I met Cath a couple of months after moving to Burnley. I’d done what they call ‘a geographical’. I thought leaving my drug using friends and family in Scotland would solve all my problems. To be fair, in a way it did. Well, for about two years.
We went out a few times with friends before we started dating. The time I spent with Cath just felt right. Within seven months we were married. All was going well until I found drugs again and started experimenting with cannabis. I thought I only had a problem with heroin, and that was well in the past by now so everything else would be fine. Someone I worked with used to smoke weed, so I got him to get me some – I soon needed more, and then more. It wasn’t long before I wanted, well needed, heroin again.
One of my brothers came to stay with us for a few months. Put two addicts together (yes my brothers were addicts too), and it wasn’t long before we were both enabling each other to use. Cath had no conception of what addiction was, and neither did I at the time. After two years our daughter was born. I made various attempts to stop using but I just couldn’t. How I managed to keep a job I’ll never know. My using got worse and for the next twelve years Cath tried to support me the best she could. But as good as she was, even she had to give up and admit defeat in the end.
Cath moved out. I turned inward, feeling sorry for myself, my using spiralling out of control. She moved on with her life, met someone else and re-married. I went to prison – for four and a half years. In all that time, I came to the conclusion that I had tried all the easy ways of giving up drugs but with no real success. I contacted a charity in Blackburn called Thomas Project who offered me a place in rehab upon release. I went as soon as I got out of prison and spent eight months with them and eventually moved into my own place. Though I had managed to get clean in prison, Thomas Project gave me the solution to stay clean.
I met a new partner and we had a son together. I was with her for about five years before the relationship broke down. That’s when I moved to Halifax.
I received a text out of the blue from Cath – she had heard via Facebook that my brother had died of a heart attack in prison. She said she was there for support if I needed it. I text back saying something along the lines of, if I did contact her it would be for reasons from the heart. She rang me immediately and we chatted for about an hour. The spark was still there. Cath was in the process of splitting up with her husband and it wasn’t long after that that we arranged to meet up as old friends. We soon realised the spark was more than just a spark so we starting seeing each other again. The intensity increased and eight months later Cath decided to move to Halifax so we could spend more time together. Some months later I asked Cath to marry me. She agreed because, in her own words, said she had her ‘old Tom’ back. We got married on 31st May 2014 surrounded by family, old friends and new friends.
From all at TBRP, congratulations Tom and Cath and all the very best for the future.