Sarah was happily married, living in an expensive property and trying for a baby.
She was living what sounds like the Australian dream, but her life started to spiral as she kept a dark secret.
While she didn’t look like a stereotypical drug user, seven rounds of failed IVF treatment shattered her hopes for a family and her marriage, and plunged her into the depths of an ice addiction.
“After seven unsuccessful IVF treatments, I fell into a deep, dark depression,” Sarah told Yahoo News Australia.
“I used to pray to not wake up each morning.”
‘I felt like my depression went away’
Sarah, who is telling her story ahead of the premiere of SBS show Addicted Australia, said she had briefly tried crystal methamphetamine, or ice, 10 years prior to her addiction.
“I knew the effect it had,” she said.
“It gave me energy to complete daily tasks, it gave me confidence, it felt like my depression had gone away.
“I felt like I was wearing a coat of armour that protected me from the discomforts and challenges of life.”
While Sarah can’t pinpoint an exact time she became dependent on ice after splitting from her husband two years ago, she said for the first year it did not feel like an addiction.
She was functioning well, felt great, could afford it and had lost weight put on during IVF.
However it was a dark secret she was hiding from her friends and family.
“No one really knew I was using. It was as though I’d found a magic medication or missing piece that my life needed,” she said.
“I was choosing to use the drug at that point as a coping mechanism and it was working. It improved my quality of life for some time. But it was all just a facade really.”
Sarah said she hid her drug use from everybody in the beginning over fears what people would think.
“There is so much stigma attached to crystal meth use that I wanted to keep it hidden for as long as possible,” she said.
“I don’t think I’m alone in thinking like that either.”
Sarah told the SBS program that drugs saved her, with her depression so bad she even attempted to take her own life.
‘I’ve learned to love myself’
Sarah has since commenced the Turning Point treatment program to assist her in her pathway to recovery.
As she faces the challenges of defeating her addiction, she already feels her mental health has improved significantly, as well as her confidence and self worth.
“I’ve learned to love myself and not be so hard on myself,” she said.
“Due to a lot of hard work, therapy and the treatment program, my personal growth along the way has been huge.
“I now have a better understanding of who I am, I have purpose, I have more confidence and what people think of me doesn’t matter anymore.
“I know I’m essentially a good person with good intentions and that’s what matters. My drug use does not define me as a person and nor should it.”
Sarah is now completing a Diploma of Community Services to use her lived experience to help support, encourage and inspire other people suffering from addiction, especially women.
“I’d really like to make a positive difference in people’s lives,” she said.
Learn more about Sarah’s story on Addicted Australia, premiering on SBS and SBS On Demand on Tuesday November 10 at 8.30pm (AEDT).
Do you have a story tip? Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.