“The process of being in rehab made me really aware of what my actions might lead to. To think about what I’m doing and with whom. I think anyone who is offered residential rehabilitation should take it. The crucial part for me was having that extended break being clean with professional support day and night.”
By the time I came to The Nelson Trust I was absolutely desperate. I had been using opiates for about sixteen years, was back living with my parents after being homeless and begging on the streets. They had no idea about my drug problem and I was too ashamed to tell them.
By the time I was ready to admit I had a problem and wanted to stop – I couldn’t. Any work I did, I used the money for drugs. My relationships broke down and I ended up on the street. I’ve always been one of those people who was really ashamed of my drug use. I thought, ‘I’ve got myself into this mess and I’ll get myself out of it.’ There was no way I was going to admit it to my family.
I tried to get clean a few times but with no aftercare I started using again straight away. I thought I’d just knock my addiction on the head and live happily ever after but I wasn’t strong enough at that stage to say no.
By the time I managed to see a doctor who could help me with my addiction I was desperate to stop. I was so ill every day and suicidal. I would’ve done anything to get clean. The doctor suggested I go home and tell my parents what was happening and try residential rehab.
The thing I struggled the most with at The Nelson Trust was the groups. After a couple of weeks I wanted to leave, I couldn’t cope with the things I needed to deal with. I saw one of the counsellors, who encouraged me to stay and the groups ended up being the most important part of my recovery.
It is so important having that time away to recover and process what’s happening. I felt terrible at first, it takes a few weeks just to start to feel normal. When you get clean, all your feelings and emotions come back tenfold and having peers and professional counsellors to support you is essential. But it was only about six months after I left that all the group work started to make sense.
I have been clean for ten years now. I’m happily married and my wife and family are the main reason I stay clean. I now work with people who have drug and homelessness problems and that keeps me straight as well.