Anna* doesn’t look anything like the photos you see on the Internet when you google “ice addict”.
Blonde, well-dressed, articulate with smooth skin, she grew up in a nice middle-class Griffith family.
“People have a perception of what an addict looks like… in reality, many ordinary people you see in the street are facing addiction,” she said.
Narcotics Anonymous (NA) describes itself as a “nonprofit fellowship or society of men and women for whom drugs had become a major problem".
An NA group has just started in Griffith. It holds weekly meetings at Griffith Community Centre (formerly Neighbourhood House) on Wednesdays from 7pm to 8pm.
“Everyone is welcome and there’s no pressure. You can share whatever is on your mind,” Anna said.
Anna, who has been to NA meeting in other cities, said it was a great chance for addicts to learn from those who have already recovered.
“It’s a supportive environment where people have coffee and biscuits and take turns sharing their experience.”
Anna’s personal experience of drug use wasn’t sparked by abuse, poverty or disadvantage.
She first tried ice (methamphetamine) – a stimulant drug – when she moved to a big city and got into the party scene.
“You get this feeling of euphoria when you first try it. Your body gets used it, and you keep needing more to re-create that first experience.”
It was a rapid downward slide for Anna, who got mixed up with the wrong crowd, fell into debt, lost her job, and pushed her family and friends away.
The turning point for Anna came last year, when she was tested for drugs while driving faced the loss of her licence.
“I would lose my purpose for living without that mobility.”
With the help of family and counselling, Anna has been clean since February and is re-establishing her career.
“I hope others can learn from my experience.”
*Not her real name