I was born into a dysfunctional and broken family. My childhood was plagued with sexual abuse, violence, drugs, rape and the foster care system. Up until I was 10, I was a high achiever in school, helpful parent pleaser at home and had so many amazing dreams.
Just shy of my 11th birthday I was smoking cigarettes, wagging school, binge drinking, self-harming, sleeping around and had an eating disorder. During my teens I moved around foster homes and experienced homelessness.
I found a little place of my own and met the man of my dreams. We got engaged and I fell pregnant. We were excited to start our little family, but when I was 7 months pregnant everything I dreamed of was ripped away. The man that that I love passed away 24 hours after being diagnosed with Advanced Bowel Cancer.
Just before our son arrived, instead of planning our wedding I was planning a funeral. The months that followed were a blur, I gave birth and was still dealing with my sudden loss. The doctor prescribed me Duromine (like prescription speed) to deal with everything at the time which was the start of an uncontrollable drug addiction from age 18.
I moved to Sydney and started a new relationship as a distraction but was then introduced to the sex industry by that same man. This started a cycle of domestic abuse, further drug addiction, fraud, crime, guilt and self-hate.
I tried to leave the industry many times, but it’s not that simple.
One day I realised I needed to change, but I didn’t know how. I walked out leaving my son with a friend and planning on walking in front of a train. Thankfully my boss found me on the side of the road, and from there began the process of getting into rehabilitation.
Teen Challenge QLD was the only rehabilitation centre in Australia to accept me, as I am a New Zealand citizen. A group of ladies I had never met sponsored me to be in the program and I was dumfounded as to why they wanted to support a drug addict like me.
During my time at Teen Challenge I learned how to live in a normal way. All the skills I was never taught as a child or young adult, I developed them when I had to figure it out for myself but Teen Challenge took me back to learning the foundations of living a healthy life.
The program wasn’t easy, it came with lots of tears, anger and tantrums at times, but I was finally becoming free.
Today I have a stable job, I live in beautiful home where I love looking after my 10 year old son. I am free from addiction, free from destruction and free from fear.
*Name and image changed to protect privacy