My journey into Drugs wasn’t like the ones I usually hear about, for me it wasn’t fun, exciting, or to fit in.

My introduction to Heroin was unpleasant, violent and painful.

Let me try to explain…..  I left home at 16 and went to live with my Nan, at this point I was going to school every day and had plans to be a Forensic Pathologist. But I started hanging around the estate at night and soon started bunking off school to get high and be a Jackass!

Weed and Alcohol became my main focus in life. By the time it came to do my GCSE Exams I was stoned most of the time, I still did the exams and got good grades. I was also pregnant at this point. I had very little contact with the father through my pregnancy but we started living together when our daughter was 3 months old.

Things were fine at first (I didn’t know he had a Heroin habit!) but things soon turned nasty! There were numerous incidents of domestic violence and it was after one of these he offered me Heroin to numb the pain. Using became a massive part of my live, to cope with the physical and emotional pain caused by this relationship but I couldn’t see a way out.

He went to prison and I went to live with my mother, I was so destroyed by drugs I could no longer be a mum so my daughter stayed there and I left to pursue the drugs.

It pains me to this day admitting Heroin was more important at this point than my daughter was, but that’s the reality of Addiction.  

That’s when things really took a dive!! I had nowhere to live, a habit with no idea how to fund it. I started living rough and selling the Big Issue, through this I met other people in my situation who could ‘teach me the ropes’ and I learned quite quickly how to adapt and survive that lifestyle.

They were staying in this big old derelict house and I joined them there, we lived in that place for quite a while. It was safe, out of town and we could secure it so was able to get it something like home.

During this time I made many efforts to get clean, detox, rehab, jail and hospital.

All failed, I would be clean for a while but always returned to the street and drugs. The only life I knew and felt safe in. I continued in this madness until 2008 when I got my own place, finally I had somewhere to call home! I loved that house, my own door (that I had the key to!) windows and my own possessions! I was happy there.

I met a guy in April 2009 who I fell for instantly, love at first sight…hell yes!  At last life seemed complete, but it too was to end in a horrible way. On 23rd Sept 2009 I woke up early and went downstairs to make a coffee, next thing I know the front door has gone through and there’s about 20 armed police rushing into the house. They arrested my partner for murder and although I wasn’t under arrest I too was taken in for questioning. To say I was shocked is putting it mildly, I knew nothing about it until that moment.

Turns out an incident happened one night while he was out grafting. He was given a life sentence and I once again found myself alone, I coped the only way I knew how….lots and lots of drugs!!

But something had changed within me, I no longer wanted to be this person. But I didn’t know how to change;

I started by sticking to my Methadone ‘Script. I moved house for a fresh start away from the memory of what my partner had done and I was fine for a while but I had no social network  so to be around people I started using again regularly, once again killing loneliness with drugs!

I started going to Multiple Choice in March 2013; that set things in motion for where I am now. I was doing groups everyday and meeting new people, I loved it but wanted more from life so I did the Peer Mentor Training. This opened up other doors; I started volunteering for a homeless charity which I have a lot of gratitude for because I genuinely believe I would not have survived 10 years on the street without their help and support!

Soon other services took me on as a volunteer too, all this while still on a ‘script, but I didn’t want to be on medication. I was full of fear around getting off my Methadone but knew it had to be done, I switched to Subutex because I was having health issues with Methadone. 

Through Multiple Choice I heard about Recovery’s Got Talent, I went along not really knowing anyone but needed to get out of the house. I’m really into music and there was this band playing, they were fantastic! I met a few folk and was meeting them for coffee and stuff, after a couple of months I was asked if I wanted to see the band play again at The New Roscoe just before New Years. I went and was totally amazed by how many people were NOT drinking, it was alien to me!

The gigs I usually go to everyone but me is completely hammered!

So I asked a friend if he would take me with him to NA because I wanted what they had! Finally I had found other people similar to myself, who understood what I was feeling and accepted me as I am. I kept coming to meetings and after a while I felt confident to do a home detox, I knew I would have the support I so desperately needed.

I started my detox on 10th Feb 2014, I was blown away by how much people were there for me, and wanting nothing in return. I had never had that before, I thought I had friends when I was in active addiction but I now know they were acquaintances.

But today I have true friends, people who want the best for me and are always there to help me when my head is wrecked! (which is quite often at the minute!)  

I have been totally abstinent now since 20th Feb 2014 and some days life just doesn’t seem real because it is so vastly different today, I actually enjoy life again instead of just existing. I also have the freedom to be myself, the person I want to be not what I have to. I can’t believe services want me to work for them, I’ve done loads of training and am slowly becoming employable!

So there it is, a summary of my journey through Addiction.

If you take anything from it I hope it’s this….There is a way out of active addiction, I’m living proof!!