Dylan's story was initially shared on an earlier version of this site - DrugHelp.
Ko Dylan Mark Taylor-Smiler toku ingoa
Ko Aitanga a Mahaki toku iwi
Ko Maungahaumi toku maunga
Ko Whānau-a-te-kai toku hapū
Ko Waipaoa toku awa
I'm a rapper, producer and clothing designer.
Alcohol started pretty young for me. I mean, I was surrounded by it when I was young. I had addictions by the time I was at college for weed and cigarettes.
After then, I got a new addiction, and it was crime. It led me to getting locked up. I got locked in boys homes when I was young. I got more and more jail each time and more and more drugs, and that's when methamphetamine came into the scene. And I really took to that drug.
But it was hard to kind of keep that habit up because it obviously is an expensive drug, so I had to deal. And actually, the rock bottom point that I had in my life was from dealing methamphetamine and coming to a point where I got busted from the police, and I was caught red-handed. And I just go, aw man, I've had enough.
And I actually made the choice to go to rehab.
The supervisors that were there, they all had drug-fueled pasts too, so we were able to connect. It wasn't like someone who hasn't been down that path telling me this and that. It was actually people with previous experience. And I really listened to them.
New Zealand's a beautiful place in that sense, because you can ring up someone today. They will take the time to talk to you about your drug use and actually want to help you.
That incident had to happen, really. I don't think that I would have jumped out of the methamphetamine dealing if I didn't get busted. I was able to get caught and get my life back on track, basically. And that was one of the defining factors that had to happen for me to change.
My passion for music has been there since I was very young, like 14. I guess I was listening to Tupac. A song called "Dear Mama" really touched me, and I really wanted to make a song like that.
Right before I got busted from the police, my passion for music was kind of going down, and that's when I knew, like, will I ever get it back? That was the question that I asked myself.
Going to rehab kind of re-triggered my passion so that was cool. And then we're coming to the end of my two months in rehab, and one of my supervisors was like, so what are you going to do from here?
Aw man, I want to do music.
We found that they had an audio engineering school in Christchurch and in Auckland. I got out of rehab and went home, packed all my gears, and I flew the next day to Auckland and started school.
And this time, I was on bail. So that whole time while I was studying, I kind of had this black cloud around me just saying, aw man, I might be going to jail, and I kind of had a chip on my shoulder still - bit of an attitude.
I went to the court, and the judge gave me six months community detention. Once I got sentenced and stuff and I did that, I went back to school, and I started to change my own attitude. I started to respect people a lot more and actually understand that I was in an environment - a perfect environment for myself.
I started breaking down these barriers in my mind, and I graduated with distinction at school. And I grew an appetite for learning, so I decided to do a diploma as well.
I got halfway through the year, and my partner, she lost our baby. We were going to have a baby, and drugs came back into my life at that stage. And I fell back into the trap, even knowing how far I've come and that I shouldn't continue down this road.
And I was able to get my mind clear again and start a new beginning with my girlfriend and build strong, strong bonds with her, and we tried again. And then we had another baby, and our baby was good and healthy. And now he's four months old, and it's real awesome.
One of the tutors was saying, there's three keys to success - that you should be on time, do great work, and have a great attitude. That was kind of one of the things that helped me change my attitude and reason why I should change my attitude. Yeah, I'm always on time, and I'm always try doing my best work and also keep a good attitude.
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This experience was shared by a young, queer Māori man as part of Rewired - a support group for men who have sex with men and use methamphetamine, run by the NZ Aids Foundation and NZ Drug Foundation.