The wife of a former ice addict has opened up about how the drug almost destroyed her young family, writing a letter to her son about how she discovered his secret addiction.

Courtney Rothberg thought she had met the love of her life.

At 19 she met her future husband Carl through a chance encounter. Their connection? "Magnetic. I felt it. He felt it," Rothberg wrote.

But it wasn't until 22 that the pair began to date, and would swiftly fall madly in love.


Soon the couple would stand at the altar to marry. They said their vows, committing to being together forever, in sickness and in health.

But not long after Rothberg found out she was pregnant, their world collapsed.

And in a heartbreaking letter, she opened up about how her son had unknowingly saved their marriage and the family's future.

"From the time you were conceived to when we found out you were inside my belly, instability hit our world," she wrote.

"Redundancy, tough house sale, Daddy was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. We decided to stop trying for a baby. Everything felt so out of control. But you, our baby boy, you had other ideas.

"You knew before we did how much we needed you. Daddy was struggling with the job loss and diabetes. He was hurting, more than I realised. Six weeks before you were born it got worse. Daddy was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. The exact thing everyone had told us to be thankful for not having earlier that year.

"As it turns out, the original doctor was wrong. From that day forward, Daddy would need to inject his own insulin to stay alive. It rocked us. He'd had a tough year and that diagnosis pushed him over the edge."

But Rothberg's son was soon born into an even larger storm. Less than a year after he was born, his dad unravelled, with Rothberg describing the following year "hell on Earth".

Ex-ice addict Carl Rothberg with his son, Baker. Photo / Channel 10
Ex-ice addict Carl Rothberg with his son, Baker. Photo / Channel 10

Carl Rothberg soon lost a lot of weight, had become withdrawn and looked really sick.

"I watched the man I married disappear in front of my eyes... It's as if he died but his body was still walking around. I mourned the loss of him every day.

"I lost count of the nights I spent standing over your cot watching you sleep. Filled with anxiety, fear and despair, wondering if you would ever know your father as the man I fell in love with."

As life reached boiling point, Rothberg's husband revealed the full truth of his "illness" that would change the family's lives forever.

On the phone he told her that he had been using meth every day for over a year. Rothberg was rocked to the core.

"I couldn't live through another day of the instability. The fighting. The hours spent awake at night wondering where he was and when he was coming home. To know that you deserved more than this, that we deserved more than this, I couldn't sit idly by and watch him fall further down the rabbit hole," she wrote to her son.

She gave Carl Rothberg two options.

Follow the family to a new city and go into long-term rehabilitation with the family's complete support; or divorce.

Courtney Rothberg thought her husband's weight loss and mood swings were related to diabetes. Then he revealled he was an ice addict. Photo / Channel 10
Courtney Rothberg thought her husband's weight loss and mood swings were related to diabetes. Then he revealled he was an ice addict. Photo / Channel 10

On February 25, 2015 Courtney and her son boarded their flight to start their new life.

"I stared out the window as the wheels lifted, slowly closing my eyes. I didn't want you to see me cry. Silently I shed tears. I didn't know what was going to happen. I didn't know if our marriage had just ended. I didn't know if that was the last time we would be a family. I didn't know if we would see your father again, alive.

"All I had was my faith knowing that I was making the best decision for both you and I. We needed a place of refuge. Somewhere we could start a new life, a place I had the space to heal and put myself back together. Nanna and Pa welcomed us with open arms. To this day, it was the best decision I ever made."

Six weeks later his father followed, committing to receiving help.

At the clinic he struggled to fight the habit, suffering from painful and mind-destroying withdrawals, describing detox as the hardest period of his life.

When Rothberg went to visit her husband he begged her to take him home and not leave him at the rehab centre. He was a broken man. But again, she gave him two options. Treatment, or divorce.

Despite being at his lowest Carl Rothberg came through the other side with the pair crediting their son as their saviour.

"I was always scared that if Daddy couldn't get better that you would grow up thinking you weren't enough. You didn't mean enough for him to get clean. But you were his driving force. Even in the first few days of recovery when he was in detox and I couldn't speak to him, the nurses said he was focusing on you to get him through. Daddy described detox as the worst seven days of his life. He cried himself to sleep every night, among the screams and pain of other addicts trying to face their demons. You were his light, my innocent boy. You.

"Rehab took all the tenacity and courage we had. It was the time that would either make or break us. All the lies, deception, hurt, we couldn't hide from it anymore. We had to face it and decide if we could work through it. When I was at my lowest you were my reason to get up in the morning. To keep fighting, keep pushing, to just hold on a little longer. I wanted to make you proud. That you would grow up to know me as someone who fought for you. Fought for a better life. That we wouldn't settle for anything less than we both deserved. I wanted you to know that I fought for our family with every morsel of my being. I fought for your Daddy because he was worth it and as it turns out, he fought his demons for us.

"Sitting on the other side, I've looked back and wondered what our lives would have been like if that one thing never happened, if Daddy hadn't become an addict.

"I don't have the answer for that but what I do know is this.

"I realise now you were heaven sent. Given to me exactly when I needed you. You were my saviour. Without you, I would have been broken beyond repair. Daddy says I saved his life. You, baby boy, saved mine. Together, we saved each other.

"If there is one piece of advice I can give you, my son, it's that no one is perfect. Not even your parents.

"Mama x".