In 2001 I fell into structured day-care after my umpteenth self-detox off heroin.

I worked this simple program daily as I just could not return to heroin addiction. This lovely little service based in Leeds did some wonderful work over the years and those who were involved know how much difference it made to people’s lives.

I gave myself space to do this and looked at my whole life.

My family and friends supported me as always.

I made new safe friends and found a place to call home.

I started to volunteer supporting others using art which has helped me so much.
I did lots of solo art exhibitions and after being offered a place on Leeds fine art degree decided to pursue a drugs work career.

I got a job working for the service that had helped me so much. I found it challenging but worked as hard as I could to be the sort of worker I had had (if she ever reads this you where amazing).

I became a step daddy a relationship that I still have today and will always cherish.

I became a biological daddy and was glad of the practice I had had. He was born on the same date that I last used heroin, so it is always a double celebration.

After a few happy years doing group work and art with people I felt I`d done as much as I could and being an ex-service user within a service has its positives, but I wanted to see what else was out there.

I worked in a Doncaster detox for God.

I worked in Barnsley which was my first prescribing job.

I worked in Dewsbury turning a neglected caseload around.

Then finally found my place in Bradford. Working in a dual diagnosis prescribing service. I worked there for 8 years and was not bored in those 8 years. I had always wanted to work on the “Frontline” which is in Manningham and for the NHS which was a personal goal as I have no qualifications.

During that time, I bought my house and made it lovely place for me and my children who stayed twice a week.

I quit smoking over a 5-year period. This was one of the hardest things I have done, and I shouted and got really depressed but did it and am still nicotine free.

Eventually the government decided a service with 120 years of experience was too expensive and spent £440,000 on redundancies. After working so hard to get there I was heartbroken.

I decided to take a year off.

I started drinking scotch daily for about 6 months and my nearest and dearest intervened, so I picked myself up and gave my head a shake. No point in having a year off if you can`t remember it.

I started looking for work and found a job in peer support for people bereaved by homicide. This was challenging but also gave me perspective on my life. After 3 years it made my depression so bad, I left on good terms.

So, after 4 years break from recovery work, I put my CV in and got a temp job in the local structured day-care service. It was wonderful to see people I had supported years ago working at the service and going strong in their recovery. I must say how much I have enjoyed this and may stay if the right post comes up.

During this time, I have never forgotten to keep my eye on my recovery. Seeing people struggle but also succeed in their recoveries has helped my keep my perspective. What is wonderful is seeing those who you have helped then go on to help others, but this is tinged with sadness to those who didn`t make it or are still stuck in the relentless cycle of addiction.

I would like to thank my family and friends for putting up with me and to my beautiful children and grandson and our amazing little dog Peanut who really shows you what life in the now is all about. I spend my free time wondering around with my camera trying to find perfect trees and plan on going to do the Fine Art Degree at some point.

So, from 23rd July 2022 I am heroin free for 21 years. A whole lifetime away and I like to think I have put it to good use.

  • Phil Clay

4 comments on “A LIFETIME OFF HEROIN

  1. You make it enjoyable and you still care for to keep it smart.

  2. An interesting discussion is worth comment. Theres no doubt that that you ought to publish more on this subject matter, it may not be a taboo subject but usually people dont talk about such topics. To the next! Kind regards!!

  3. I needed to thank you for this very good read!! I definitely loved every little bit of it. I have you saved as a favorite to check out new things you postÖ

  4. Karson Haag says:

    Just finished immersing myself in your blog post. Thank you for providing such valuable information – it was truly enlightening!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *