At around 13 I started hanging around the local shops drinking, smoking and fighting. Everyone I used to hang around with did the same and it just seemed normal to me. One day my friend offered me an aerosol to sniff. I enjoyed it and it started to become a regular thing. Over the next few years I progressed onto all sorts of drugs, Weed, Speed, Acid, E’s and Magic mushrooms. When I got to around 18 I tried crack for the first time and loved the buzz but hated being wired afterwards so I started using heroin to bring me down. This was the beginning of a 20 year addiction. I ended up in and out of prison but it still didn’t stop me. At my worst I was homeless for around 20 months and I was begging on the streets. The last time I was sent to prison something in my head clicked. Everybody was smoking Spice which I didn’t take. For once I was the one with a straight head watching everyone else out of their heads. When I came out of prison my mind-set was totally different to before I went in. It was almost as if a 20 year fog had been lifted. I got accommodation at the YMCA and followed a methadone programme. I came into Foundations and had my script arranged and was fuming to find out I also had to attend groups. Very reluctantly I did as I was asked by Foundations and was very surprised to find it worked for me. I was ready to do it myself and for the first time in years I felt I also had the tools to do so. I have now been clean for around 18 months and off methadone for about 12 months. I started volunteering at Foundations as a peer mentor helping others realise they too can change. I am now in full time employment and have made contact with my daughter who I hadn’t seen in about 18 years. I now have a lovely family including 2 gorgeous granddaughters. I know my addiction will always be there but I know how to handle it better plus there’s no way on earth I’d throw away what I have now for drugs.

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