Mum’s drug truth exposed: ‘I was good at covering it up’
WHEN her glass pipe fell from the washing machine and landed at her mum's feet, Tammy Kloot's secret life of self medication came crashing down.
The 36-year-old's mum, Lynda, was doing Tammy's washing while staying at her daughter's Capricorn Coast home in 2016 when the pipe fell from her clothes.
Tammy was a closet drug user who started self medicating after her daughter was unknowingly taken to New Zealand by an ex-partner and did not return.
"When I started using meth it numbed the pain and it didn't hurt to get out of bed," Tammy said.
The mother-of-five had only used drugs a handful of times before her daughter was taken, but at 30, alcohol and other drugs use became her every day.
Drugs were so foreign to her family, Lynda had to ask her friends what the glass pipe was.
"We have never had drugs in our family," Tammy said.
"She was in shock.
"She didn't believe anything I said after that because everything I was telling her for the last year was a lie."
Lynda moved back to the Capricorn Coast and joined ICESUP, a support group for families with loved ones who use ice, and began to learn about the damage drug use had done to Tammy's life.
"I was always a social butterfly. I was going out to karaoke or having barbecues on the beach but all of a sudden it stopped," she said.
"I was really good at covering it up at first."
But slowly everything in Tammy's life started becoming unstuck - she lost her job, was about to lose the house she had raised her children in for 12 years and she began to lose her kids.
"My two youngest children's dad had a meeting with me and said 'I want to take the kids through the week now'," she said.
"My eldest daughter knocked on the door and said 'I'm moving to Yeppoon with Nan'."
Tammy then moved to a house with her 15-year-old son where she had "one of the worst experiences" in her life.
"We lived where junkies used to live. I got to see horrible things - my house got shot up, so many bad things happened to that house," she said.
In just three years, Tammy went from living a normal, happy, life to hitting "rock bottom" and she decided the only way out of this was up.
At 33, she enrolled in a residential rehabilitation facility on the Sunshine Coast where she took the first few steps of her new clean life.
She has been clean for three years now and on Monday she went to the Rockhampton residential rehabilitation forum and sat among the audience- most of them had never been to rehab.
While she understood where those afraid of the centre were coming from, she said there were so many misconceptions about residential rehabilitation and the danger it posed.
"If you have done something really bad you would be in jail not in a rehabilitation centre," she said.
"If you step outside the gate you're pretty much banished from the facility."
Tammy spent four months at the facility and left the program two months early- once she exited, she was transported home to the Capricorn Coast.
"I still remember the first thing they told me is 'you can't be here for you kids and your family- you need to be here for yourself'," she said.
"I didn't get that at first but I do now.
"I actually care for myself more than I have ever."
She said she 'learned how to live again' at the centre.
"The facility was pretty much run by us. We have people looking over us but we cook the dinner, a couple of people do the garden and a couple do the washing," she said. "There are consequences if you don't."
During the day she also had counselling sessions, therapy and learned basic mindfulness skills like yoga.
"24/7 from when you wake up in the morning you've got jobs to do until when you go to bed at night," she said.
Since going home she has spent hours volunteering at organisations, got a job, been reunited with her children and started a bridging course at university in a bid to become a nurse- her goal is to help others.
She now wishes people battling addiction in Central Queensland are given the opportunity to access help at a local centre.