Araminta Jonsson, 31, from Abergavenny, Wales realised her crack habit was out of control when her three-year-old son saw her being beaten by her partner
A mother who turned to cocaine aged 18 to stay slim has recounted her horrifying battle with drugs which saw her spending £70,000 in four months.
Araminta Jonsson, 31, from Abergavenny in Wales realised her crack habit was out of control when her three-year-old son saw her being beaten by her partner.
The youngster watched on in horror as her then partner attacked her when their drug-fuelled relationship deteriorated.
The horrifying incident was the peak of a 13-year addiction to drugs, which started with cocaine when Araminta was a teenager.
But it spiralled out of control when she moved onto crack – a highly addictive form of cocaine – with a boyfriend she met in rehab. Soon the couple were spending thousands.
Her son was living with the couple full-time when they began to smoke drugs at home and the relationship turned violent.
Araminta did her best to shield her son from seeing what was going on but on one occasion he witnessed an attack on his mother and cried for it to stop.
She said: ‘Rory was screaming ‘get off mummy, get off mummy. Stop hurting mummy.’
‘I had just given up on the fact that he wasn’t going to see me doing drugs. He saw all of it then.
‘After that I went and called my parents and my partner checked back into rehab.’
At this point the addiction was so strong she often felt her son was an ‘inconvenience’ because his presence meant she couldn’t use drugs.
She said: ‘He was nothing more at that time. That’s how I felt towards him.
‘I would sit there crying because I couldn’t use drugs because I had to look after him and I wouldn’t use in front of him.
‘That filled me with so much shame because he was this poor innocent child who knew nothing.
‘Drugs were more important. I was completely powerless. I just couldn’t stop.’
Now a year clean, Araminta is keen to share her harrowing story to raise awareness about addiction.
After her turbulent teens where she suffered with an eating disorder and problems with alcohol abuse from the age of 13, Araminta turned to cocaine as a way to fuel her bulimia and stay slim at university in London.
But she ‘immediately’ began abusing the drug and at just 18 quickly racked up a £50-£100 a day habit.
She said: ‘I had a halls room and I was throwing up in my little sink so much that the sink was getting blocked so I would line the sink with newspaper and throw up in it.
Araminta Jonsson (pictured), 31, from Abergavenny, Wales realised her crack habit was out of control when her three-year-old son saw her being beaten by her partner
‘I couldn’t make friends, couldn’t integrate myself. I couldn’t connect. The first time I got offered it was in a bar in London. I got the dealer’s number then and there and the dealer would come to me.
‘I was taking it on my own in my room and drinking bottles of wine. It was never a social thing for me.
‘The media made me think cocaine makes you thin. Somehow it was in my head that if you use this drug it will somehow fulfil my ambition of being skinny.
‘I wanted my self worth to go up and I did it in the worst way possible.’
When she moved to Barcelona after university she got into a relationship with a man from Colombia and headed to the country with him soon after.
Once there she started using between six and 10 grams of cocaine a day.
Araminta admitted the relationship was just another way to access the drug.
She said: ‘My head told me this is the kind of guy you need to be in a relationship with because really I only wanted to use him to get out to Colombia.
‘I got very sick, very quickly. He was in love with me and didn’t know what to do. But I’m a devious, manipulative person when I’m using.’
After months of lying in bed, reliant on cocaine, Araminta’s health deteriorated so badly she began to suffer twitches and hallucinations.
She then decided to return to the UK to get better. But the addiction had taken hold and she admits to trying to fly while carrying drugs.
She said: ‘I went to the airport with drugs on me but I collapsed and they wouldn’t let me fly.
‘I flew a lot with drugs on me. I wouldn’t go anywhere without them to be honest. I just don’t think you care or think about it.
Araminta did her best to shield her son from seeing what was going on but on one occasion he witnessed an attack on his mother and cried for it to stop
‘You have this feeling of invincibility. There were times where you put your life in danger even for using.
‘As a drug addict, on a daily basis I would be putting my life in danger through using. My life ceased to have any value.
‘I didn’t care enough about myself to worry about being put in jail or any of it. You just do the next thing to get your fix. You don’t think about the consequences.
‘By the end I had a son and a crack habit. I knew what I was doing was terrible for my son but the consequences for my family, the consequences for my son, you just block them out – otherwise you kill yourself.’
In 2012 Araminta became pregnant with son Rory. The pregnancy made her quit drink and drugs and she settled down with Rory’s father, buying a house and starting a childcare business.
However, a glass of champagne to celebrate the new house kick-started another descent into drug use.
She was soon drinking four or five pints of cider while breastfeeding and went into rehab after splitting from Rory’s father.
It was here she started a relationship with the man who would help introduce her to crack cocaine.
The pair had six sober months once leaving rehab but a drink on holiday ruined their clean streak.
Araminta said: ‘We were in a pub in Leeds for some food. I went to the toilet, came back and there were two drinks on the side.
‘We got drunk and I know it was me who suggested getting cocaine. Then we started a two-hour mission to find some to try and drive round Leeds city centre.
‘By this time I said, “This is a really bad idea, lets stop.”
‘He said, “All right I’ve just got one more option to try and that’s with a crack head.” I had never taken crack before in my life but it was bit exciting.
‘I smoked it and I remember thinking, “What’s the big deal about this drug? What’s so great about it?”
‘I remember two or three days later when we stopped using I thought “it’s ok I haven’t relapsed because it’s not my drug of choice. I’m not going to get addicted to crack cocaine”.’
Araminta was living in Bristol at this point and would have Rory three days a week. She always kept him fed and dressed and he never missed nursery.
But on her free days she would go to Leeds with her boyfriend to get high.
They used credit cards to fund the £3,000-a-day habit and when that ran out her partner’s inheritance money.
Her parents were unaware of the problem until she contacted them after the incident her son witnessed.
She said: ‘I’m the queen of facading. No one knew. My dad came over and didn’t notice anything.
‘It’s all the emotional problems addicts have that I’m amazed people don’t pick up on earlier. Years before you develop a drug problem there is a problem there that no one seems to notice.’
Former addict: On her free days she would go to Leeds with her then boyfriend to get high
Araminta moved back with her parents in Abergavenny and began volunteering with the Voice Hub in Newport, a project for people in recovery.
She said the experience gave her a sense of self worth she was lacking.
It’s also made her realise she was also addicted to relationships and needed these to make her feel better about herself.
It was through this she made connections and was eventually given a grant to start Pipe Down – a magazine written by recovering addicts.
Now looking after Rory, four, full-time, she said it’s this that’s saved her from relapsing.
She added: ‘It’s been amazing. It’s given me so much self worth, the ability to get my life back on track and it’s opened up to other people.
‘It gives people a focus in their life, skills and ability to talk about their emotions.
‘Addiction stems from disconnection and the magazine gives you the ability to connect, even if your so isolated in your bedroom. You can write something out and know you are going to be reaching people.’
Araminta used the Pipe Down as a spring board to get her current job at iCAAD, International Conferences on Addiction and Associated Disorders, who bring experts together to talk about addiction.
To find out more or to get involved with Pipe Down email: email@example.com.
Download issues of the magazine here: www.pipedownmagazine.co.uk/download-issues/