Addiction Recovery Stories – Donna
When did you start taking drugs?
I’ve smoked cannabis since I was 17. I guess I enjoyed it at first; it just became a habit like smoking cigarettes. I had tried heroin before when I was about 18 or 19 but never really gave it much thought. Yeah I got a high, but just went back to my cannabis… but five or six years later …
Why did you?
… I guess I always had a rebellious streak within me. I think that stems from being abused by my dad when I was younger. Mum didn’t want to know about the abuse and tried to sweep it under the carpet until eventually she listened and we had to go to court over it. It was on the way to court that I found out he was not my real dad, but my step-dad. My real dad had died many years ago. The only person I could ever talk to about it was my Grandma, though I didn’t as time went by.
My step-dad died (because of alcohol) on the same day my daughter was born. I guess I didn’t have time to grieve, if that’s the right word. Grandma died three and a half years later so maybe there was a joint grieving process in that I could no longer talk to my Grandma about the abuse and that my step-dad had gone and it could no longer happen again anyway.
I started drinking about one and a half years after my daughter was born, it got silly and out of hand, to the point of drinking a litre of whiskey every day. . I had lost a lot of weight and generally wasn’t happy with life. I started to neglect myself and my daughter. Friends and family were concerned about my health and I ended up being referred to the Dales at Calderdale hospital. I was told I didn’t have a problem because I only drank whiskey. It wasn’t until my husband left with my daughter that I actually realised just how bad things had got. I managed to stop drinking.
One day, I couldn’t get hold of any cannabis so a mate of mine said they could get some heroin. I thought, well ok, I’ve tried it before and I was ok with it, it will do until I can get some more cannabis.
Well, after four months I was addicted. Initially it gave me a high, made me feel good, boosted my confidence and just made me chill.
What made you get help?
I was becoming ‘not a nice person’, uncaring and lazy until I had had a smoke. I could only function with heroin in my system. Coming down from a hit there was the self-pity – everything just seemed shit. It felt like I had flu all the time; sweating, sneezing, shaking, runny nose, hot and cold and constant aching. I was climbing the walls without my heroin. My husband was the same. He didn’t want to go to work. But his work paid for the heroin. We were both going downhill and fast.
Why The Basement Project?
My doctor referred me to somewhere called Triage who did some assessment on me. They referred me to SMS who put me on a methadone script. I was on methadone for about two years. It stopped the rattles but in my head I still needed to ‘smoke the foil’. I had never passed a clean test so they kept putting up my script. In two years my script had doubled. I couldn’t go on like this.
My husband had tried to get a detox through the system and was told there were no places until April. ‘A good excuse for me to carry on then’, I though. But he found The Basement Project, and started on their pre-recovery sessions. He started to change. There were little things I noticed and things he would say about taking drugs. I could see the impact it was having on him. He got into detox and carried on through the abstinence programme, would come home and watch me smoke my heroin. How could he do that and not want some himself? Well if he could do it, I could do it. So I followed behind and started on the pre-recovery course myself. I’ve never looked back.
Where would you be now?
If it wasn’t for The Basement Project I would still be at home, lying on the couch, out of my head on heroin. Would have lost my husband and my daughter, my dignity, self-respect, house – I would have lost everything.
How are you now?
I’m real good. Life is good. I’m looking forward to the future. I’m looking at re-training so I can get into counselling and help others.
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“Our thinking and our behaviour are always in anticipation of a response. It is therefore fear-based.”