Turning the corner from addiction

Wiremu shares his lightbulb moment of when he realised that he longer wanted addiction and abuse in his life.

Soft piano music plays continuously in the background for the duration of the film. On a black screen is the text ‘Warning. This video contains coarse language and discussions of violence. Viewer discretion is advised.’

We see Wiremu’s hands, tattooed, as he rubs them together, followed by a quick shot of Wiremu sitting in a tall red booth seat, looking up. The scene quickly cuts to Wiremu in the lounge of his home. There is a rust-coloured curtain in the background, and we can see a microphone and various speakers around the room. Wiremu sits speaking to an interviewer who is off camera. Wiremu is a Māori man with moustache and goatee. Tattoos can be seen on his neck. He wears a black cap with ‘LA’ on it, a blue t shirt and a black Bisley shirt over the top.

Wiremu: “My first name Wiremu, I'm 39 years of age.”

Cut to a side on shot of Wiremu clasping his head in his hands, sitting in the red booth again. Across the screen white texts appears, saying ‘Thinking About Change.’

Wiremu: “I’m with my partner now, we’re married, we’ve been together for 17 years.”

Cut back to Wiremu in the lounge.

Wiremu: “So we had a good smooth run for about I don't know, five years, and then I got addicted to meth.”

Cut to Wiremu walking between industrial buildings covered in graffiti murals. He has his cap on backwards and is looking at his hands. Wiremu stands looking up at the graffiti mural. He is in focus but the mural is blurred. The scene is in slow motion.

Wiremu: “And that's when everything just came up to the surface. I did it for the next 10 years. Full on, so abusive, verbal abuse really, and I still carried what I said to myself when I was young, that I would never hit, you know, my kid's mother. So, I still carried that but I was still carrying the verbal abuse, the emotional abuse, the put downs, the name calling.”  

Cut to Wiremu outside under some trees. He is wearing a blue t shirt, his cap, and black over the ear headphones.

Wiremu: “So well fast forward it to 2019. Um my brother passed away, had three of the worst cancers.”

Cut back to Wiremu in the lounge.

Wiremu: “Killed him in like three months. My family was all against me. They knew me as this addict that they didn't want around, and all I could worry about was masking,  numbing that pain that I felt when my brother passed away. The light bulb moment for me was I guess I just woke up one day and just thought ‘what am I doing? Really, I'm suffering, I'm suffering. I could do a lot more but here I've only limited myself to this addiction.’ Dealing, associated with the wrong people, and for me it was just the gang members turning up to my house, for me. There's certain things we had done and we got away with, but they figured out where we've stayed now, so now my family's even more scared, and more what am I doing out there?”

Cut to Wiremu stands looking up at the graffiti mural. He is in focus but the mural is blurred.

Wiremu: “The impacts I saw my kids was that they were replicating arguments between you know themselves.”

Cut back to Wiremu in the lounge.

Wiremu: “The two oldest, they were fighting, because they that's what they've seen me and their mom doing was fighting. So when they would get into fights, they were hurt, so they were going full on … they were fighting … siblings … fighting each other but when I'd break them up I'd go out and, you know do the same thing again.

So when my brother passed away we got pregnant. We didn't find out the sex until probably the last couple of weeks before he did pass away and we were having a boy. So I rung him, and let him know that we're having a boy and he's got a namesake and we're going to name it after him. And he was over the moon, he was rapt, couldn't wait to see him. It wasn't until maybe six months into him being born and brother passed away, then I realised that he's going to start learning and seeing everything that my oldest three just went through.

The change I wanted to make was so that  he didn't see or he didn't even feel that we just went through that the first three siblings.  All we've got to do is just forgive each other, forgive you know. I've got forgiveness, and we just move on as a whole unit.

What I can do is provide now. I can go out there and provide for us when I didn't used to provide for us, I provided for myself.”

The screen fades to black. White text appears: ‘In your hands. Change starts here. For you and your whānau. If you think it might be time to change your behaviour, you’re in the right place.’

More to Watch

Thinking About Change Playlist

Play Full Playlist
Wiremu's story

Wiremu's Story

Play Full Playlist
Wiremu's story
Wiremu - Taking Steps for Change
Wiremu - Staying on Track

Change Journey Playlists

More Stories on Change

Looking for help for someone else?

Go to supporters page
Image of mobile phone with Service Finder tool

Need help not sure where to find it?

Use the Service Finder tool below to find the right support for you.