Path to court-ordered rehab hazy for alcoholic teen
Hamilton is full of teenagers who spend their days drunk or drugged, says a alcoholic teen who just got out of rehab.
For nine months Nikita Wiari, 17, would wake up and have a drink – or a joint.
If she didn't have any booze at home, she'd hit the streets to "hustle" to get money or find someone to get alcohol for her. "I wouldn't like prostitute myself, but we'd get people to buy us alcohol and go back to their place and take off – or wait till they were asleep and then take what we could.
"There were days when I'd hustle a lot."
Nikita had been a casual, weekend drinker since the age of 15 – but when she left school and started a computer course in the CBD last year her drinking started getting out of control.
She met up with a group of her "alcoholic friends" in town and went down hill from there.
"I was drinking every day – whatever I could get hold of. I skipped class and didn't go home for weeks.
"My dad kept saying to me `You are going to die by the time you're 20 if you keep drinking the way you do'.
"Mum knew how bad I was and used to try and keep me home, but I'd still sneak out. I didn't like being told what to do.
"I used to get stoned every day as well – but alcohol was my thing."
At the time she didn't think she had a problem.
But when she found herself hauled before the Youth Court on five charges, including intent to kill and assault with a weapon, the enormity of her addiction started to sink in.
"I can remember bits, but I couldn't say I wasn't not guilty because I couldn't remember."
She was ordered to attended the Rongo Atea youth residential treatment service, or risk going to jail.
The day she arrived she was stoned. The first two weeks of the 10-week programme were the hardest.
"But my dad said `If you can get through the first two weeks you'll make it'. He was the only one that knew I could do it – everyone else thought I wouldn't stick it out."
She watched as several others on the programme took off or were sent "back to juvie" for misbehaving. In the end she was one of only four to graduate.
"The hardest part was realising that I did have an alcohol problem."
But she's not ashamed of having been to rehab and wants other kids to know it's a real option.
It's been three weeks since she left Rongo Atea and "I feel good now – way healthier".
"It felt good knowing that I could do something for my own health. I want people to know that there is this place and it's got people that will help you – even though they don't even know you. You can do it and come out clean."
She also had a message to parents.
"There are s... loads of young people that drink every day. My advice to parents would be to just stay with them and help them through it."
- © Fairfax NZ News
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