Addiction Recovery Stories – Danny
Problem: Drugs and Alcohol
Recovery Time: 10 Months
(at time of publishing)
When did you first start using?
I was 12 or 13 when I first started using substances. At first, my drugs of choice were alcohol and cannabis. My relationship with these quickly developed into habitual using. I smoked cannabis every day and this quickly led me to lose concentration in and motivation for my education.
When did it become a problem?
By the last two years of high school when I was about 15, I was drinking to blackout on a regular basis, alongside smoking weed every day. Life was becoming unmanageable as I was frequently missing school so I could use. This started a journey into recreational use of other substances like speed and ecstasy until I found cocaine at about 17 which, alongside my continued alcohol abuse caused me to drop out of sixth form where I was studying for my A-levels. This kick-started a habit that lasted throughout my adult life.
By this time, I’d lost all control over any substances that came my way. I’d take anything and everything. I lived in chaos wherever I went and all aspects of my life were impacted by my using and drinking. Ketamine was a big issue too and very quickly affected my physical health in addition to my already deteriorating mental wellbeing. This carried on for a number of years until eventually, in my early 20s, I had a serious habit with heroin and crack cocaine.
What made you get help?
I began to engage with recovery services due to my heroin addiction as I needed prescriptions to maintain my habit. I went through the motions to tick the boxes in order to get my script but in hindsight, I had no genuine desire to get and live clean. I had several detoxes and half-hearted attempts at TBRP’s programme during this time. I eventually became desperate to change and get off the drugs but didn’t reach my absolute rock bottom until around July 2019.
I was living back with my Mum, in trouble with the police and with debts owed, I was putting mine and my family’s safety at risk. My physical health was deteriorating. Mentally and emotionally I was worse than ever. I knew I’d had enough so, through my keyworker, I was referred back to the Basement Project.
Why the Basement Recovery Project?
There was a familiarity that offered me some hope in the fact that I knew people who had completed the programme and become employees of TBRP. I also had friends who had been through the Basement Project services and were living clean. Every time I’d thought I wanted to get well in the past, I had thought running away was the only way to do it. This time, I knew that I needed to stop running and try to get well in the place where I’d become so poorly.
Where would you be now?
I honestly believe that right now, if I hadn’t come into recovery, I’d either be in a hospital, a prison cell, homeless or even dead. At the very best, I’d be isolated and miserable using drugs on my own in a room somewhere.
How is life today?
Today, life is better in every aspect. Mentally, life in recovery can be tough but I’m able to cope using the tools I’ve learnt to apply from the Freedom Recovery Programme, groups, staff and peer support. Physically, I’ve surpassed any expectation of where I could get to in a fitness sense and my health in general.
When I first came to the Project, I’d struggle to climb a flight of stairs without getting short of breath. Now, I’m running half marathons thanks to the Couch to 5K programme which is part of the Basement’s wider social activity schedule. I’ve now been offered the opportunity to help others achieve their fitness goals by coaching through the weekly Couch to 5K regime.
My family relationships are healing, particularly with my older brother who’d previously become very distanced from me.
Emotionally, I’m now able to experience real happiness and manage any difficult feelings, again using tools I have been shown through the Basement’s recovery programme.
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“Failure isn’t fatal, but failure to change might be”