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Road to redemption

George and Darshea Wall of Soulway Church in Masterton. PHOTO/EMILY IRELAND

Escaping a $1500-a-week synthetic drug habit

Second chances

A Times-Age and Midweek series

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Masterton couple Darshea and George Wall used to spend $1500 a week fuelling their synthetic drug habits.

But “by the grace of God”, all that changed last year.

The couple, who have two daughters, aged seven and eight, come from a background of “really bad synthetic use”.

“We got to points where we almost got taken out, just being high off our heads 24/7,” Darshea said.

“It was so much of an addiction that we were spending $1500 on it a week.”

Darshea said she would shoplift from a supermarket to fund the habit.

Side effects of synthetic cannabis use include vomiting, seizures, hallucinations and arrhythmia. PHOTO/GETTY IMAGES

“It gets really deep, the stuff that I had allowed myself to do for that addiction.”

The couple remember the date their lives changed for the better.

It was March 16, 2017, and they were travelling through Pahiatua “high off our heads on synthetics”, Darshea said.

“Just as you enter into Pahiatua, there’s a big bright cross.

“I said to my husband, ‘Look honey, there’s a cross there’.

“He tried to slow down but didn’t quite catch a glimpse.”

She said they narrowly missed a crash because they had slowed down so quickly.

“We stopped and saw that if we hadn’t slowed down for [the driver] to look at the cross, this car would have totally taken us out.

“We ended up getting a Bible after that, came back to Masterton and found a church.

“Sure enough, we ended up walking into Soulway Church.

“Ever since then really, our whole lives have changed.”

The couple married in the church a couple of months later, in June, when there was another close call – this time for the bride’s family.

Darshea’s 21-year-old brother avoided serious injury after a car crash on State Highway 2 – he had been in a vehicle leaving Soulway Church after the wedding ceremony when it was T-boned by a southbound car.

“It was such a beautiful day, and then as soon as we tied the knot and headed off to get wedding photos, my brothers got crashed into right outside the church. They came out with only scratches. The police said if it wasn’t for a bar, my brothers would be gone.

“To me, if it wasn’t for God, my brothers wouldn’t be here.”

She said it was also “by the grace of God” that she and her husband were still alive today.

“We haven’t just had a second chance – we’ve had maybe 10,” she laughed.

“I’m just so grateful God pulled us out of it [the drug addiction] because I don’t know where we would be today if we stayed on it.”

“Probably dead,” George said.

Darshea said she and George were proud of the people they had become.

“Our daughters love their new mum and dad. In all honesty, they saw a lot of it all.

“They saw us when we were sleeping on the drugs, and this and that. When I think about it now, it makes me cry.”

Darshea said it was the support network they had gained over the past year that had helped them conquer their addictions and transform their lives.

“I really want to help the community and all the people who are on it at the moment,” Darshea said.

“Because a lot of them are my old friends in our old circles.

“It just breaks my heart to see how much of an effect that stuff has through our town.”

Second Chances is a Wairarapa Midweek and Wairarapa Times-Age series telling the stories of Wairarapa people who have experienced life-changing events and been given a second chance. If you would like to share your story, contact Emily Ireland on [email protected]

Need help with an addiction?

Addictions services in Wairarapa are delivered by Pathways, a community-based provider of mental health and well-being services.

Call 06 370 6102 or 0800 208 4278.

Email [email protected]


  1. Congratulations to you both I hope u and your whanau have a wonderful journey in god because he is awesome. And you have wonderful Pastors too in Soul way I use to go to that church as well what a great impact,

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