FOR decades Robyn Lewis struggled with addiction, but thanks to her inner strength she was able to turn her life around completely.
Miss Lewis, from West Wyalong, said her problems started when she was only young, growing up in a violent household with an alcoholic father.
She started experimenting with alcohol and cigarettes in her teen years and was introduced to marijuana when she was 15.
By 17 she was given amphetamines for the first time which she said she had an “instant love affair with”.
By the time she was 21 she was injecting on a daily basis and had a gambling problem, which saw her lose $1 million over four decades.
Miss Lewis will be coming to Leeton and Griffith this month to share her story in a bid to show others there is a way out.
“In 2009 my boyfriend at the time was murdered and that in turn sent me spiraling down the path of anti depressants, which saw me put 31 kilos of weight on,” she said.
“I smoked on average 60 cigarettes daily and I was an emotional eater. I had no self worth nor self esteem.
“After decades of trying to gain sobriety (through a range of means) … I was at a all time low when I discovered a program in Newcastle called SMART recovery Australia.
“I attended the program for roughly four months which saw me fall on and off the wagon. Then one day I just got sick and tired of being sick and tired.”
On July 9, 2016 she threw everything in the bin and started to turn her life around for good. She changed her diet and ride her bike every day, losing 31 kilos and now calls herself a “fitness freak”.
No longer does she rely on any substances to get her through the day.
“What keeps me sober is the fact I have a very addictive personality and I now realise one is too many and a thousand would never be enough, so I respect that I can never use anything ever again,” Miss Lewis said.
“SMART recovery stands for self management and recovery training.
“It is a peer-based group where the participants talk about the here and now of the last seven days and the next seven days.
“The groups are usually run by people like myself who have lived and experienced SMART.
“There is no labeling such as ‘drunk’ or ‘junkie’.
“SMART is very respectful of people's feelings, that's why we don't label people struggling with substances.
“I believe SMART recovery is very unique and it is the way of the future in regards to combating substance abuse.”
Miss Lewis said those struggling with any form of substance abuse should know there is always a way out.
“My advice to anyone struggling is to stay connected with their friends and family because the opposite of addiction is connection,” she said.
“If u isolate yourself from loved ones we are most likely to stay in addictions because of the isolation.
“When I speak I explain to the listeners about every aspect of the drug ice. I explain what the tell tale signs of ice are and how SMART recovery works and how to access the program.”
She will share her story at the East Griffith Rotary meeting on June 20 at 6.30pm and at the Leeton Avanti group at 7am on June 21. All are welcome to attend.
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