I wish I came to a, a place like this 10 years ago with my daughter. Maybe things might have been different.
I'm Gemma. I'm an addict.
I had a good, a good childhood. I spent a lot of time by myself, I spent a lot of my time playing in the bush, a lot of my time in my head.
My parents broke up when I was 15 and by December that, that year I had…ah..was trying meth for the first time. I plunged into a deep isolation and a massive hatred for the world and for everyone and everything. It was all revolved around drugs. I just could never stop using.
I've kind of heard of Higher Ground, but I'd never really, I’d always brush it off because I was like, I don't need rehab. It was hard. Um…it's the first time I've ever been in recovery. It was the first time in years that I had showered every day, brushed my teeth every day, actually lied down in a bed every day. That structured routine is what I jumped on and that's what helped me through those first couple of weeks.
It was the first time in years that I had showered every day, brushed my teeth every day, actually lied down in a bed every day. That structured routine is what I jumped on and that's what helped me through those first couple of weeks.
In my fourth week here, I got given something called a ‘Feelings Wheel’. It was really hard for me because I couldn't even say if I was happy or sad, I, when I came in, I was numb and so I had to keep on looking at this ‘Feeling Wheel’ and that's how I started to say my feelings and that was the first part of my therapeutic work.
So another um, thing I was battling with when I came through those doors was that I'm actually having a baby. So much different when you parent, when you're clean. And that's what I want to because all my kids have ever known, especially my ten year old daughter, is only, and she has only known her mum as an addict.
TWT it’s called, it's Te Whare Taonga. It's the mums and bubs unit of Higher Ground. It's a programme where you work on substance abuse and your emotional and mental state and also your parenting. My little son, he loves coming up here and watching all the cultural, like we do like kapahaka and yeah, he's a very happy little boy. So it's really shown to me what a different environment can actually do to, to your kids.
I wish I came to a, a place like this 10 years ago with my daughter.
Maybe things might have been different. You can just take one small change and all it took for me was to just walk through those doors. The amount you learn for yourself, for your child is all worth it. And if you get an opportunity to, to go to TWT, I wouldn't let it pass you by - because it's changed my life forever.
I have feelings now. I can feel, I've got my family back. I've got my family's respect back.
I'm looking forward to being able to live life on life's terms, not living life on drugs terms. I'm looking forward to…yeah…just, just actually living.