Case Study – Ben

Now I’ve got choices, I’ve got hope. I can actually visualise a really nice future for myself. I can go and do anything and go anywhere and I’m not chained to the substance.”

2 ½ years ago I didn’t want to wake up. I knew there was a better life but I didn’t know how to get it.

I was painfully shy as a child and had a lot of social anxiety. I’m also dyslexic and at school I was told I was stupid. I started taking drugs and drinking at age 12 to cope. At 17 I started taking heroin, which seemed to help me at first but by the time you realise it’s not helping, you’re stuck.

I used heroin for 18 years – half my life. I’d tried to get clean in the past using different drugs like methadone. I’d been to residential rehab before but only lasted two weeks. The last residential rehab never really addressed any of the issues behind my using. I was clean for four months but mentally I was in a worse place than when I went in.

Before I came to The Nelson Trust, there were a couple of years where I was just using and working. About two and a half years ago I’d just had enough and decided I’d rather be dead than go on like this. I tried to end my life. I was (thankfully) unsuccessful but I was then back in the same cycle of trying to get clean.

The problem is, when you work, you can’t get funding for treatment. Thankfully for me, my dad offered to pay but I really worry about people who don’t have anyone to help them.

If I had to say the one thing I think made the most difference at The Nelson Trust – it was the staff. At Nelson, you know how much they care about how well you do. That makes a massive difference.

At the same time, the staff weren’t hunting you down to participate. I found this better because it put a bit of emphasis on me being responsible for myself. When it came time to leave treatment, I didn’t want to go straight back into work so I volunteered at The Hub Maintains for a while. It got me back in a pattern of working every day and made going back to work a lot less stressful.

Someone said to me when I first came into treatment – you can do whatever you want – and I laughed. I couldn’t believe it. But I do believe that now. Now I’ve got choices, I’ve got hope. I can actually visualise a really nice future for myself and I have options and the ability to do whatever I want. It’s lovely, it’s freedom effectively. That I can go and do anything and go anywhere and I’m not chained to the substance.

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