Meth ad­dict’s hope mes­sage

The Bay Chronicle - - FRONT PAGE - JENNY LING

A feral meth ad­dic­tion, psy­chotic episodes, guns, gangs and a short stint in prison were once part of ev­ery­day life for Janet Bal­combe.

Bal­combe tells her story in the re­cently pub­lished mem­oir

a new and up­dated edi­tion of her pre­vi­ous book


Ain 2014.

‘‘I want to bring hope to peo­ple who are suf­fer­ing with ad­dic­tion or bro­ken­ness or hope­less­ness or those stuck in a toxic re­la­tion­ship...for peo­ple stuck in any kind of per­sonal hell.

‘‘The key to re­cov­ery is come out of your life for a time, come away from old friends and places that trig­ger you. Whether it’s re­hab or a friend or fam­ily, make a clean break for as many years as it takes.’’

Bal­combe, who grew up in Ruawai, says she fell in with the wrong crowd in Auck­land.

An al­co­holic at 19, she added pre­scrip­tion med­i­ca­tion to the mix fol­low­ing the death of her brother.

Then she hooked up with a drug dealer and metham­phetamine cook for two Auck­land gangs.

‘‘We be­came com­plete out­laws liv­ing off drug money and be­ing ad­dicts.’’

Her ex­pe­ri­ences in­clude a ter­ri­fy­ing psy­chotic episode and three days in Mt Eden prison on charges of kid­nap­ping, guns and drugs.

She gave up meth when her part­ner said they couldn’t both af­ford to use it and booked her into a ho­tel for a week.

‘‘It wasn’t easy but I mus­cled through the first week and kept one foot in front of the other and got through the worst of it,’’ Bal­combe says.

But she went back to her boyfriend for an­other six years, be­com­ing in­creas­ingly frus­trated at life.

‘‘I felt ‘I’m sick and tired of be­ing a dope’, and real­is­ing I’m go­ing through life in a daze. I wanted some clar­ity.’’

Re­turn­ing to her par­ents house to re­cover, she re­alised how sick she was and also dis­cov­ered her faith in god.

Her orig­i­nal book was a fi­nal­ist in the 2015 Mind Body Spirit Lit­er­ary Awards.

Now aged 49, she lives ‘‘a re­stored life’’ with her hus­band and son.

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