I DISCOVERED A SOLUTION TO A PROBLEM
I can still remember the intense pleasure I felt when I was introduced to hash at the age of thirteen. It was as if a light had gone on, showing me a way of coping, unlike anything else I had experienced. I recall lying in bed that night, trying to work out how I could get some more. Little did I know that this thought was going to dominate my life for the next forty-four years.
My childhood was not easy and I developed a 'poor me' attitude very early. I was so envious of other children who had normal lives. My life was different and I felt it set me apart from everyone. I don't remember ever experiencing any real joy. Life was just hard work. In hindsight, I can see that happiness is an inside job and perhaps I would still have felt dissatisfied with life even if it had been 'normal'. Sadly, that realisation didn't occur to me until very late in life.
Life became unbearable when I was fourteen and I ran away from home. That's when my drug-taking career really took 0ff. Over the next few months. I experimented with alcohol, speed, cocaine, acid, mushrooms and a variety of uppers and downers. In the middle of this intense period, I was brought back by the police and placed in a children's home for a few weeks. All of a sudden, I was without my drugs, my coping agents. I was left with my thoughts and feelings and no way of dealing with this tortured state. At that point I realised how important drugs actually were to me. When I was returned home, I resolved never to be without drugs again if I could possibly help it. I maintained that resolve to the best of my ability until I was forty.
I didn't spend much time in school after that. It interfered far too much with real life - taking drugs and having fun! I left at sixteen and left home the same week. I muddled through the next few years, having good times and bad times. The only constant in my life was drugs.
I married aged 20. My husband wasn't around much. He officially left ten years later, leaving me with four children to look after. Times were hard, so I came up with the brilliant idea of getting some cash work in a pub. My drinking escalated and I continued with bar work when I moved the family to the city, where I studied for a while. I was also heavily involved in the illegal rave scene that was springing up at that time. That's when I introduced ecstasy to the mix. I couldn't get enough of the music, the anarchy, the excitement and all that drug-induced 'love'!
For a while, I thought everything was going really well. In the midst of my madness, I had still managed to set up a successful business. I was working hard and playing hard, but it was all at the expense of my family and my teenage daughters were becoming unmanageable. 'Poor me' I would moan at anyone who would listen.. 'Haven't I suffered enough over the years? Why do things always go wrong? Life is so unfair! I need more drugs to help me cope'. This twisted thinking continued until I found myself alone, aged thirty-eight, with hardly any contact with my family.
I sank into a bleak, downward spiral of remorse, shame and self-pity. I could not understand how my life had come to this. I had experienced some times over the years when I thought It might be a good idea to slow down a bit with the drug-taking, but I used to bury those thoughts after unsuccessful attempts of controlled using. I was so full of self-loathing. I couldn't see the point of my existence. That's when I picked up heroin. I loved it. It did a fantastic job of keeping my feelings at bay, as well as bringing me down from crack. It worked really well for me for a short while. I was still earning good money, so I was able to maintain my habit, but within 2 years, I was in a very dark place. I had accumulated thousands of pounds worth of debt and I was rapidly crossing many lines of what I considered acceptable behaviour. My life had shrunk to getting up really early to use before work, wasting my breaks dashing to another area to use again, picking up on the way home and using till I passed out, Outside of work, I avoided speaking to anyone wherever possible, apart from loan companies and dealers.
Over the next fifteen years, I tried to solve my problem. I attended two rehab centres, three inpatient detoxes, tried three community detoxes and suffered through countless cold turkeys. Sometimes, I managed to stay clean for a while on sheer willpower, or by attending some 12-step fellowship meetings, but I could never stay stopped. Life without drugs was too hard. I did find light at the end of the tunnel for a while, when I was introduced to a member of Drug Addicts Anonymous and I embraced the programme of recovery that was on offer wholeheartedly. However, once I started to feel a bit better, I stopped making my recovery my number one priority and inevitably, I picked up again. 'Just the one' I promised myself, yet again. That relapse lasted three years. I experienced some severe consequences during that time and at the end of it, I was utterly defeated and willing to do anything. As I had found some relief before at DAA, I returned to the fellowship. This time, I stopped listening to my own head. I listened to the experiences of other drug addicts at the meetings and took guidance from a sponsor, someone who was willing to show me how she had recovered. I discovered a solution to my problem.
Today, I have hope. I have been released from the obsession to use drugs. I have found some peace and a new way to live. I enjoy my life and the future excites me!