As part of National Storytelling Week (1st-8th of February), we asked for stories from our service users, past and present. C was kind enough to share her story with us.

“From the age of 13 I found cannabis through mating around with the older kids in my area. I remember the first time I smoked it I felt like all my worries were healed. This didn’t last too long, however. I soon realised smoking cannabis wasn’t enough to escape the pain that lay dormant inside of me, so I then progressed onto cocaine. The same again – it took away the pain for a short time but not fully. Then at the age of 15 I found heroin. The first time I took it, I felt invincible. I believed my search was over. Little did I know the chaos and destruction this drug would do to me.

When I did find out the damage I would cause by being addicted to heroin it never stopped. If anything, I would take more just to hide away from all the pain I was causing. I estranged myself from my family; I had 2 sons during my addiction and I had abandoned them to my drug use. My life became a cycle of jails and institutions. I would do anything just to use. No amount of love for my family would stop me using, no number of shiny things would have stopped me using. I believed this was me forever so I might as well be as ruthless as I could be. During my using I was raped quite regularly through working on the streets. I slept rough as I was homeless and I saw a lot of death. All that pain I had never stopped. Realistically I was dying but that is all I could dream of. I didn’t want to live but I didn’t have the courage to die either. I was stuck in a world of pain – lonely, isolated from society and existing rather than living. I wouldn’t even make it to appointments to get on a methadone script. All my days were consumed by when I could score, where I could get money and wondering where I was sleeping that night.

One day I was begging in the centre of a town I was new to and an elderly gentleman came up to me and asked me what I wanted most in life. I answered him honestly and told him I wished for death. He replied to me that “God had plans” for me. Those little words stuck in my head. That night I went back to my friend’s and we all used and overdosed, but I was the only one who woke up. I believe those two incidents happened for a reason.

The day after I went to the hospital because I had an inflamed leg due to intravenous drug use. At the hospital I found out I was heavily pregnant. I could start to believe that I deserved a better life, so whilst in hospital I was in touch with services and they helped me up to my daughter’s birth. After my daughter was born, she was taken straight from the hospital by social services, however I hadn’t lost hope. I really believed this was my time to sort my life out. With the help of Inspire I was put into a detox centre then into a 12-step rehabilitation centre. That is where I found out who I was. After using for so long and from such a young age, I didn’t know who I was anymore. I was on a new journey of discovery, rebuilding broken relationships with family, seeing my kids again and becoming a trusted member of society. I found the gift of choice – I never had that when I was using. Today I help other addicts either through mutual aid groups or volunteering. I have now been accepted to start university. All this stuff was beyond my reach during my addiction but today I have the choice to live and that is what I try to do daily. I now know I am not just recovering from addiction but also recovering from trauma and by using mutual aid groups I can recover from all of the dark stuff. It can no longer control me. “

If you have concerns about your own, or someone else’s, drug & alcohol use, you can make a referral using the self-referral form on our home page. You can also call us on 01254 495014 to book an appointment or drop in to Inspire House between 9:30am and 12:30pm, Monday to Friday, for an assessment.

Categories: Case studies

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