My Recovery from Addiction to Heroin
Seven years of growth after seven years of hell.
Today I celebrate my seven years of living in the real world. It is a very different experience to living in active addiction to heroin. In active addiction, my best days are still worse than my worst days of sobriety. And believe me; life has thrown a lot at me since being sober. My parents’ divorce, a terrible breakup, loss of family members, being broke, operations etc…
If you had told the broken soul that I was seven years ago that today I’d be seven years sober, I would not have believed you. When on your knees with despair, the life drained from you, you just can’t see anything beyond how you are at that moment. You have become so absorbed by your drug, your drug-using persona and the hopelessness that comes with addiction to heroin, that you can’t see yourself ever leaving it behind.
But you can! If I did (could) then so can you.
My true journey to discovery started in 2005 upon admission to Houghton House. People who knew better told me what would happen if I carried on using heroin and how much I needed to recover from it. They told me what I needed to do to stop using. I believed I knew better. And all they said would happen to me did. If I had listened then, I could have saved myself many more years of destruction. My journey took me where no person should ever have to go.
When I arrived at the Farm I was full of attitude, low self-esteem and hopelessness. I wanted so badly to rid my life of Heroin, yet could not find a way to do that. I’d tried many times before and failed miserably. In my heart, I believed why would this time be any different? My life was a mess. My family disliked me, I had nothing to my name, I was an empty shell. I had been there before, at one of the many institutions I’d attended to try and get clean and hopefully stay clean. What was I going to do this time, that would help me to do it? As I sat in the evening of the 20th of October 2009, the rain was falling on the farm, I could hear the frogs outside, and I was broken. I looked back on all the terrible things I had done, the people I’d hurt and the damage I’d caused to my mind and body. There was nothing left of me. A tiny voice inside me said really softly, yes there is. Inside all of the destruction that was me, a tiny voice was whispering, that voice I recognized, it was the voice of me, not willing to give up, not willing to die, not willing to live the way I was living. But nothing I’ve done has worked before is what I replied. The voice said, then do EVERYTHING differently. I realized it was time to let go, to change everything!
I started with small things; small things I thought were silly. So here is what I did. I stopped fighting with those trying to guide me. I stopped swearing. I stopped dressing like a heroin junkie. I stopped hanging around with the people at the retreat that were not trying to get better. I started to eat well. I started to exercise. I started to talk about all the things bottled inside me. I stopped acting like I was untouchable. I started going to church. I started to obey the rules of the farm. These small changes slowly started to break down this hard, uncaring junkie persona I’d made my own. I realized I was defining myself by my addiction to heroin. That is why I could not stay sober. I believed that to be the true me. It was not. When I left the farm, I stayed away from social events, people I’d used with, the places I’d gone. I got myself a job and started to form a routine in my life. I kept myself fairly isolated from people, by spending time with those I knew cared about me and my well being. Do you know, this time I did not find it hard to stay clean.
I still to this day find it difficult to understand why I battled so hard to stay clean. It is now who I am. The real me returned after about 3 years, and my highest growth period has been in the last two years. I started running, I found the love of my life, my career is stable and I’m about to buy a house.
I look in the mirror now, and try to see the addict me, and do you know what, there is no addict me!
If you want to leave your hell behind you… you need to change everything because if you change everything you will leave the addict in the past. Life on life’s terms is far better than I could ever have imagined.
Thank you Houghton house for putting me on the path to recovery from my addiction to heroin all those years ago. You were instrumental in creating my celebration of 7 years today 20 October 2016