Putting her faith in God was the turning point for Tash and her two daughters.
I never knew my dad, and my family life was full of the effects of mental health issues and drug use. I moved out of home when I was 15. My younger (half) brothers and sisters and I were close, but when I moved I lost those relationships.
I had a beautiful daughter when I was 16. When I was about 18, I started drinking heavily and my addiction started. I was already smoking a bit of pot. I was sort of functional; I had a job, I’d look after my daughter, and I was with her dad. But I was drinking every weekend.
When I was about 19, I first used the drug ice (methamphetamine). I was a single parent by then. Things went downhill quickly when I started using intravenously.
I was buying ice all the time. I was working full-time but started using heavily and having really bad psychosis. I had nowhere to go and the place I was staying wasn’t suitable for my daughter. My work helped me get a rental, but I didn’t stop using. In the same week, I lost my job, my daughter was taken into care, and I lost my rental house. I was now homeless and living on the streets.
I was a really bad drug addict; driving around with people, doing deals and just kind of surviving. I finally got put into prison for a month and that was the best thing for me at the time. I got clean for a month and felt really happy and good. But then I met a guy and fell pregnant again and, sadly, I was using ice again by this stage.
I got a unit when I was six months’ pregnant and in my head I was going to transform into a mum again, but when my baby was born—another beautiful daughter—she was taken straight off me in the hospital. She went into kinship care with her father’s family.
Life got worse, until I could clearly see what I had done. I jumped on an emergency bus to go to detox in Brisbane. At this stage I hadn’t handed my life over to God, but from the minute I got on that bus I was at peace. I just trusted that whatever I was going to, had to be better than this.
After a handful of days, the detox had to discharge me. I ended up at The Salvation Army’s crisis accommodation centre, Pindari, and was so grateful to be there. My faith journey started when I got on that bus, but when I got to Pindari some ladies from a church invited me to an event, where I said yes to being prayed for and becoming God’s child.
I went from Pindari to the Moonyah (Recovery Services) centre and I was having contact with my youngest daughter every weekend. I graduated after eight months at Moonyah, then spent another two in transitional accommodation.
I now share-care with the dad of my youngest daughter and I’m building a relationship with my eldest child, too. I finished a Certificate 3 in business administration and I’m studying community services at TAFE. I go to the Salvos’ God’s Sports Arena church every Sunday—they have supported me the whole way through.
I also have a relationship with my siblings again. Like so many areas in my life, God has yet again done what I thought was impossible. There is no way I can deny that God put his hand on me and carried me all the way through this.
I made so many mistakes, but I hope that my girls now have a much better future and that God will have his hand on their lives too.
As told to Naomi Singlehurst