It’s a daily process of recovery. I’m still in treatment, in a support house, hoping to get my own flat and go back to my normal life. I feel like I’m finding my identity again.
I am an addict and I have been clean 80 days today. You know the story ‘Around the World in 80 days’? That’s me that is. Me and my 80 day journey with Blenheim.
I was born in Kilburn but I don’t remember much. Mum took me and my sister to live with her aunt in New York when dad was shot dead. I was 13 and tried to be brave but I was just broken and crying inside. My dad was my hero….still is. The only thing that came close to filling the emptiness was heroin and it was like smack grew on trees in the neighbourhood we were in. Seemed everyone injected, so I did too.
Took 6 years before mum finally threw me out for good. I’m not proud about how I got the money for a plane ticket to London but somehow in all the chaos I just needed to be back, nearer dad.
Blenheim’s needle exchange was where my 80 days would begin. Mike, a Blenheim volunteer could see how vulnerable I was and in the end I agreed to go to their drop in. With a methadone script topped up with painkillers and cocaine I lived through the ‘street life’ for a few months but Mike could see I wouldn’t last and did everything to keep me going to the project.
It was a kind of miracle that mum tracked me down. She borrowed some money and with Blenheim’s help got me into detox the next day. That was the first of my 80 days. Tomorrow is 81.
Abusive relationships were the only ones I had and knew before I came to Blenheim. Mum tried to bring us all up on her own but her need of the bottle and her bi-polar just made it impossible. I tried to protect my younger brothers, Luke and Leon from her most violent outbursts and also play mum to them, making sure they ate and got to school. I was 7 years old. Then mum was hospitalised and me, Luke and Leon were taken into care. We were all in the same home and I carried on playing the protective mum and got into trouble for it. So I spent time in an approved school and borstal for my efforts in trying to stop my brothers from being beaten up.
My marriage mirrored my upbringing, the violence was all so familiar and I could see that I really had turned into my mum, getting patched up in hospital and taking the drugs and alcohol to block out the pain until the next trip to A&E.
It was death of my older brother, Jim that brought me back to some kind of reality and I knew that I had to move away or I’d be dead next. I was finally relocated and Blenheim was on my new doorstep.
Sticking to my care plan has been the hardest thing I have ever had to do. I nearly gave up 3 months ago when, instead of me being next in line, it was Leon. He died in his sleep. I guess I am a survivor. I’m doing this for Leon now and I am holding on.
I was born in Liverpool and never thought I would leave. My family, mates and football team meant the world to me. It was when I qualified as an electrician that I realised that the work and money was in London so I went for the streets paved in Gold. I was 21 but I felt like a kid at Christmas and just wanted to experience it all and I did. Raves and drugs went hand in hand like, strawberries and cream and Liverpool and the Champions League.
For 14 years I juggled work with clubbing and my drugs. Cutting off from my family was so gradual that the reality and shame didn’t kick in for a long while. It was when I learned that me mam had died through Facebook that something big shifted inside me and I went to my G.P. That’s how I came to Blenheim. It’s in my blood to work hard and I have worked hard at my recovery. I am now a Service User rep and through Blenheim’s Education, Training and Employment programme I have new confidence to go for my dream of being a black cab driver.
I have been clean for 18 months now and cherish it.