Russell Brand: my life without drugs

26th Annual ARIA Awards 2012 - Award Winner PortraitsA great article in the Guardian by Russell Brand. He’s doing some great work.

Russell Brand has not used drugs for 10 years. He has a job, a house, a cat, good friends. But temptation is never far away. He wants to help other addicts, but first he wants us to feel compassion for those affected.

The last time I thought about taking heroin was yesterday. I had received “an inconvenient truth” from a beautiful woman. It wasn’t about climate change – I’m not that ecologically switched on – she told me she was pregnant and it wasn’t mine.

I had to take immediate action. I put Morrissey on in my car as an external conduit for the surging melancholy, and as I wound my way through the neurotic Hollywood hills, the narrow lanes and tight bends were a material echo of the synaptic tangle where my thoughts stalled and jammed.

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John Dolan: from homeless addict to street artist and author

John DolanHere’s a wonderful article about street artist John Dolan and his dog George which appeared recently in the UK Guardian.

Aged 10, John Dolan was told a family secret, which set him on the road to crime, addiction and homelessness. Now his life is transformed, thanks to his dog, George, and a gift for drawing

Anyone who has strolled down Shoreditch High Street in east London in the past few years will probably have seen John Dolan drawing, with a cup for coins on the pavement beside his dog.

A tourist from New Zealand browsing an art gallery nearby is typical of many of us: she stops in surprise when she sees a sketch by Dolan on display. “I saw this guy in the street the other day, just opposite,” she says. “I wish I’d stopped now and talked to him.”

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Excerpt from Anna’s Recovery Story: ‘Should I or shouldn’t I?’

stories-02Through his heroin addiction and recovery, Anna’s brother has taught her so much about life, including the most valuable lesson she could ever learn – you can get through anything.

“… there’s no way I can tell this story without saying that my brother is truly the most inspirational person I know. I am in awe of who he is and what he’s achieved. He has taught me so much about life, including the most valuable lesson I could ever possibly learn – that you can get through anything.”

‘6. Emotional release
My parents could see that I wasn’t really coping with what was happening and they convinced me to go and see a counsellor. I went to see a very expensive psychologist for three sessions. The first two sessions were spent crying and telling the same story I’d told everyone else a thousand times.

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Life as a Heroin Addict: Introduction

I was going through our old Wired In YouTube channel and saw that one of our videos – made by Jon Kerr-Smith and Lucie James – now had 0ver 290,000 views. Quite proud of that.

This video is part of a series that Jon and Lucie made with our friends in South Wales: ‘In this series we will be looking at different aspects of heroin addiction, treatment and recovery, as told by the addicts themselves.”

You can find the other videos on our channel. Enjoy!

‘Heroin Addiction, a Mother’s Story’ by Kim

301116_1829390393379_1798948842_1202263_68985599_n-225x300It’s time I put up another blog from Veronica Valli and the following from Kim is special… and very moving.

‘Addiction doesn’t just affect the person using drugs it affects the whole family. I know because I lived through my daughter Kayela’s addiction to heroin.

We raise our children and its hard work, changing diapers and heating formula and lining up daycare, the first day of school and homework we don’t understand.

We care for them until they are ready to go off in the world and we can only hope that we did the right thing, made all the right choices.

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What Works in Treatment?: Sapphire’s Story, Part 1

rsz_img_2357Sapphire’s Story shows the importance of person-centered treatment. Things went well when Sapphire was intimately involved in decisions about her treatment, but poorly when professionals took sole control. We’ll look at various stages of Sapphire’s treatment career.

Sapphire was being prescribed methadone for her heroin addiction, but as the dose was not high enough she was suffering withdrawal symptoms. To counter the discomfort of this withdrawal, she was purchasing methadone on the street and using benzodiazepines. Then a problem arose from her urine sample:

‘When I was 25, my urine screening revealed that I was taking benzos and the CDT sent me to a shared care GP who was to prescribe my methadone and benzos. At my first appointment, I decided to be honest and tell the GP about the methadone I was buying, and how bad my benzo use had become.

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Most visited content: Nos 10 – 6

rsz_img_5024And the drum rolls as we enter the top ten most viewed content on recovery Stories. 

10. Journeys into and out of heroin addiction, Part 2, is an article I wrote that focuses on living with addiction and covers such topics as relationships, changes in personality and lifestyle, hustling, crime and prison, impact on health, and treatment .

9. Opiate detox: methadone or suboxone by Peapod is the third part of Peapod’s Recovery Guide. Peapod was the most visited blogger on Wired In To Recovery.

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Most visited content: Nos 11 – 15

rsz_img_4069I continue our list of the most viewed content on this website, this time focusing on those that just missed the top ten.

15. Beth’s Recovery Story: ‘Becoming Beth’ tells the story of a young lady who says, “I really shouldn’t be here.” Beth was dependent on alcohol by age 19, had an eating disorder, anxiety condition… and more. Now she is in recovery, running Smyls, a solution-based service to help other people.

14. Stopping heroin use without treatment is an article I wrote focusing on Patrick Biernarki’s research in the mid-1980s into how 101 heroin addicts gave up using their drug without accessing treatment. Far too few people know about this seminal research.

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‘Falling From a Pink Cloud (and Learning How to Fall Correctly)’ from Zenith Chasing

rsz_unknownI can’t resist putting on another of Erica’s blogs from Zenith Chasing. This is her latest, more powerful writing. Thank you, Erica.

‘Recent events have snapped me back into reality, my pink cloud had officially dissipated, if you could even call it that…  I guess that given my predisposition towards the negative, it makes sense that my personal pink cloud would be miniature sized.  Fun sized?  I guess the latter sounds a little nicer, and chewier somehow (I’m thinking of nougat.) 

Abstract ruminations and manic tangents aside, I feel like shit.  Just found out that another friend of mine, albeit not as close a friend as T, but someone I have known since I was 17, died this week.  Rest in Peace LES Jewels – I will miss you buddy.  This is certainly the end of an era for the Lower East Side.

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Zenth Chasing: This will serve as an introduction

183833_538450329617_5181848_n

This is a picture of me though I change my hair a lot so I may not look like this anymore, you get the general idea. That is my friends kitty.

This is some really powerful writing – first of her blogs – from Erica on her website Zenith Chasing. Erica contacted me this week.

The intro to the website reads: ‘A twenty-something, female, east-coast transplant, creatively inclined, dirt poor, recovering addict documents her struggles and triumphs as she claws her way towards her dream of a happy and productive life in San Francisco.’

‘I’ve been waiting for the right time to write my first post and I guess today makes sense because today I’m fucking up.  I am about to relapse, I know this yet I cannot seem to stop myself.  I’ve been trying to get a hold of my dealer since last night. He is notoriously difficult to get on the phone which is probably to my benefit right now, but I know that if he had been available I would have gotten high last night, so my current sobriety is not for lack of effort to the contrary.

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Anna’s Moment of Clarity

stories-02Anna’s brother had developed a heroin addiction and she was becoming overwhelmed by the whole situation.

In her Recovery Story, here’s the lead up to Anna’s Moment of Clarity:

‘After this incident in the city, I became unhealthily obsessed with finding out as much as I could about heroin, as well as trying to monitor my brother’s behaviour and uncover his lies. I read every book I could get my hands on, including a few books I’d had as a teenager – Go Ask Alice, Junky and H: Diary of a Heroin Addict.

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‘Stuck not broke’ by AntiHero79

IMG_1870Hello, as this is my first entry I’ll (try to) keep it short. I am two and a half years into my recovery. I’d love to say that it’s all plain sailing, but in fact has been the darkest and most confusing time of my life up to now.

“I always knew I was different”… Well it’s true, I did. Always felt apart, weird, somehow isolated from even my closest friends. I had a rough childhood, no doubt about it, and when I found drink and drugs it was like I was liberated.

My first round of addiction (to cannabis, from age 14 – 15) saw me walking round school in a virtual coma. In retrospect, it must’ve looked like there was something severely wrong with me. There was, I know now. As a nine year old, I was molested by a family ‘friend’. It was reported to the police but stopped there. Lack of evidence.

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A Remarkable Reinvention

Former model Tovah Cottle transformed her life from being a drug addict in jail to designing fashion for the catwalk. Check out a longer version of Tovah’s story on Australian Story.

Journeys into and out of Heroin Addiction, Part 3: Trying to Stop

IMG_2644The decision to stop using drugs is fundamental to the process of recovery from addiction. It is the initial part of the process by which people overcome a drug addiction.

However, whilst making the decision to quit is of great importance, it does not follow that the person will in fact stop using and maintain this abstinence for a prolonged period or indefinitely. There are a wide variety of factors that influence ‘stopping’ and ‘staying stopped’.

In looking at a person’s decision to stop using heroin, we must consider the external reality and circumstances of their life, as well as the internal thought processes that occur when they make the decision to stop.

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‘A Personal Story’ by Wee Willie Winkie

2007_0116walpole0097‘I’m 33 years old. I started taking drugs from ten years old and, apart from a three and a half year stint in the army, took them continuously right up to the age of 30. This included 11 years as a heroin addict.

During this time, I felt totally isolated and alone in the world, and completely worthless. After a few years I was desperate. I’d overdosed a couple of times and, at this point in my life, I’d have welcomed death with open arms. It never came, so I decided to help it along a bit.

Luckily, it didn’t work but at the time I just didn’t know what to do. Eventually, I decided that this was my life and to try make the best of it I could. I ended up living in the woods for a year. I could never see myself living in shop doorways.

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Stopping heroin use

Wired In film of the views and experiences of nine heroin users and former users in South Wales. [5 clips]

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Family members

Film clips showing that family members of a person with drug and alcohol addiction develop their own problems from which they need recovery. [3 clips]

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Journeys into and out of heroin addiction, Part 2

Focuses on living with addiction and covers such topics as relationships, changes in personality and lifestyle, hustling, crime and prison, impact on health, and treatment (5,900 words).

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Journeys into and out of heroin addiction, Part 1:

Common themes that resonate about people’s journeys into and out of heroin addiction, and common factors that influence these journeys. This first part focuses on the descent into addiction (5,300 words).

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Stopping heroin use without treatment

Research by Patrick Biernacki reveals important insights into how people recover from heroin addiction. It also illustrates the major challenges that people with a heroin addiction face on their journey to recovery (2,200 words). 

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