Speaking from a village in Thailand, where she now supports people in drug and alcohol treatment, Boni said her new life is a world away from her previous one as a heroin user.
“I had been to jail. Mine was a life of prostitution, heroin and benzos. My life was on the line,” she says.
It was 2013. Boni Newland was using heroin again after more than two years in recovery. To help her overcome heroin addiction, her doctor prescribed the opiate substitute, Buprenorphine: another drug of addiction. Then at 27 she decided to reduce from Buprenorphine and become drug-free.
Boni undertook The Buttery’s Maintenance to Abstinence (MTA) Program, one of only two residential facilities in Australia for people who wish to withdraw from opioids to pursue a life of abstinence.
“People call opioids ‘liquid handcuffs’ for a reason. When I was on those drugs, I felt like I was covering myself with a sleeping bag. The drugs took away my ability to feel human. It also meant I had to always be somewhere where I could get my daily dose. So I couldn’t travel.”
The mutual support The Buttery’s residential program gives was integral to Boni’s recovery.
“What fuels addiction is isolation. The residential group setting made me feel I wasn’t alone, I wasn’t misunderstood.
“I never really thought I was going to get out of a life of brothels and crime until I was completely drug-free.
“Since I’ve been clean, I’ve started surfing and travelling. I want to write my life story. I love hiking, nature and the ocean.”
“Becoming drug-free is the best thing that has ever happened. My advice to anyone considering abstinence is that it can be really painful, but it is easier than using.
“Your misery can be refunded if you decide abstinence and recovery aren’t for you. What do you have to lose?”
Photo: Boni enjoys her new life in Thailand