Like a lot of people she knew, Ann-Maree said she fell into bad habits as a teenager, and led a wild life, which included using drugs.
"Once you get into that, sometimes it's really hard to get out. You just don't know where to go. You become so ingrained in it that that becomes your everyday," she said.
After discovering she had an addictive personality in her late 20s, Ann-Maree, who has asked for her last name not to be used, said it's something she's always battling with, and why a local rehabilitation centre would benefit those who are ready to receive support.
Initially Ann-Maree, who at the time was living in Gilgandra, was sent to Bloomfield Hospital based in Orange. She said being so far away from home was "scary" and she felt disconnected, which made her treatment unsuccessful.
"I actually rang my mum and I was like, 'you need to come and get me because this isn't working'. And lucky for me, mum came and got me and we sought other avenues to help, which was I went to drug and alcohol counselling," she said
It was through a live-in program based in Dubbo where Ann-Maree said she was able to break old habits. Being close to her family and on country, she said was vital for her journey to good health.
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"During that program, they taught me strategies to become resilient and strong within myself and to be able to make better choices for the life that I wanted. Not the life that I thought I deserved because of the circumstances that had happened to me," she said.
"I think that the reason why the program I did worked for me, is because I was still out here on country.
"Being here in Dubbo meant that family could come and visit me. They're only phone call away. I didn't feel afraid as much as I did when I had to leave and be so far away. It just made a massive difference."
Ann-Maree said addiction was not something someone overcomes, but rather learns to live with.
"You live with your impacts almost every day of your life. When you're triggered, you have to work out how to be resilient so that you don't relapse or you don't re-offend or you don't fall back down that rabbit hole," she said.
"People think it's easy to live this life. It's really bloody hard. It is one of the hardest things that I've ever done on a continuing basis."
For Ann-Maree having a rehabilitation and detoxification centre in Dubbo would be a better avenue for people in the midst of addiction to be supported back to good health, rather than be punished and locked away for their actions.
"Rehab is absolutely imperative to taking people away from the stressful part, the hurtful part of life and putting them somewhere safe where they can be cared about, where they can take the time they need to learn to be resilient," she said.
"It's it is the most important thing in the whole wide world for somebody who wakes up one day and goes, I don't want to live like this anymore, that they have somewhere safe to go and that they can go there and be loved to good health, because honest to God, you can't punish someone to get better. You need to love them to good health."
- Lifeline: 13 11 14
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