I was adopted and brought up in a loving family. I grew up with three brothers and sisters, a mum and a dad.

Although I was adopted, I felt part of the family and wasn’t treated differently from anyone else. My Dad worked hard and my mum had a full time job caring for us.

I had a rocky relationship with my mum and we fought regularly.  I isolated myself a lot and spent as much time as I could away from her. I quite enjoyed school and didn’t do too badly at the subjects I took. I left school with GCSE’s and went to college. This is where I got carried away with drinking and taking drugs.

I had work and was earning my own money so would get drunk or ‘high’ as much as I could, always at war with my parents. I was always in trouble at work, with the police and with college. I didn’t care how it looked to the rest of the family.

This continued and eventually I was thrown out of home.

The family had had enough. I was on a slippery slope and not in a hurry to get off. I continued to abuse substances and drank on a regular basis, amassing a criminal record and getting thrown out of hostels and fats. I went to prison on a few occasions and brought shame on my family time and time again. I was sacked from countless jobs and lost my way in the world.  

I had periods of abstinence and then would think ‘I’ll just have the one’ and before you knew it, I was back to square one.

As time went on I started to feel sick of that way of life. I wasn’t living, merely existing from day to day. I needed to sort my life out. I went to rehab for a while and got sober. I had a blip about a month after leaving there but got back on track straight away. I remained sober but then started using different substances, eventually that led back to drinking which caused mayhem.

After a lot of denial and heart ache I eventually admitted and accepted that I was an addict and that if I was to get anywhere in life, I was to remain completely abstinent.

I went to a day care and learnt ways to deal with life without substances. I didn’t stay clean all of the time and now and again I did use. The relapses got worse and I nearly ended up in prison. So to prevent this from happening I once again admitted defeat and applied myself to working on my recovery, sometimes a day at a time or minute by minute.

I started to feel hope that I could stay clean and build on a new way of life. I had to deal with life’s ups and downs without resorting to my old behaviours.

I kept going to a mutual aid group and kept myself safe by mixing with others with the same goal as me. I stopped contact with my ‘using’ friends and built up new friendships with people in recovery.

I’ve found real friendships since being in recovery and felt and seen a big change in my physical and mental well being. I’ve now got hope of a better future, I have good relationships with loved ones and I can now be a father to my young son.  

It‘s been hard to get clean and stay clean at times but it’s certainly been worth it. With a bit of hard work and determination I’ve managed to stay clean for over 18 months. My life has completely turned around for the better.

Long may it continue.