Day 28 of Recovery Month brings us the journey of Ilidio. Today is Ilidio’s 1 year clean time birthday which makes today’s story extra special for himself .We hope you enjoy the read!

My drug use started from a young age in Canada. From starting off smoking weed, I progressed to harder drugs such as cocaine. My drug use led to trouble with the law as I was deported to Portugal. In a short space of time, I went from being young and happy to a devastated deportee.

In Portugal, where I lived for 10 years, I managed to be clean for 4 years but developed a gambling habit. During that same period, I had been married and then divorced and my life went from being somewhat structured to erratic. After the divorce, my life spiraled out of control even more; I was admitted to hospital following an overdose where my life was close to ending. A possible re-birth, second chance at life was handed to me; after being released from hospital, I wasted the opportunity as soon as it was in my grasp, I was drinking and taking drugs again. I made my way back to Canada as there was a discrepancy in my passport. Immigration caught up with me and so I was deported back to Portugal. My life at this point was at breaking point once again; there was a definite need for a change.

I made my way to London with my girlfriend but when my girlfriend left me, my life started to deteriorate once again, a glimmer of hope vanished right before my eyes. Gambling and alcohol were a massive issue once more. Obtaining alcohol and gambling was not regulated as much as it was in Canada or Portugal; they were going to be the reason that my life crumbled beneath me. I was in and out of hostels, sleeping on park benches, knowing I needed help but did not know how to get it. My sister never gave up on me and, through a friend, got into contact with Steve Dixon; I hoped and prayed that this was going to be the turning point in my faulty life.

So, I made my way to Birmingham and to Changes UK. I was actively using at this point and although I managed to get myself clean for a few days, I relapsed the night before the official day I was meant to move in. That was it, no more excuses and complacencies, I had to sort myself out for a few days to at least give myself the chance to get help. I managed to get clean for long enough to get into Changes UK; I was so lucky that I managed to do this, as on the first day, I knew I was meant to be at Changes. I don’t have any idea where my life would have led if I didn’t get into Changes.

I was at Changes UK with nothing bar some clothes and some spare pants and socks, but the love I felt instantaneously meant that I was going to see this through. I felt a spark again as I felt my life was going to be re-ignited and Changes UK did just that; the treatment process at Changes UK changed my life, it gave me the opportunity to improve myself as a person.

The way Changes helped me in my recovery process was an understanding of how all aspects of my addiction were dealt with, be it through the physiological aspects of it to the spiritual. Most of all the love I felt from everyone was essential to my ongoing recovery; I really grew from my work with the senior recovery coach, Christy. He brought a lot of insight to me around my thinking and how psychology plays a big role in my life and I was truly educated on a lot of issues be it as a child to now. I and many others did not realise how adult behaviour stems from your upbringing; insecure relationships with parents mean that adult relationships can suffer, as often the relationship with parents acts as a foundation for future relations. These relationships are not exclusive to intimate relationships but also how people behave with friends, this realisation has really opened my eyes to making sure I treat everyone with love and kindness.

I am now back in work and soon my partner is coming to the UK and we are due to get married. I feel so honoured to have as much love in my life as I currently do, as many opportunities to have love before were thrown away. Although I know I have a lot of work still to do, I feel as if I have got my life back and am loving life. I can’t ask for much more, as life is important and you only get one chance; love must be felt in life as otherwise it would be ruined.

I have now been clean for a year, a milestone for which I would like to give a massive thanks to Changes UK and all the staff and friends I have made during my journey. My life would be the polar opposite of what it is now if it wasn’t for everyone!