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Experiences with Speed, Ice & Other Stimulants

Preferred Name: Tiffany

Gender: Female

Age: 33

Background:

Tiffany works in administration but was in residential treatment at the time of the interview. She’s single and lives with her three children and her parents. She describes her ethnic background as ‘Filipina’: she was born in the Philippines, as were her parents.

Brief Outline:

Tiffany started taking ice in her early twenties to lose weight. After a while her consumption increased to every other day. At the time she was working full-time and caring for her children. She was experiencing domestic violence and having trouble coping so she left her partner and resigned from her job. She then began taking ice daily and selling it to support her consumption. After a while she was arrested for drug dealing and given a custodial sentence. In prison she stopped taking ice but resumed several months after her release and was again given a custodial sentence. At the time of the interview Tiffany was undertaking court-ordered residential rehabilitation treatment and was no longer taking ice.

Tiffany's Story:

Tiffany works in administration but was in residential rehabilitation treatment at the time of the interview. Most important to her are her three children and living by her values: respect, loyalty and acceptance. She’s very creative and in her free time she crochets, does origami, draws and paints.

When she was in her early twenties Tiffany had two children with her partner at the time. She was working full time in her ‘dream career’ in administration while also caring for her children. It was around this time that she discovered her partner and her brother were taking ice. A few years later she decided to try it with a friend, hoping it would help her lose the weight she’d gained during her pregnancies. She says that taking ice made her feel ‘energetic’ and she soon began taking it every second day to help with her work and caregiving responsibilities.

During this time Tiffany was experiencing domestic violence from her partner. He was charged with assault and given a custodial sentence, and he and Tiffany broke up. When he was released from prison they got back together and the violence started again. In her late twenties Tiffany says she was having difficulty coping and became depressed. She had trouble concentrating at work and felt guilty and paranoid that her workmates would find out about her ice consumption. Around this time her partner began to interfere with her work and she decided to resign from her job. Soon after this she ended the relationship and began taking ice daily. When her brother, who had supplied her with ice, was later given a custodial sentence Tiffany began selling the drug to support her own consumption. She started seeing a new partner who also took ice and they took it together.

After a short time Tiffany was arrested for drug dealing and given a year’s custodial sentence. While in prison she discovered she was pregnant and stopped taking ice. When she told her partner about the pregnancy, he left her. After the birth the baby was placed in the care of her parents, along with her other two children. When Tiffany was later released she went to live with her parents and took on the caregiving of her children, which she says helped her to stay busy and avoid taking ice. About six months later after an argument with her mother, she resumed taking ice and was again returned to prison for being in breach of her parole. After a few months in prison she accepted an offer of court-ordered residential rehabilitation treatment as an alternative to serving the remainder of her custodial sentence.

At the time of the interview Tiffany was in rehab which she describes as a ‘loving and caring environment’ where she feels supported. She finds it helpful to share her experiences with others and learn new life skills. When she finishes the rehabilitation program she plans to return home and build a new relationship with her children. She has no plans to resume taking ice.

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Tiffany (F, 33, works in hospitality, ice) says she realised she had an addiction when she was given a custodial sentence for a drug-related offence. (Played by an actor)

I was really in denial and, you know, I never thought, ‘I’m an addict’ […] And then it got to the point when I hit rock bottom, when I […] ended up in jail. That’s when I surrendered and I said, ‘Oh my God, I’m really an addict. I’ve supplied, I’m in jail, I’ve committed a crime by supply’. I was in jail for one year, that really made me think about my life and, you know, how this is a really big thing that’s affected my life. And yeah, I had been in custody as well [before that…] I couldn’t believe it really. That’s where [ice] took me.

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After serving a custodial sentence for a drug offence, Tiffany breached her parole conditions and went into residential treatment as part of a diversion program. At the time of the interview, she was in treatment. (Played by an actor)

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[When I was on parole] I relapsed […and] straight away I had a warrant for my arrest […] So that’s why I had to be careful, because of parole […I mean, like four or five times, I tested negative for drugs, but then I tested positive] so my parole got revoked straight away. I had a warrant for my arrest and […then] I was back in jail. You know, I was devastated, I was really devastated […] fearing that I’d be in for another year and a half […But then the parole board] ordered a residential rehab […and I] thought the idea was better for me. I know I needed rehab in many ways. Like, I know it’ll be [better] for me than spending my time in jail. Yeah, it’s the best option.

Tiffany was unable to begin AOD treatment for ten months while on remand. (Played by an actor)

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I couldn’t do anything [for, like, 10 months, while I was on remand] I couldn’t get myself into a program because I was still unsentenced, so it was really hard […] It is an issue, you know, because we don’t have any options. Like [women] are sitting on remand for two years even, and they can’t get into a program because they’re not sentenced. And, yeah, I don’t understand that.

It’s a real inconvenience […] because when you’re trying to address something and you’re going before the judge, and then the judge asks you, ‘Have you sought treatment?’ And you know, it’s like, ‘No I haven’t admitted myself to a program because I’m still on remand’, but you want to say something like, ‘Oh yes, I’ve been going to see a drug and alcohol [counsellor]’.

Tiffany says the therapeutic community she’s part of is a ‘caring environment’ where she feels supported. (Played by an actor)

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This is, like, the most loving and caring environment where […] we support each other […I mean] it’s amazing [what] the therapeutic community is like. At first, I was like, ‘Oh my God, this is a cult’ but then […] I found a sense of belonging […and] you know, a new whole set of friends.

Tiffany says that taking part in 12-step meetings gives her a ‘sense of belonging’ and helps her to address ‘behaviours that […] need to change’. (Played by an actor)

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[So, like, by] attending meetings I found a sense of belonging […] Like, you know, I share at meetings and say, ‘I’m grateful that I […] can share my [experiences with others who’ve got similar experiences …] I’m grateful that […] I’m attending [these meetings]. And that keeps me clean and I know it helps me’. [And I value] the fellowship as well. That’s all I needed, you know, a new whole set of friends from the fellowship […] and a sponsor. I got myself a sponsor as well. Not only does it help you address your addiction […] but also your behaviours […] that you need to change.

According to Tiffany, a challenge of therapeutic communities is getting on with different people. She also says that some of the rules don’t apply to everyday life. (Played by an actor)

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The challenging part is, like [tolerating] other personalities in here, and, like, watching what you say, you know [And…] like, if you’re struggling yourself, how can you support [others?] Especially with me being a senior [in the community] I really have to keep it together [And I also have] extra responsibilities, like time management and things like that

[…]

And it’s also really strict, like, a lot of rules. It’s really, really strict, you know. [There’s] no eating in the lounge. It’s like, I’m not going to apply that in my life: no eating in the lounge, you know […] I used to go, ‘How does that apply in your recovery?’ […] It’s just funny.