Life af­ter ad­dic­tion

For­mer ad­dict spreads mes­sage of hope to oth­ers

South Western Times - - Faces & Places - Emily Ace

It was hard. I never thought I would get through the 10 days but I man­aged to get through.

– Ricki-Lee Orr

LESS than a year ago, Ricki-Lee Orr thought she would “live and die by drugs”.

Hav­ing lost the cus­tody of her two chil­dren, her home, her car and end­ing up hos­pi­talised on a num­ber of oc­ca­sions, Ricki-Lee made the life-chang­ing de­ci­sion to ac­cept help.

“Life is good – I am healthy, I am eat­ing, I am sleep­ing, I didn’t re­ally know any other life­style from five years ago when I got onto drugs, this last five years has been may­hem and I didn’t think I could get off it – I was liv­ing and breath­ing it.

“It was my best friend. I am learn­ing to be my own best friend at the mo­ment and take it day by day.”

Har­ness­ing a full mea­sure of de­ter­mi­na­tion and re­silience, Ricki-Lee broke the vice-like grip am­phet­a­mines had on her life and was brave enough to speak to the South West­ern Times a mere three days af­ter be­com­ing one of the first grad­u­ates from Palmer­ston in Brunswick Junc­tion – the first drug re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion fa­cil­ity in the South West.

Ricki-Lee’s ad­dic­tion be­gan five years ago when she used drugs as a cop­ing mech­a­nism af­ter deaths in the fam­ily, de­pres­sion and the stress of par­ent­hood.

“Not hav­ing sup­port around I turned to the drugs and it helped me for a lit­tle while to get through the day. I was self-med­i­cat­ing and I thought I was fine.

“But lit­tle did I know I had put a wall up and things were pil­ing up on the other side of that wall.”

Her fa­ther had en­cour­aged her to get the help she needed, but it took an­other hos­pi­tal ad­mis­sion af­ter a failed stint in re­hab to change her mind.

“Usu­ally I would leave hos­pi­tal and get on it, but this time round I went to detox and thank God they put up with me there be­cause I was ter­ri­ble,” she laughed.

“It was hard. I never thought I would get through the 10 days but I man­aged to get through.

“But know­ing all the things I would get out of it, the gifts of re­cov­ery were re­ally re­ward­ing.”

Af­ter the detox, she trav­elled to Bun­bury to com­plete her re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion at Palmer­ston on Jan­u­ary 31, where she knew she had the sup­port of her mother to help her through the tough six months ahead.

“It was re­ally hard but worth it. It’s a small time pe­riod of my life I in­vested in and it is go­ing to make a big dif­fer­ence to the rest of my life,” she said.

“I’d rec­om­mend it to ev­ery­one who needs help. You can’t tell some­body to go get help, you need to know your­self that you want to go get help.”

And the dif­fer­ence is al­ready tan­gi­ble, with Ricki-Lee re­gain­ing cus­tody of her daugh­ter, Pearl.

Ricki-Lee is now work­ing on re­gain­ing cus­tody of her son, has se­cured a po­si­tion work­ing at SWAMS and is work­ing on find­ing sta­ble ac­com­mo­da­tion.

“Maybe one per­son may hear my story and have hope.”

Pic­ture: Jon Gell­weiler

Re­cov­er­ing am­phet­a­mines ad­dict Ricki-Lee Orr hopes she might give hope toothers by shar­ing her story.

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