I left school at the age of 16 and was offered a place at college. Before the September start, I got a job. After a little while there, I was beginning to succeed. I was enjoying the money, which made it possible for me to go to pubs and clubs. The idea of going to college suddenly seemed boring, and continuing to work seemed the best idea.
With a bit of help, I moved into a shared house with some friends. Things were alright at first, but what a shock it was to have to cook, clean and budget! It was a too much for me and I couldn’t cope. I drifted towards the drugs.
‘I got more than I bargained for’
As I started using more drugs, they began to take over my life. I was spending all my money on them, which meant that I wasn’t buying any food and I wasn’t looking after myself. I used to be smartly dressed, but now I just couldn’t be bothered any more. It was as though I felt nothing for myself.
I started taking days off work and, eventually, I had to leave. I had moved into the house on the basis that I was working. When I lost my job, they told me to leave there too. Within ten months, I had lost my job, my house and my dignity. Things were looking bad.
I knew I had to sort myself out. It was then that I rang my foster parents. They knew of a summer job in Wales, where we used to go on holiday. 2 days later I was there, working in a supermarket. I loved it. I had gone away to sort myself out, but I got more than I had bargained for — I fell in love with a wonderful girl.
We lived together for 6 months, after which we decided to move to the Midlands. I got my own place and she stayed with her parents nearby. Our relationship lasted for another 6 months, but then it all blew up. I took the split really badly. I was only 18 at the time.
‘I could feel that my life was dying’
I rang my social worker and with his help, I moved back to Cheshire. It was a bad move. Due to my depressed state, it was easy to turn back to drugs. At this point, I could not have said that I had a problem with drugs — I had a bit of pride left which would not let me admit to that. Then, due to the pressure of living on my own, I moved back to my father.
Things went out of hand. I got involved with the wrong people and I started to use drugs in a big way. Then I was introduced to Heroin. The more I did it, the more I needed it. It was costing me a lot and the effects were really messing me up.
Before I used Heroin, I hadn’t realised that it was so bad — that it would make me so sick. I would just lie there, not eating and feeling like I had flu (but 10 times worse). I looked really rough and lost a lot of weight. I would wake up every morning, sweating and on edge. I could feel that my life was dying.
6 months later, I tried to commit suicide. I felt as though I was dead inside. Then I asked for help. I did it for me, not because of anyone else. One day, I had been going through some of my old school work. I had done really well and I knew that people had a high opinion of me. I just started looking at myself. I thought, Where’s it all going to now?’ My social worker and all the staff at the Children’s Resource Centre were excellent. They looked after me as if I was their own. They got my life back on track for the first time in a couple of years. I started looking forwards, instead of back.
I moved about a bit, before coming to live in the Black Country. I still have bad patches now and again, but the Leaving Care Team took me under their wing. I’m a lot more positive than I was. In fact, I’m lucky. I’m studying Multi-Media for two days a week on an Access course to University. In October, I’m due to start a degree.
‘I asked for help’
You have to have bad times to appreciate the good times. There is light at the end of the tunnel, and help is there if you ask for it. You do need determination to get through drug addiction. For me, I set goals to achieve and I’ve started to make things happen. The best thing to do is not to get involved in the first place. Drugs are no escape. Peace.