Choosing freedom

The Australian Young Citizen of the Year freed herself from years of ICE addiction when she chose to get help

Rebecca Slavin
Rebecca Slavin

Rebecca Slavin is lying on the floor, the hands of her boyfriend tightening around her throat in a drug-induced rage. He smashes her head against the tiles until she loses consciousness.

The next morning when she awakes, he looks at her, worried and confused.

"What happened?" he asks, having completely forgotten the previous night's events. "How did you get black eyes?"

Rebecca stares at him and it dawns on her, not for the first time, how dark the drug ICE is.

Alcohol and drugs had become Rebecca's way of escape.

Escape from the pain of sexual and physically abusive relationships, and from a feeling of rejection and worthlessness that nothing seemed to quell.

She first tried ICE at a party when she was 17 years old.

She was drunk, in a room surrounded by at least five older guys, and had no true idea what this drug was, let alone what effects it would have on her life.

"I still remember that moment," she says. "I remember the high. I felt amazing. I thought nothing in this world could stop me.

"Thinking back to that moment now, I see a young girl in a dark room about to make the biggest mistake of her life."

From then, she describes incident after incident of how the drug ruined and entrapped her.

She describes a long weekend with her boyfriend using ICE – the drug psychosis he experienced and the physical and emotional abuse she endured as he held her prisoner at his home for two days.

She describes dozing off in the car with her dealer on the night of her granddad's funeral and waking up to a smashed windscreen, smoke coming from the car's engine, and blood everywhere.

She describes the pain that rushed through her body.

"An inch over," she says (the car had smashed head on with a tree), "and I would not be standing before you today."

She describes how she became addicted to the point where ICE was all she did, "every day, every single minute."

"Day in, day out, I longed for that same high I'd first experienced when I was 17 years old. And sure, it was fun to begin with. But the fun wears off. And I was completely trapped and lost."

She describes how she overdosed one night when she was out clubbing. How her chest was badly bruised from being resuscitated because her heart had stopped and for a moment she had been dead. Within 24 hours she was back on her drug.

She describes how she would steal, cheat, lie and manipulate anyone to get ICE.

"ICE controlled my life. ICE possessed me."

She describes how the sparkle in her eyes faded, how her skin turned grey and her body became frail, and how she couldn't seem to recognize the figure in the mirror staring back at her.

"I've been sexually abused. I've been robbed. I've had guns held to my head. I've been kidnapped. All because of ICE.

"Life as an addict is beyond any nightmare you could ever have," she says. "It's like being in hell.

"I knew I didn't belong in this hole that only seemed to get deeper and darker, but I didn't know how to get out.

"I had no idea who I was. And I missed my family so much."

Rebecca Slavin
Rebecca Slavin

The hole got so deep and so dark Rebecca decided she'd had enough. She was going to fight.

She went home. "That was my first step towards freedom," she says.

"At 21 I entered Teen Challenge, a rehabilitation and support center. There I found my hope in Jesus Christ and He set me free from my life of addiction and violence."

She was lost, but now she is found, she says.

"It was the hardest thing I have ever done. But now I am free, because I admitted I was a drug addict and needed help, I chose to receive that help, and I didn't give up.

"There is no turning back for me. I see it as a pure miracle that I am alive today, and I do thank God for my life."

Rebecca has just started a dual diploma in Community Services and Counseling and was awarded the Young Citizen of the Year for her area.

She inspires others by sharing her story, guides addicts towards recovery, and assists local police with domestic violence cases.

"Living a life free of drugs is worth the fight," Rebecca says.

"I continue to walk each day now as a free woman, a new creation. I am living proof that there is hope and that there is freedom from addiction."

She hasn't had a touch of ICE in years, and says there is no chance she ever will again.

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