From the age of 14, I regularly used cannabis and alcohol. By the age of 18, I was taking cocaine and ecstasy regularly. By the age of 28, I had become addicted to crack cocaine and heroin. My life had spiralled out of control and I couldn’t even see the damage it was doing to those around me. Crime became my main source of income and prison became my home away from home.
After years of living like this I decided that enough was enough and that my cycle of self-destruction could not continue. I made the choice to contact Recovery Near You to gain support to deal with my addiction. I was assessed quickly and allocated a key worker, a non-medical prescriber and a doctor. A care plan was agreed which mapped out what I needed to do for the next few weeks. By December 2012, I had overcome my addiction and was no longer suffering from heroin withdrawal symptoms.
In January 2013 I decided to set myself some goals in order to move my life forward. I was put in touch with the Wolverhampton Service User Involvement Team (SUIT) and I started to volunteer with them. This gave me a chance to use my own experiences to help others going through similar difficulties. I received training, gained qualifications and had the opportunity to represent service users at a national level and influence decision makers. In 2014 SUIT was awarded the Queens Award for Voluntary Service for their work with people struggling with drug and alcohol misuse. I am now working for Recovery Near You as a support worker.
I am no different to anyone else in Wolverhampton. I just decided to make a choice and follow it through because I wanted a better life for myself and the people I cared about.