Preferred Name: Eva
Eva works part time in the entertainment industry. She’s in a relationship, and lives with her partner and their housemates in a share house. She describes her ethnic background as ‘Australian-born Jamaican’: she was born in Australia, as was one of her parents. The other was born in Jamaica.
Eva first tried ice when she was a teenager with some friends, thinking it was speed. After that experience, she began taking ice recreationally and gradually her consumption increased until she was taking it every day and felt she had developed an ‘addiction’ to it. On a couple of occasions, she decided she no longer wanted to take ice and tried to stop by detoxing at home. About a year before the interview Eva sought drug treatment at a residential rehabilitation facility. She no longer takes ice but smokes cannabis and drinks socially.
On a number of occasions Eva decided she no longer wanted to take ice and tried to stop by detoxing at home. Each time, she stopped for about a month before resuming. The last time she tried to stop, she was ‘going through withdrawals’ and says she ‘just lost it’ and took an overdose of Valium® (diazepam, a benzodiazepine). She was hospitalised and on her admission, recalls ‘begging [the staff] to send her to rehab’ but she was released after being treated for an overdose.
The night Eva was released from hospital, she went straight to work where she heard that cheap crack cocaine was available interstate. She decided to leave that night to purchase the drugs. On her arrival interstate she realised she knew no one there and was ‘sick of […] smoking [ice] every day’. She decided to return to her home state and sought drug treatment at a residential rehabilitation facility. Eva was due to stay in rehab for six months but left after a month when she formed a relationship with one of the other clients, which was forbidden by the service’s rules.
She and her partner whom she’d met in rehab then moved in together. At the time Eva wasn’t taking any drugs and the relationship ended because her partner resumed taking drugs. She then moved out of the place she and her partner had been sharing, and went to live with her father in another town. A few months later, Eva’s sibling died and she moved to her home city. She now lives there with her current partner and plans to remain there for the foreseeable future.
Since going into rehab, Eva has stopped taking ice. She still smokes cannabis and drinks socially. She finds cannabis ‘calms’ her, aids sleep and is a ‘good coping mechanism’. But she thinks ‘it’s getting to the stage where […] it’s slowing [her] down a bit’ so she plans to stop smoking it. At the time of the interview Eva says she’s ‘at a crossroads’, deciding on her plans for the future. She’d like to get another part-time job and is considering studying.
Eva (F, 20, works in the entertainment industry, ice) assumes she’s been diagnosed with drug dependence but finds it hard to keep track of the diagnoses she’s received. (Note: strong language)
Yeah [I have been diagnosed as drug dependent…] I think I have. I assume I have. I’ve been into my GP […] a number of times asking for Valium (diazepam) so I could stop meth [ice], but they stopped giving me Valium for good reason. In rehab, yeah, I think I was drug dependent. I wasn’t mentally ill, I was just drug dependent […] I’ve been diagnosed with so much shit, hey. I can’t keep up with half the diagnoses they have given me.
Eva detoxed from ice at home but found it hard to cope with the withdrawal symptoms. Very distressed, she overdosed on Valium® and was admitted to hospital for emergency medical care. (Note: strong language)
I’ve quit a lot of drugs, like drug habits. And like crystal meth [ice] is the only one that I’ve had where every time you quit, it’s fucking harder to do. Like, yeah, it’s so much harder […] There’s something about it. It does something to your brain. Like, I don’t know what it is, but every time I quit it was harder. Like, the last time, I tried to kill myself because my brain was that out of whack. Like, that’s when I got taken to hospital and was begging them to send me to rehab, because I was trying to get off the drugs […] I was getting off the drugs, I was detoxing at home, like trying to go through withdrawals. And I just, like, lost it and took all my Valium (diazepam) and […] went to the hospital […] because I overdosed with Valium.
Eva left residential treatment before the six-month program ended because she found it like ‘boot camp’ with too many rules. (Note: strong language)
I’ve only been to one rehab so I can’t really generalise and say, ‘Every rehab is the same’. But the one I went to, they had some ridiculous rules. And it wasn’t rehab, it was like a boot camp almost. You had to get up and clean and […] if you talked to boys too much, they’d put you on like a boy ban, and shit like that […] We couldn’t say certain words. We couldn’t listen to certain radio stations. Like things like that […] Everyone’s recovery is different, you know. But they didn’t really seem to notice that so I left and I walked out.
The rules, the 12 steps [were not my thing]. Like, I can understand some of them. But I guess things like, ‘Find your higher power’, it’s just a bit old-school for me. It’s, like, beyond its time, you know. Like, I can see how it works with older generations though, definitely. But I think they need to make it, like, more appealing for young people.
Eva says recovery doesn’t just relate to drug consumption but also involves processing emotional issues, developing self-awareness and ‘rebuilding yourself’. (Note: strong language)
[Recovery involves] time, patience. I don’t know, commitment.
It’s not as simple as just quitting drugs, you have to get to the root of the problem […] You have to be prepared to deal with a lot of shit that you’ve never dealt with before when you quit drugs as well. It’s like totally rebuilding yourself. Like I don’t even know who I am any more, like I’ve got no idea. I’m learning how to be a person again. I don’t even know what I like, you know? I don’t really know what I dislike. I don’t have any hobbies. I don’t know what interests me […] I have to learn all these things about myself that I never knew before and I wish I could just have an epiphany and it’d all be there but it doesn’t happen like that, you know?
It’s a recovery [from] a lot of things. If you’re taking drugs […] something’s wrong. Like if you are taking hard drugs every single day, something’s wrong, you know? And you can’t keep fucking running away from it, you have to fix it.
According to Eva, stopping altogether requires self-motivation and persistence. (Note: strong language)
Quitting meth [ice] was a big one. I also got really in touch with my body because I suppose […] meth was like blocking out everything. Once I quit, I was really in touch with my body. I could feel everything. Like, it was hard to go out, like, the first few months out of rehab because I’d feel everything, you know. Like, I’d constantly […] think about things. [Like while I was having a drink, I’d think], ‘Fuck I’m going to feel this in the morning’. Like I couldn’t enjoy a drink without having the anxiety of […] that as well, which is probably a good thing but it was frustrating.
No one can help you quit meth, it’s something that you can only help yourself to do. I’m sorry […] Like, even if you tie someone down and detox them, they are still going to go out and they’re going to get fucking meth if they don’t want to stop, you know. So at the end of the day, it’s got to be up to you. And it’s fucking hard but you really need to want to stop.