BREAKING THE ICE:
For many, it can be difficult to tell when a loved one is struggling with a drug problem.
Mooroopna’s Linley Walker was no different and, at first, did not realise that someone in her family was addicted to ice.
Mrs Walker cannot identify the person in her family who was affected by ice because they are currently recovering but she admitted her knowledge of the drug was very limited until someone she knew became hooked on it.
‘‘It was a shock at first because it was something we had little knowledge or understanding of and we didn’t know where to go for help,’’ she said.
‘‘We came across all of the associated aspects of (drug use) including the criminal justice system and that was something really new to us and it was really quite a struggle.’’
Mrs Walker said many people did not realise what ice could do to someone who was hooked on it.
‘‘Some people imagine that somebody on ice is on a high and having a great time but that’s not the reality because we saw nothing like that,’’ she said.
‘‘It’s very difficult for family members to watch someone they love go through something like that... this person in our family lost everything and was just not able to function and it was very painful to watch.
‘‘I’m not much of a crier but I did cry a lot through that period.’’
Mrs Walker said her loved one’s addiction caused her to imagine an array of worst-case scenarios, including death, which felt like a very real possibility.
‘‘You don’t know whether there will be an end to it, whether that person is going to come through it,’’ she said.
‘‘Fortunately I can smile now because they’re recovering.’’
Recovering from ice can take up to two years, so the road is by no means short.
Aside from the time taken to recover from the drug, there is also the physical and psychological impact it can have on a person.
Despite this, Mrs Walker is optimistic things will work out.
‘‘I think it will be okay but you just don’t know, nobody knows what’s ahead, do they?’’
One of the key things Mrs Walker learned from this experience was the importance of providing someone with a supportive environment so they could gain help and recover.
Mrs Walker read about ice addiction and completed courses and learned the importance of not giving up on someone with an addiction.
‘‘The door was open but it took a while for us to realise that we couldn’t fix the problem, the person themselves has to do that,’’ she said.
‘‘I know of families who have closed the door and that’s not helpful.’’
Mrs Walker has since joined the Local Organisation of Ice Support (LOIS) Group where she has met a range of different people, each with their own different experiences concerning ice.
She said a lot of people were alone and isolated and may be too scared to talk about ice but the aim of the group was to let people know it was okay to ask for help.
‘‘We want people to understand it’s another addiction and people shouldn’t be judged that it’s worse to be addicted to ice than it is to addicted to alcohol or tobacco,’’ she said.
‘‘It affects families right across the board.’’