Andre’a Simmons entrepreneurial skills saw her become a self-made millionaire by the time she was just 21 years of age, but that was no match for the powerful addictive forces of ICE which took hold of her life shortly after reaching 40.
Not only did she lose all her material possessions to raise cash for buying drugs, but she nearly lost her own life as well.
The path that led to her personal drug destroying experience had been triggered by negative personal and emotional events that included the breakdown of her 22 year marriage.
“I went through a divorce and separation. I had life at my fingertips and had set myself up pretty young.”
It was during that downhill journey Andre’a was offered an ICE pipe by her new boyfriend, the man she’d become attached to after leaving her husband and two children.
“I didn’t know what that was. It didn’t look bad and I trusted this person. I was 40 and didn’t have any little kids or any major responsibility. I thought I’ll just have a puff because I smoked cigarettes.”
She’d heard of people trying marijuana and up until that moment she had not tried anything. As a result of that one single puff Andre’a quickly spiralled into a living hell of mental and physical destruction.
“ICE took over my whole being and my whole life very, very quickly, within months.”
Andre’a describes the psychotic realm of existence the drugs took her on.
“I ended up in a very dark and lonely place. I was locked up in a room with no furniture, the windows are closed and you’re scared to go outside. In my mind people were chasing me and it seemed real and it was very, very scary.”
She likens her nightmare addiction to ICE to a form of suffocation, as though there was no oxygen.
“It’s almost like air. If I cut off your air supply what would you do? You will get angry and you’re going to fight for your life, and you’ll do whatever it takes to get that breath of air.”
“It’s sad to say but people will hurt people they love. This is because of the damage the drug is doing to the brain.”
“It hijacks the frontal lobe of the brain where logical rational decision-making takes place.”
In other words, the drug takes over and the addict does the unexpected. This was Andre’a’s ICE induced predicament.
Andre’a soon began selling off all the material possessions she’d worked so hard as a business woman to amass.
“I had $21,000 worth of jewellery that I pawned for about $3,000. I sold the car for $20,000 that I’d bought for $50,000.”
She also sold her family’s home that was worth $900,000 for just $680,000.
By the time Andre’a hit rock bottom she weighed just 40kg and was $75,000 in debt.
Her drug dealer had given her a drug called G – a depressant. Andre’a took the drug and stopped breathing.
“I remember sinking into a blackness and I thought ‘I’m dying.’ And I remember deep in my soul reaching out and saying, ‘if there is a God out there, forgive me for who I have become and what I have done and please take my soul.’”
But Andre’a went back on the drugs until a day arrived when she decided to leave the house and found herself outside an abandoned church.
Suddenly the light shone through a cross on the church forcing her to her knees as she experienced what felt like someone had slapped her face.
“It was very real because I couldn’t get up. I was held down on the ground and tears started streaming down my face and I started pleading, ‘please let me go. What is happening? I’m going crazy!’”
If there’s a God out there, forgive me for who I’ve been. But take my soul and don’t leave me here.
Then God spoke to her, telling her to get up and go home. Andre’a said it was the most beautiful voice she’d ever heard.
It was the same voice that said, ‘Book your flight’ – a flight that would take her back to her family home.
$76 in her bank account was all she had, just enough for an airfare back to the Gold Coast.
“My mum didn’t recognise me at the airport. She was crying, I was a different person. God was amazing. He snatched me.”
And now Andre’a is helping others having founded the Australian Anti Ice Campaign, AAIC, which is a division of Global Care Australia.
“Predominantly it’s about raising awareness and educating youth, unveiling the enemy because the enemy’s out there killing and destroying lives.”
“If Jesus is standing with us who are we not to stand against the forces of darkness and push out this evil that’s destroying families, communities and people’s souls.”
“It rips out your soul this drug, it really does,” Andre’a stressed. But with this terror-ridden passage of her life behind her, the memory of it continues to remind how thankful she is to find out God loved her so much to actually set about rescuing her and others who’ve been through their own ICE addiction horror stories.
I’m thankful for a second chance and that God can use me for a purpose. Not just mine but everybody else who’s working with us as well.
“He’s turned what tried to destroy them into good,” Andre’a shared before describing the real life challenges of counselling drug addicts as she and her colleagues do with the Australian Anti ICE Campaign.
“All we can do is be Jesus. There’s power in your testimony and when we sit with somebody in addiction, it’s not up to us to change their path, it’s up to them.”
“We can only share truth in love, share our testimony and what happened to us.”
“Our percentage of people stepping into recovery is about 98 percent. It’s not us who do the work. We can only offer what was freely given to us and He is Jesus.”
AAIC aims to expose the drug Ice for what it really is, an insidiously poisonous chemical concoction that eventually, and often rapidly, destroys the physical and mental health of almost everyone who uses it, with the destruction of families and friendships, and often suicide, as the ultimate outcome.
Images in this article have been sourced from Shutterstock and Facebook.