she was living at various ages.
“By the age of 13 I was drinking vodka regularly and chroming fly spray daily to try to numb my emotional pain. I just wanted to escape,” says Sarah.
“By 14, I was addicted to speed and ice. But I used anything and everything to escape reality.”
Sarah adds: “If my head could have spun 360 degrees like the exorcist it would have.”
The once troubled teen talked about how she managed to get clean at aged 17 and return to school for years 11 and 12 but because she was around other addicts her sobriety was quickly compromised.
“I tried many home detoxes. I tried going cold turkey. I engaged in many different religions and practices such as Buddhism, Energy Healing, Reiki and New Age beliefs,” Sarah said.
“I wrote my funeral plans and suicide notes ... but my suicide attempts failed. I was running out of options fast.”
While Sarah says that she had relapsed and overdosed too many times to keep count she recalls herself in December 2013 weighing just a tiny 41 kilos and pondering her fate.
“My body was yellow and I had bruises all over my arms and legs. I was so weak, I could barely stand and hold my own body weight.
“Of all the moments in my 16 years of being hooked to ice, I knew this was it. I knew I was about to die a junkie.”
But that same day Sarah was admitted to hospital and began what she calls a “miracle” journey to healing.
Not only did Sarah find herself under the expert care of drug addiction specialists but she began a spiritual journey that she believes saved her.
“If it wasn't for my faith in my higher power, I know I would be dead by now,” says Sarah.
“I don't blame "ice" or "GHB" for my past. I have a history of addiction, and in my experience addiction is a disease of relationships ... Recently I have learned that ice and GHB were just symptoms of addiction.
“I became addicted to food and gained 35kg. I also became a compulsive shopper. Learning what was beneath the urge to fill the void in my heart has been a huge lesson for me.”
Sarah, now a healthy and glowing woman, has decided to use some of her negative life experiences to help others who are still battling addictions.
“I dedicate many hours per day into my Facebook page Transform My Lifestyle, where I have a strong following of other recovering addicts, families of addicts, and people struggling with addiction,” Sarah said.
“I was literally loved back to life and I now want to love others back to life.”
Apart from her candid 'lifestyle blog' Sarah also volunteers in Thailand and Indonesia, helping teach English to children.
“I am a firm believer in giving back, especially after living such a selfish life in active addiction. For me helping and supporting others is so important in my recovery.”
While Sarah’s story can be seen as a shining beacon of hope for the many thousands of Australian’s battling addiction, the future of many ice users remains bleak.
Highly addictive synthetic drugs – like ice – are still flooding Australian towns at a rampant rate.
Last year Prime Minister Tony Abbott called the deadly scourge of crystal methamphetamine a national “epidemic” appointed a task force aimed at combating it.
That task force – headed by former Victorian Police Commissioner Ken Lay – has not yet managed to curb the noxious tide but Sarah, who now lives in Brisbane, says she has hope for the work that is being done by authorities.
“I personally have full faith that Mr Ken Lay and his National Ice Taskforce are doing their very best to hear firsthand from ice addicts the effects ice has had on their lives and the many communities within Australia.”