When I was asked to write this blog the hardest things to do were to find time as I am highly busy and to find something to natter about. Then I thought about why I am so busy and thought that might be a good starting point. The logic for this being the subject matter is simply because there was a time when myb life was only busy doing one thing.
I don’t need to paint a picture of what my life was like in active addiction as I am sure I wont be telling you anything you haven’t heard before or that will come as a shock to you. This blog is more about what a fulfilled life looks like after years and years of the self-harm of addiction, prison, homelessness and everything that goes along with the life that I lived. What I will say is that there was never a flash if light or a blinding revelation in respect of finding my own recovery…it happened how it happened, by waking up one morning and realizing that I had lost my bottle for the life that I was living. Looking over my shoulder all the time became tiring and laden with paranoia. Chasing people for drug money was stressful and all the contact with the handfuls of professionals that I came into contact with on a week to week basis was very repetitive;
“Have you used this week Scott?”
“Are you attending all your appointments Scott?”
“Have you committed any crime Scott?”
“Found a job yet Scott?”
“Is your medication holding you Scott?”
The truth is I had played the service carousel game too long and realized that not only was I dependent on the medications that were keeping me from an all out relapse with the realistic chance that I wouldn’t recover this time…I was also dependent on the services that I was in contact with to do for me. The problem with all this is it was too comfortable and at the time didn’t present me with a way forward that built a life for me. The concern was everything I was talking about was about ”in the moment” and not future-proofing the rest of my life. So I realized that the decision wasn’t to stop using and stop all that came with it, it was to provide a foundation for the rest of my life.
Three people opened my mind about a few things.
The first piece of that jigsaw fell into place when my housing support worker highlighted that I do have something to offer after addiction and that was to utilize all the knowledge I had gained about all the services and organisations I had come into contact with and go to work in the sector. That became the ambition.
The second was meeting Terry who, unlike everybody else, told me that it was possible when everybody else told me it wasn’t.
The third person was the person who trained me in Leeds and never doubted that people in my position could do some of the things that have happened since.
Like I said, this blog is about what an individual can achieve after my own personal Trainspotting life and all I can say is that life has never looked better. Within a few months of becoming medication free I was employed by Probation to develop service user involvement in Leeds and with that came the confidence that a good plan achieved can give. I worked with the BRIC (Building Recovery in Communities) to change the perceptions of addiction and recovery in Leeds and a group of people in recovery then started to influence some change in and around the communities of Leeds. No longer was being in recovery seen as a deficit to hide away from the rest of the world, people were vocal about addiction and recovery and more people started to find a community and feel included in society…something that had previously not happened or had gone on unnoticed.
From there I have done many things, some great, some not so and some ongoing. A few social business ventures (one recently launched), lecturing in Universities, developing Health and Social care networks, working with Leadership Academies, undertaking a degree and a few differing jobs. All great achievements and noteworthy and yet none match these;
I’m clean, have stayed out of prison for years and have my own address
I am a parent to a teenager who I’m proud to say is becoming a lot more like me every day
I get no more sense of achievement than when I see people achieve something in life they never believed or expected
I have to finish this by saying that by no means did I, or do I, do all this off my own back. One of the joys of recovery is building friendships and relationships that aren’t built around the industry of drug use and I have to state that I have a fantastic support network and friends and family…people that put up with my wacky ideas and tell me when they are too wacky or when they aren’t wacky enough. I have a fantastic partner who has supported me to get this far and a few friends that when I have needed a friend have been there for me.
None of the above would have been an option without a little bit of clarity and a few people that influenced the way I was…or wasn’t…thinking. All I can ever hope for going forward is to keep paying that forward as one of the best things for people who may need a torchlight to guide them through the darkness is for someone to see what they are good at, can do and are able to do.