Inexcess: In search of recovery

Help and support for people and families
dealing with drug and alcohol problems

Carers

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Video: Adele’s Story - Never Give Up Giving up


Thursday, November 4th, 2010

I started using cannabis at 16, six months later I was introduced to heroin. It wasn’t a pleasant experience the first time I smoked it and I swore it wouldn’t happen again. But it did. For the next four years I used it ‘recreationally’ and didn’t develop a habit.

I went to college when I was 18 for two years and achieved five City and Guilds qualifications in hotel and catering, but I was always drawn to drugs.

At 20 I met my partner and the father of my two children, at which point we both became chaotic heroin addicts juggling our addiction with raising our boys. Eventually he stopped using heroin, stuck to his methadone and got a job.

I didn’t stop, and still used on top of my methadone. I was making a lot of money shoplifting to pay for it, but the more money I made the more I used. I was a mess. I tried so many times to stop using but it was always for somebody else, never for my-self and so it went on for years.

In 2005 I bumped into a friend, he was an ex user who had become a drug worker. I had stopped using heroin by this time and was sticking to my script. He asked me what I was doing with my life? I was bored and didn’t know what to do. He suggested I try volunteering and gave me a number for a mainstream drug service.

So I plucked up the courage and went down to see their structured day programme. As soon as I walked in I knew I wanted to work with people with substance misuse problems.

They took me on and things went great. I spoke to my key worker about going into a detox unit, and was told I could do it home, so my methadone was reduced a couple of mil each month. But it was taking too long for me so I started reducing it myself, and six months later I was prescription drug free. I did it and I felt great, other than a bit of depression, but I got support for that.

Christmas 2006 I was about seven months into my recovery when my partner started getting on my case saying I was neglecting him and not giving him any attention. H told me I needed to go back onto methadone. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. “No chance” I said but that caused our relationship to fall apart and eventually I dumped him.

My eldest son was stabbed and beaten up, my youngest son was expelled from school.

My family, everything I held dear to me collapsed around me and I was powerless to stop it, my eldest son was stabbed and beaten up, my youngest son was expelled from school.

I felt so guilty, and for a long time I blamed myself, believing that if I hadn’t become drug free that none of it would have happened! But it did and I had to deal with it, during that time not once did I ever think about picking up. There was no way I could go back to that life, the very thought made me shudder.

I remember someone saying to me once, that drug users are all weak. It’s only when I went home and reflected on this comment that I thought to myself “weak! I think not” living in addiction takes strength and courage, we put ourselves in harm’s way every single day in one way or another, but once that strength and courage is channelled into recovery so much can be achieved. But it’s not enough to just want it, you have to do it, and you have to do it for yourself.

I worked hard for the drug service for four years, achieving levels 2 and 3 substance misuse qualifications. I applied for so many jobs in the field only to hit brick walls, out of dozens and dozens of vacancies I applied for I only had one interview. There seemed to be so much discrimination and stigma, I had had enough and left volunteering in 2009. I had all but given up and felt so lost and use-less, I just didn’t know what to do.

I was 43 years of age with a drug past and a criminal record, who would even consider employing me.

I’ve learnt over the past few years that life can be difficult and challenging at times but with practice, patience, drive and determination you can learn to deal with it.

My youngest son is now a heavy cannabis user, he is almost 17 and I don’t know what to do, I have tried to get him help but he won’t engage with any services. It’s so frustrating and breaks my heart because most of the time I blame myself.

I have moved on now and started volunteering for a different treatment service. It’s brilliant and uses a different approach to drug and alcohol addiction.

I feel like I’ve been given another chance, and after my confidence and self worth had dropped to zero, it’s now starting to come back. There seems to be hope once again because I never gave up, or ever will. And that’s my message to anyone in addiction, never give up giving up, eventually you will get there.

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Category: Carers Duration: 5:02


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