My story featured in RecoveryTimes Issue 3 back in July 2012. I had just come out the other side of a 30 year drug problem, 20 of which was addicted to methadone. I think at that time I had been doing some volunteering and running SMART groups …
As I have continued to get better, my life has too. I started to do more volunteering around the breakfast clubs which take place on a Tuesday and Thursday. I attended training courses on all sorts of subjects including boundaries, safe guarding, recovery, group facilitation etc. I even did a Health and Social Care NVQ level 3 course. I had decided I had something to offer and I really wanted to do more in this field – it felt a natural process. It took a year to do the course.
My old head told me I was never ever good enough to do anything like that – I had never achieved anything like that before. There was certainly an element of being self-defeated before I even started – but I had progressed in my recovery and I knew how to deal with that sort of thinking – I would never find out if I didn’t make a start – so completing the course felt like a massive achievement for me. It is those sort of steps that helps to strengthen your recovery, your self-esteem and confidence.
Two years in to my recovery, I applied for and succeeded in getting a job at conn3ct – a partnership with Horton Housing and The Basement Recovery Project to offer housing, ETE and therapeutic services for people in recovery. My main role was an aftercare worker and I also ran some of the groups. I did a lot of recovery training whilst at conn3ct and gained a lot of experience.
As part of the recent Adult Drug and Alcohol recommissioning process the conn3ct service ceased to exist. Everything was going to be through one main provider (now Calderdale Recovery Steps).
As the recovery landscape in Calderdale changed TBRP were looking for more staff at their CDS (Community Detox Service). I got the job and have been there since February. It is very rewarding. I have a lot of affinity with the detox service, it is now based where the original abstinence community living accommodation was, which I spent some time in during my early recovery days.
Today, I am very active. I attend many fellowship meetings and do a lot of outdoor activities, I have a great relationship with my kids and my family and I have a lovely home. I am doing all the things I always wanted to do – all the things I never thought I could do. Being in full time employment has taught me how to live again; how to be accountable, pay bills, take responsibility, how to take care of myself and live in a community and be a part of society. Working in this environment is not easy. I never expected it to be, and I think that’s what makes it so rewarding.
I still help and participate in many community events – Three Peaks Challenge, Tough Mudder, Basement Jive (fantastic – would recommend it to anyone), camping etc. I spend a lot of time outside of recovery too – time with my family. I have also met a wonderful woman too – I’m actually capable of having a ‘normal’ loving relationship. I say ‘normal’ but there’s no arguing, no drink or drugs, no jealousy, no fights … it’s all based on love and trust and this is the first time it’s not been about me.
Without my recovery, the fellowships, my programme and the work I do – I would not have any of this. Today, I am grateful for my life – I have learnt to love, to give, to appreciate others as a result of loving myself. Life of course has ups and downs, and I’m able to deal with both without thinking of drugs – I shall always consider myself work in progress – I’ve never seen the ‘finished article’ – nobody is perfect.
Article featured in RecoveryTimes issue 9