Maarametua Williams is on a mission.
The Porirua mother of three wants to prevent people from having the experiences she’s had on P and she has begun using what she learned to support people who want to leave P behind.
When it comes to what P will do to you, Maarametua is blunt.
All it takes is one puff ….
You will lose your dignity, family, friends, job, happiness, mind and pride —
You will rob, steal, cheat, lie and beg —
And end up broke, alone, homeless, in prison or dead.
The reason people use P is always some type of trauma, such as abuse, loss of family or in their background, Maarametua says.
However a person can come back better than before with the right help to rid themselves of P, she believes.
Recent weeks have seen a breakthrough in her mission to hold a meth (P) awareness expo on November 10. The expo will feature organisations and groups from across the country who help people break free from meth (P) (see details below).
Modelled on community events such as Creekfest in Porirua, it will combine entertainment, community stalls and food with information on P.
After lobbying government organisations and local councils with her expo plan, Hutt City Council put Maarametua in touch with relevant groups in Lower Hutt to help bring the event to fruition.
Overall, Maarametua hopes to raise awareness and education in people and organisations. Both groups are probably working with P but don’t always have full understanding of what it does and how to get people off it.
Maarametua says it is widespread but no-one wants to talk about it but it’s not currently fashionable.
“But it is OK to talk about it.”
Through her contact with Hutt City Council Maarametua was invited to take part in the May 14 X-Roads, a new initiative held in Lower Hutt’s Walter Nash Centre for Hutt Valley secondary school students about making good choices, including educating young drivers about alcohol and drugs.
Maarametua invited students to fill in survey forms that asked if they knew the signs that a person was using P, what its effects were and where to get support.
Most knew it could ruin lives, but many did not know the signs of P use and wanted to learn what they are.
Maarametua says she would love to visit schools to talk to students.
It’s 18 months since she got off P.
I just wanna let people know that once you have decided to give up P, life is not boring.”
So how achievable is recovery for a person using P?
“It is hard, nothing was easy. The hard part we have is to deal with emotions and not suppress them anymore.”
She is pleased she can give people a heads up about what to expect from friends when they go through detox. She has also personally helped or mentored several people through detox.
One grateful mother says it was Maarametua helping her son that worked after failed attempts with rehab and counselling.
“Maara let him know she would never give up on him and that her door was open when he was ready. She worked with him through his time of detox.
“Her approach was relaxed, supportive with understanding, gentle direction and no expectations. He knew and felt this.
If it wasn’t for Maara I believe my son would still be using. I also believe the only people that can really help addicts are people who have experienced addiction themselves. If you haven’t walked the walk how can you talk the talk!
“You can’t put a price on people willing to help families get out of the hell they are in,” the mother says.
Maarametua was born and bred in Porirua of Maori (Ngāti Kurī) and Cook Islands parents.
She became involved in the country’s first P Pull voluntary group. Her friends, Lizzie and Dennis Makalio, were among the founders of the group, which has spread from Porirua across Aotearoa with considerable success.
Maarametua isn’t currently part of the local P Pull group and is funding her voluntary work out of her household budget. She’s joined with a group of five others and they call themselves Recovery Rangers. Three are training to become qualified counsellors. All have been personally affected by P in some way.
Maarametua has already begun the process to form a charity so they can do more.
Ultimately she would like to see detox programmes right across the country, fully funded by the Government.
P users tend to have clusters of addictions and it is important to treat the P as the worst one first, she says.
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For more information:
A New Zealand Meth Awareness Expo organised by Maarametua Williams will be held in Lower Hutt on Saturday, November 10.
The venue is the Koraunui Stokes Valley Community Hub in the Stokes Valley Shopping Centre, Stokes Valley Road, from 10am until 4pm.
You can contact Maarametua by email at [email protected]