The story below is from storiesofrecovery.org.uk, which is a project by the Greater Glasgow and Clyde Drug Action Team that aims to work with recovering addicts to write their addiction and recovery stories. The aim of these stories is to inspire others as they start or stay in recovery.
These stories are from real-life people who have been addicted to various substances and have been into dire situations but have managed to rise up above them all. These stories aim to show that recovery is possible.
From thirteen I had a liking to lose myself in oblivion. This turned into obsession and compulsion to use drugs. Dealing and using everyday, all day, my addiction became progressively worse. Before I used drugs I was honest and never stole. I mastered the art of stealing out my parents bank account without getting caught. Charged with possession, I was lucky it was not intent to supply. My considerable football talent diminished. I under achieved at school. Up to twenty two my life was ravaged by drugs. When things got really bad, I managed a little clean time but to stay clean by myself was impossible.
The consequences were enormous. I lost all ambition. I was in a self destructive whirlwind, working sporadically in dead end jobs. It got to the point that my parents, frightened of what could happen to me, bailed me out of whatever debt I was in. This became a weekly thing and once exceeded £1000.
At twenty-one I went through a drug induced psychosis. I was terrified and paranoid. I tried to attack someone who meant me no harm… I was sectioned, taken by helicopter to hospital, where I was put on a blood drip for 10 days. Were it not for the NHS I could have died. Luckily, I got off my section after a couple of weeks, but chose to stay in hospital another week until I left for a rehab. Sadly, staying in a mental hospital was the safest place for me.
Rehab was hard going but a new beginning. Removed from the drug circles, I picked up some clean time, started to understand what I suffered from. My self-esteem nil, I was in a spiritual void. When I left rehab, although I had some awareness, I was a long way from recovery. When I got home I was lost and isolated with no self-confidence. I did not want to use but I couldn’t handle dealing with life, clean. I went to a counsellor who encouraged me to write a journal. I think a turning point was when I realised I was lying to myself even in my writing (I now know that honesty is the first principle of recovery).
One night I went for a long walk passed the house where I grew up. It felt like I was being guided; I went to my sister’s grave, promised her and God I would be honest from now on. And drug free. I walked by a sign:“Thistle” and knew one day I’d work for the Thistle Foundation (promotes an inclusive society for disabled people). I got myself to a self-help group just before an inevitable relapse, started attending everyday, and doing volunteer work, poster campaigns, hospital visits, etc. My life began to transform. I felt good about myself and I felt part of society. I took on responsibilities. My confidence grew. I could interact with people, instead of dreading contact. Connecting with people was a revelation, rekindling my spirit!
Enjoying life, I looked for a job. I went for an interview with the local council. Despite my previous difficulties (that I was able to be honest about), I got the job. I’m now a learning assistant for youngsters with disabilities and I love it! It is the first time in my life that I have actually got pleasure out of working.
It is not only me who is reaping the rewards of recovery. My mother, who used to worry that I would end up dead or in jail, now glows when she sees me. Her eyes light up. When she thinks of me now, she thinks happy thoughts. I’m no longer a thorn in my family’s side. I’m now a positive influence for my family – instead of a destructive ripple.
For years me and my brother fought viciously. While I was using, we hated each other. Now we enjoy being together. No longer tangled with resentment, we go to the football again. When I used to think of my departed sister I would feel a massive amount of shame, wondering what she would think of me if she were here and also wondering if she somehow could still see me. I believe that she does and that she is now proud of me.
I have a realistic hope that never used to be there: to meet a lovely woman and raise a family. I want to carry on working with youngsters and further myself with more experience and qualifications. I hope to visit my uncle in Australia and travel to New York and meet cousins for the first time. I am twenty three years old; I’ve been clean for twenty months and I have no doubt that I am going to stay clean today.
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