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'My daughter's entire personality changed. One Sunday at lunch, she told me about the ice.'

Shortly after the break up of her marriage, I noticed my daughter Sarah was experiencing frequent and significant changes in mood. While I felt this to be, in part, expected, I was very concerned because her entire personality seemed to be changing.

She was commonly bad-tempered and would shout or argue with me in a very angry manner, displaying behaviour she’d never used towards me in her life. If not angry, she would frequently be crying inconsolably.

Watch: Addicted Australia: Sarah and June's story. Post continues below.


Video via SBS

When I queried these mood swings with her and asked her how she was coping, she dismissed my questions repeatedly. 

I thought I could possibly be over-reacting. Nevertheless, the anger did not desist, and I resolved to ask Sarah what, if anything, I had done to constantly be the object of her irritation.

So many times, I’d leave her house after dinner and cry all the way home as I relived the evening, trying to identify what I had said or done to upset her so much.

One Sunday we decided to have lunch at a nearby café and this was the day my beautiful, loving, but very unhappy daughter, told me her story.

She had lived a very miserable life for years.

This included, but was not limited to, a husband who travelled frequently for work, her inability to become pregnant after seven attempts at IVF, frequent drug use and severe paranoia as a result. Sarah had found solace in using drugs – ice.

I was absolutely devastated, but I had reason to know she was telling the truth.

While I listened to her explanation, I made no judgements, but assured her I would support her through the healing process in whatever way I could.

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To my knowledge, I had never previously known anyone who’d been exposed to drug addiction and I shortly realised I had a great deal to learn, to enable me to support her appropriately.

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I had no idea how difficult the next few years would be, for both of us, but my determination to love and support her has never wavered for a second.

We decided to move in together, so I could always be at hand.

I read as much as I could handle, but eventually accepted that I learnt more by actually dealing with the experience. 

Though I will never get used to watching her suffer so painfully when she is attempting to detox at home. 

June and Sarah will appear on SBS's Addicted Australia. Image: SBS

Turning Point was highly recommended to Sarah as experts in treating addiction and on her first visit with her treating physician, she realised she had found somebody who genuinely cared and who adapted treatment to Sarah’s individual needs. 

So, when Sarah was offered the chance to participate in a holistic six-month treatment program with Turning Point, which would be filmed as part of the SBS documentary series Addicted Australia, she jumped at the opportunity.

The treatment program has given her confidence. Even though she has always been an attractive, articulate and intelligent young woman, Sarah has always lacked self-confidence.

Now, she’s approaching the end of her first year at college, where she has been studying to gain a Diploma in Community Services and has achieved very good results in all subjects.

She works very hard and is very regimented when organising the time she requires for assignments.

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From a personal perspective, I thoroughly enjoyed the family meetings offered through the treatment program.

I found it very helpful to meet and chat with families who had a good understanding of the difficult challenges parents of children with any addiction can experience.

Addiction can be very isolating. 

To be given the opportunity to liaise with parents in similar circumstances is extremely beneficial. It made me realise how lonely supporting someone with an addiction can be. But it also made me realise I was not alone. Addiction is so common and there’s no straight line to recovery.

Sarah will share her story of ice addiction on SBS's Addicted Australia. Image: Supplied. Even though Sarah still has a road to travel, I can see how much happier she is with her life and I am so very proud of how hard she has worked to get this far. 

I am confident she will succeed with her hopes and dreams and for as long as I can, I will always continue to support her, no matter what that involves.

See more of June and Sarah's story on Addicted Australia at 8.30pm, Tuesday, November 10 on SBS. 

For crisis support: Lifeline 13 11 14 or lifeline.org.au

For alcohol and drug support: 1800 250 015 or counsellingonline.org.au

For gambling support: 1800 858 858 or gamblinghelponline.org.au

Feature Image: Supplied/SBS. 

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