I am 51 years old and I’ve been addicted to heroin for over half of my life. I actually class myself a “survivor” as most of my generation of drug users are gone due to overdose, HIV or hepatitis. I think maybe a couple may have cleaned up.
I got onto a Methadone script about 10 years ago and it did take the chaos out of my life. But I used the service to prop up my addict lifestyle. I still used heroin and used the excuse that I obviously needed more and more Methadone.
All through this time I was a family man, wife and children. My wife was the constant for our kids. I would be there when needed; just she had to find me first. She was our pillar of strength and a martyr.
Sadly after a short illness, I lost my pillar and I was devastated. Now I don’t have a religious belief but I do believe she would expect me to step up to the plate. I had a great excuse to spiral downward but my kids had lost their mum. I was determined they wouldn’t lose their dad too. They all deserve that I live up to their mother’s expectations and all of a sudden I wanted to be their dad. I’m very lucky they gave me the chance.
So I came to the Shared Care service. Through showing willing and reducing slowly, I met four wonderful ladies at the Way Forward. For the first time in all my dealings with care workers, probation officers, drug counsellors, I felt these people cared about me and my welfare and taught me that whatever the problem the answer was inside me through breaking down any problems.
Staying on the straight and narrow, I am regularly asked my advice or invited to some influential forums. Although they may not implement all my ideas or advice, I feel honoured to be able to be there on behalf of addicts and have a say.
So, if you’re still enjoying ducking and diving then we’re not for you. But if like me you’ve reached that point where you want your life back, then we can give you advice. We have been through it.
And who knows, you might be the next person giving your expert advice and helping Scunthorpe to have a service that can work, if you want it and open up to it.