Before I came to Changes, I was clueless and full of fear of what life might be like staying clean off drink and drugs. Before I got clean, my life was completely broken and one big mess, my life was chaotic and my lifestyle was horrible. I had no idea how to live a life without drink and drugs.
I started taking drugs from a pretty young age, I had no experience of life and how to live it properly. I got clean in July 2008 at a treatment centre in Wales and completed the program after 6 months. I then moved into a shared house. Leaving treatment to face life on its own terms seemed a fearful and daunting prospect. The thought of having responsibilities to take care of was scary and moving into a shared house without any routine and structure was going to be difficult. I still had no living skills, I failed to pay my rent and got in a lot of debt, I had no idea how to manage money and so got into trouble with gambling. Simple things like cooking, cleaning, washing clothes and taking care of myself just added to the stress of trying to stay clean. Loneliness was felt every time I went back to the shared house and soon after, I unfortunately started using again.
I continued using drugs for 3 long, painful, lonely months until I was rescued by the treatment centre where I did another 6 months. I just wanted to be free from it all. I wanted to live a new life. So, the same scary, daunting feeling was approaching fast again and I panicked and wanted to escape to the armed forces where I thought that I would be taken care of and wouldn’t have to face the responsibilities on my own. I applied for the armed forces but got rejected. The decision was to move into another shared house, I had no choice and moved in. Very quickly the same familiar feelings started only this time I was a bit more determined to hang on longer, I really didn’t want to use. At the house, there were people drinking and using, the house was a dangerous place for any recovering addict. I knew something had to change.
I went to Birmingham for a weekend where I met up with some old treatment buddies. I told them my situation and my feelings. I was then introduced to Steve Dixon. Steve understood my situation and just there and then he gave me the chance to make a change, he offered a place at Changes. I was more scared than ever at this point. I had never been further than Aberystwyth. I didn’t know what to do, but I knew that if I stayed at the shared house in Wales I was going to use. Within a week I was at Changes.
At ‘Changes’ I didn’t know what to expect. I was introduced to the house mates and was shown the ropes. The most important thing that attracted me to Changes was the routine and structure they had to offer, I didn’t know routine or structure outside a rehab, I lacked all the skills needed to live but knew I had a chance to learn at Changes. I believed I was fortunate as although I was still faced with life’s difficulties, I had somewhere safe to face these difficulties. I could share my fears with other recovering addicts at the house and not get overwhelmed at the same time. I applied simple things to my life like getting up at a reasonable time, having a wash, brushing my teeth etc.
I would attend appointments and with Steve and would set myself goals to complete. The feeling of goodness about myself was there for the first time in a long time. I made some pretty big changes at Changes.
I don’t know where my life would be now if I he hadn’t been given the chance by Changes but then again, I know exactly where I would be, and most importantly where I wouldn’t be.
I am forever grateful to Changes, Steve and the support I was given.
I am now 8 years clean.
So my recovery journey so far…
Shorty after leaving changes i settled down for first time in my life. With the tools i learnt to live i was able to move on and have a go at life! I got married and have now two beautiful children. Recover gave me some strength and coping mechanisms i didnt even know i had. Both my children were born very early and both spent alot of time in hospital. My youngest Rhys wasnt so lucky and accumalated life long problems as a result. During that time i was trying to be everything i could be to everyone. A dad, husband and so on. It was a pai ful time for everyone but without staying clean it would never have been possible. Of course at the time i felt like running away, giving up all responsibilities because it got too much at times. But that is the wonderful thing about Recovery, we have this community of like minded people who are right there in those moments of what feel like absolute defeat, and ready to carry you through wihout hesitation. Thats what happened to me. For the first time in my life i facing huge fearful life problems, things i would of most definitely used drugs and alcohol to remedy in the past.
Since being clean i got myself and education, skills and experience to start contributing to society. Put something back into the community that for years i just drained. I started off volunteering at a local Drug and Alcohol Recovery Service. I met some great people who taught me alot about what there was to know about working with the likes of me! I really enjoyed that and eventually was read for full time employment! Yes i was now employable!!!
I landed myself a job at the very organisation that rescued me in Birmingham! What an amazing feeling to; first actually have a job, pay tax etc, and now being a professional at the organisation that give me my life back! Incredible!
Over the last few years ive got my head down, tried my hardest keep going regardless of what life threw at me and it continues to pay off. Today i have a good job in dudley. I am a full time dad to my son Rhys just for being able to say that i am eternally greateful to Changes UK for investing time, energy, love, patience and understanding in me all them years ago up until today!