It all started at the age of four. My mum and dad split up and I was brought up by a bunch of addicts – aunties, uncles, cousins, and my mum – who put me in front of a TV whilst they all took drugs in the kitchen.
They were injecting heroin and crack and that basically did my belief system in because I thought that was acceptable.
I picked up my first substance when I was nine years of age.
My sister and her friends used to go clubbing and they’d take ecstacy and drink beer, so I’d go over and pinch their beer, take it upstairs and sip away at it, thinking it was normal. Then later on I started smoking weed and by the age of 10 I was doing an eighth a day. That then led me down the path of picking up other substances.
Between 10 and 18 I took just about every recreational drug there is – cannabis, drink, amphetamines, LSD, magic mushrooms, ecstacy, cocaine, benzodiazepine – because I thought it was acceptable.
When I hit 18, I got introduced to heroin, which I’d previously said I’d never do, because I saw family members taking it and it was easy to get hold of.
I then went to prison for a serious crime – I got three and a half years for robbery – and stayed there until I was 21. When I got out, I hooked up with my mates again and thought I could change and start doing what they did, which was having a drink and sniffing a bit of coke. But it always ended up taking me back to the same thing – heroin.
I ended up in psychiatric wards on anti-psychotics, steroids and methodone scripts, so I’ve had a lot of chemicals in my life. I’ve been sectioned three times in total. The third and last time my dad had just started taking heroin at the age of 48 so I decided to join in with him, and that’s what brought me to my knees. We were taking heroin together in a flat, and isolated ourselves from the rest of the world. That led to me getting sectioned and they wouldn’t let me out because I’d become a danger to myself and to the public.
I got offered detox and a rehab but wasn’t willing to do it because I was still taking all sorts of drugs. It was mainly other people’s medication – I didn’t even know what it was most of the time – but that’s the addict in me. I’d take anything as long as it changed the way I felt. Eventually, I did decide to do the detox and something happened to me whilst I was there. Basically, I’d had enough.
I ’d stopped using and I just wanted to die because my life had become completely unmanageable.”
After the detox, I got offered the chance to go to a rehab and that’s how I ended up here.
Fourteen months ago I was a broken man. I had nothing to offer and was spiritually bankrupt. I couldn’t interact with people, and had low self-esteem. But what THOMAS has taught me is it’s an inside job. It’s not about what’s going on on the outside, it’s about what’s happening on the inside, and that’s what the 12 Steps Programme teaches you.
I’ve started doing a lot of voluntary work, such as feeding the homeless, and I’m giving something back to the community. I call it doing God’s work and I want to help others like me through this process.
I feel fortunate that I was able to get this help at 28 because if I’d carried on using, I probably wouldn’t be here now. I was very suicidal and tried to take my own life on a number of occasions because I’d had enough and didn’t know who I was anymore.
Thankfully, I’m starting to find out who I am through THOMAS. I’ve been clean for 14 months now and I’ve never experienced being clean for this amount of time before. I’ve got everything back in my life again, such as positive family members like my nieces and nephews, and I’ve got a new partner, who is going through this process as well. THOMAS has quite literally saved my life and I can’t give back to THOMAS what THOMAS has given to me.