‘Hope is the word that can free us from addiction’ by o2b3

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOne of the things I will be doing with this new website is to ‘bring back’ some of the classic blogs from Wired In To Recovery – this has been much requested!

People who know me will tell you that I always keep banging on about hope. Yes, hope is essential for recovery! Here’s a real powerful blog about hope which o2b3 submitted to Wired In To Recovery back in 2010.

‘I always thought that the word hope didnʼt apply to me! From where I come from I was never shown or given any hope. I was always put down and told, “Thereʼs no hope for you. You are no good. Youʼre bad, you are a liar. You are worthless and rotten to the core.”

When you keep hearing that said to you time and time again, you start to believe in what those people say. That this is you and thatʼs what you are. So I became the person that everyone said I was. I became all of the above, just to get back at those people that hurt me and put me down.

None of these people ever took the time to get to know me, to look at the problems in my life and understand how I felt as a child growing up. I was just a little boy who was full of fear and anger. Who was never allowed to show any kind of feeling and emotions.

So when I found drink and drugs at the age of thirteen, it became my way of getting out of me, making my own realities! By the age of eighteen, I found heroin and became a heroin addict, depending on the drug daily. I used all kinds of drugs and did anything and everything, all kinds of ways and means, to get more.

My using took away all my self-respect and, if I had no respect for me, then I sure didnʼt show anyone else respect. Each and every day I would wake up and start that same dysfunctional, degrading, self-abusing and self-harming circle of life. The life of an addict. I always thought that that was life and that I was living life to the full. And called that a good life, because thatʼs the only life that I knew.

At the age of forty-one, I reached my rock-bottom. I could no longer lead this kind of life. I felt I had no way out of this life but to end it.

Then, nearly nine years ago, hope came into my life. A friend that I hadnʼt seen for two and a half years knocked at my door, clean, and told me that I looked f**ked and was f**ked. He said he could show me a way out of the darkness and pain (I used with this person for many, many years). After years of thinking that I knew best, at that moment I knew I knew nothing about life and how to live life.

I walked into a room, with my friend, that was full with recovering addicts. For the first time in my life a light went on in my head that said, “You belong”, and it felt so unreal to me. My mate looked at me and said, “How do you feel?” And do ya know what? I got honest for the first time in my life and told him that I felt scared and I didnʼt feel alone any more!

I just sat there and listened to what these people were saying and they were relating ‘my’ story. After that meeting, my mate ask me if he could help me, which I found hard to believe, because no one had ever wanted to help me before. I cried my eyes out, just like a little lost boy. I felt a spark of life light up inside of me. I knew I needed help and for the first time I let someone help me.

That was the start of my recovery, which has become a beautiful (and hard at times) journey. From that first message of hope, I found hope. I am no long powerless over drugs and all I do is work the 12-step programme of NA, which helps me stay clean a day at a time. No more, no less.

Instead of take, take, take, I have learnt to give. And for me, that is the beauty of having a choice today, and that choice is the freedom from addiction. For me, it is all about one addict helping another

In recovery, I have simply learnt that there is no reason for me ever to use again, as long as I keep doing the things that I do on a daily basis. And that is to stay open-minded, honest and willing. The most important thing that I have learnt is to just be me, and be true to me and love me. Itʼs that simple.

I have gone through a lot in the years of recovery. I have lost loved ones and got through it without using. Today, I simply get in touch with my feelings and allow myself to feel, instead of using anything to change the way that I feel. Or running away from feelings to hide in a world of my making, which is lonely and cold world full of pain and misery. A prisoner in my world.

The rewards which I have gained from being clean are amazing. Iʼve got my family back in my life today and they are so proud of me (as I am too). I have beautiful friends who help and love me for who I am and not for what Iʼve got.

I could not read and write properly when I first came into recovery. I learnt to read and write and went of to college and then onto university, where I achieved a Fine Art Honours degree (BA). I have sold some of my art work which is a big ʻWOW!ʼ for me. My life just seems to get better. Doors are opening up for me instead of closing up in my face.

I know if I stop working hard on my recovery and stop doing the things I do daily to stay clean, then I will soon have no recovery and end up in the darkness all alone. So all I can say is, if you work it, it works. And no matter what happens in my life Iʼll be OK, because I am OK…