Aussie drug addict quits heroin, meth after text message

A mother who became addicted to drugs when she was just a teenager has revealed how one texted message changed her entire life.

Karisse, who was no longer living with her mother, began using drugs at the age of 13, initially starting off with speed and benzodiazepines.

By 14, she was also injecting heroin and methamphetamine.

Her teenage years were tumultuous, living up and down the Gold Coast Highway while homeless or staying in motels.

She self-harmed and was sexually assaulted by various men over the years, including a schoolteacher, resulting in Karisse having multiple abortions.

Karisse had tried rehabilitation and in 2007 she found herself in prison for the first time for stealing. It wouldn’t be the last time.

When she first entered the prison system, she had just given birth to her son, who then went to live with her mother.

But, almost two years ago, a selfie from her mother changed the entire path of Karisse’s life.

“I’d just gotten out of jail again and I’d relapsed really bad because I was homeless and living around people using drugs on the Gold Coast,” Karisse told

“My mum had to have a dental procedure, her front tooth had to come out, and she sent me a selfie with the message ‘I am not coping’.”

At the time she’d gotten the message, Karisse had been sitting in a drug den. All her hair had been cut off and she’d been assaulted the week before. She had been planning to end her own life. But, she had never seen her mother looking unpolished, without her makeup or hair done, or nice clothes.

Throughout everything, her mum had stood by her side. She’d tried to help Karisse get clean multiple times and looked after her son, never once judging her daughter.

During their text conversation, Karisse’s mother asked if she could come home one more time and try to get clean.

“I could not be raped one more time. I could not be hurt one more time. I couldn’t go back to jail one more time. It was like my whole heart was just broken. And then I got that selfie,” she said.

“From that moment on, I had no reservations. I had no plans for detox, I didn’t care. I thought, ‘I’m gonna go home and try one more time because I can’t even look in the mirror.”

Her options were dying like her son’s father or trying one more time for her mum’s sake.

Karisse went cold turkey on everything. There was no more drugs or tablets or cigarettes, and she refused to engage in toxic behaviour.

Karisse was in hell for 24 years and for the last 22 months she has pulled herself out. She said it was like “divine intervention”.

Since the day she chose to no longer use drugs, she has gained the life she had always craved.

She has an incredibly close relationship with her teenage son, who is in his final year of high school, and her mother, something she could have only dreamt of previously.

“I now train weights five times a week, I have a coach and I work on my mental health,” Karisse said.

“I am halfway through my advanced drug and alcohol counselling training to become a counsellor. I cook, I clean and look after myself.

“I do all the drop off, pick-up and making school lunches. I am so present and grateful for every minute. I feel proud of myself because I put effort into all the things that matter.”

This time around, Karisse didn’t go through rehabilitation or narcotics anonymous meetings. She did it surrounded by her loved ones.

The 36-year-old said she is not permanently damaged from all the abuse and that is a win in herself as she has at least 50 years to make new memories and embrace a new life.

She now shares her story on social media because there are other men and women out there who were broken by tragedy like she was. Karisse loves seeing success and transformation stories, so she decided to share her own on TikTok.

“Like if there’s some girls out there that are still suffering, I want to be the reason that they have light every single day,” she said.

“A lot of people don’t have support. They just need someone to say one thing and then their whole life changes.”

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