Living the dream – my dream
Midway through my second in-patient detox from Heroin, methadone, benzo’s and alcohol, clucking my tits off and wondering if I’d self-discharge (again) I was asked to attend a group that was being held in the TV room. It was either attend this group or sit on the floor in my room upstairs next to the heater with a blanket wrapped around me feeling extremely sorry for myself. For a change I chose to attend the group.
These strange people came into the detox unit like they knew the place and were very friendly with the rest of the staff so I assumed they were drug workers of some kind. We sat in a circle and one of these guys who looked like a complete nutter with a deep scar on his face started talking about how he was once an active alcoholic/addict and some of the mad and crazy things he had got up to as a result of using drugs and alcohol. I liked him straight away. He explained that he and the people who had come along with him had all detoxed in this unit at some time or another and were now members of a fellowship called Cocaine Anonymous (mutual aid) and that they came back every month to help others find recovery. They did this because it helped them stay clean and sober. I really had no idea at the time what this guy meant and left the group at the tea break to sit in my room and remind myself how hard done by and unfortunate I was to end up in a place like this.
Three weeks later, and after completing my detox, I was in a 12-Step rehab where I was forced to attend these mutual aid meetings in the community nearly every night and we had to go around town in groups of a least three people. Boy did I feel like a child or what!
I finished rehab having completed an introduction to the 12-Step programme, got myself a sponsor (because everybody else did) and stayed on in Luton as a mentor / volunteer doing something that was very alien to me. HELPING OTHERS!
I hated Luton, I thought it was a shit-hole and jumped at the chance to move to Bradford for a month and gain some work experience in an in-patient detox unit. I jumped on a coach carrying what possessions I had managed to accumulate in rehab and set off. I thought Bradford was an even bigger shit-hole than Luton!
Two of the guys that worked in the detox unit were also in recovery and attended mutual aid meetings called Narcotics Anonymous and asked me to come along. Within 3 weeks I was offered a full time paid position as a trainee recovery coach. I’d made countless friends and was living in a shared house owned by religious church going people.
Within a year I had all sorts of qualifications and most importantly I was still in recovery. This was when I met the woman of my dreams who happened to be a very talented substance misuse nurse with a passion for recovery. We dated, moved in together, got engaged and recently married (all in the space of 3 years). During this time we had our daughter Alisia who is my world and reminds me every day of why I need to stay in recovery.
I’m now employed by The Basement Recovery Project and am the Project Lead for The Corner in Kirklees. Someone famous once said “if you can find a job you love doing ….. You’ll never have to work again!” Well that’s me. Helping others that are still stuck where I once was is a big part of recovery. I still attend mutual aid fellowship meetings and I’ve learnt how to balance this with taking care of and loving my family. 90% of my friends are in recovery and I recently held the most sober wedding reception you will ever see.
Would I change anything from my past?
Not a chance!
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“Happiness is not a state to arrive at, but a manner of traveling.”