Today is Day 20 of Recovery Month. We are bringing you the journey of our very own Marie. A truly inspirational story and we hope you enjoy it!

I was born in Glasgow and honestly, I believe I was not born an addict. I was raised an only child and the issues began when I was 14 years old, I found out that I was not an only child and my father was not my biological father. My mother and stepfather broke up and my mother went to live with my biological father, then after a while was back with my step-father.

I did not like school and wanted to leave as soon as possible, the best part of school was my childhood sweetheart but, unfortunately, I had to hide this from my parents as it was frowned upon. When I left school, I became a hairdresser and I worked for myself and many successful hairdressing businesses.

At the age of 18 my two brothers, which only a few years previous I did not know existed, came to stay with the family. It was at this age I had my first drink – I hated it. A year later the family discovered my relationship with my partner; my step-father beat me for a week solid, obviously he was against it!!!

At the tender age of 20, I ran away from home and although took party drugs occasionally, I didn’t feel it was a problem. Sadly, my childhood sweetheart was shot twice and died, this started my issue with heroin as I wanted to feel numb. My life then went from miserable to utterly horrendous as the other dependable figure in my life, my mother, unfortunately passed away only four weeks later form cancer.
My world died with these two. The most important things in my life had disappeared, I just didn’t want to care anymore. The self-destruction began and at one point I was beaten up in Glasgow to the point where my spleen was ruptured.

I had then left Glasgow and travelled all around the UK, never staying in one place for more than 2 months. I had also travelled to the Czech Republic, Spain and Germany but never remained clean or settled. It was about 8 years ago, I unexpectedly landed in Birmingham where I completed many a detox but was not clean nor sober for any substantial amount of time.

In Moseley, I was left for dead and that lead to a hospital detox of which there were many before. I didn’t want to stay in Birmingham as I was had previously been mugged and badly beaten where I ended up in hospital for 3 weeks. When I was discharged from hospital I was sick and tired on travelling and so decided to stay. Amongst the large amounts of darkness that Birmingham brought I faced my fears and although I knew it was going to be a long journey, I was not going to let it get the better of me.

Approximately 5 or 6 years ago, after my hospital detox, I arrived at Changes UK. I lasted 40 days in the supported housing as I didn’t feel comfortable; being homeless for years and years had instilled the fear of structure, stability and responsibilities, even just having my own key.
I was used to travelling and sleeping rough constantly, I refused a bed and wouldn’t have a set of my own keys; I hated having the responsibility for myself and others that comes with owning a key. Sleeping in a bed was very alien to me. To open the door, I had to ask other residents or staff to let me in, this was all part of the fear I felt.

As days on went on, I started to feel better in myself but still was not sleeping in ‘MY’ bed. A few more days went past, I was overwhelmed and didn’t want to stop drinking. I was stubborn and felt that if I was going to deal with my addiction then I would deal with it alone with no help from anyone. I left and was back using again…

It was painful going back into using but it was the only thing that I knew to make my feel better about myself. A few years went by after leaving supported housing, I was straight back on the streets, homeless and back fully in addiction.
I now knew about recovery and so during this time I went to meetings. The meetings were, I felt, a waste of my time, however, they were a safe place for me to go even if was just for that hour. I was always full of drink and drugs when I went but liked to go and see people I had met previously – a network.

It took me many years to get clean but in those years, I was willing to try and stay put. I despised staying in one place as I had never before stayed anywhere this long. I knew I had to face my problems. I was my own problem.
40 months ago, after completing a 1st & 2nd stage recovery in Hockley and then completing 3 months in third stage recovery, I was on the mend. I soon got my own place and started working at Changes UK in Clarity House as a peer mentor for just over a year and soon after was offered a full-time job at Recovery Central as the Recovery Academy Coordinator, which made me feel truly honoured and ‘on top of the world’ little old me was now a productive member of society.

I now have multiple positives in my life, I have my bike ‘Robin’(which I couldn’t imagine being without now although she has thrown me off on quite a few occasions) I see this as a challenge, as the saying goes if you fall off your bike you should get straight back on it, same goes for recovery, give it one more try and’ ALWAYS’ one more try.

Life is finally getting good again as it used to be when I was little. I love travelling and going on lots of holidays. It’s no longer doom and gloom. I have learnt to live life on life’s terms quite productively, as I pay all my bills independently and have a bed I actually sleep in and a key I put in the lock and turn myself. I do still struggle to sleep in my bed at times, but at least I own one. I never realised during my early recovery that It would be possible to stay clean, and have all that I have now.