A Way Out

If you had told me or anyone who knew me as a child that I was to become a drug addict, they wouldn’t have believed you. I was bright, determined, focused, hard working and extremely studious. I was a good girl and completely anti-drugs. Today I understand that addiction does not discriminate. All cross sections of society are affected and I am by no means an exception.

At age 19, I came home from work one evening to find my partner racking up lines of Cocaine. I was mortified, horrified. An hour later, I snorted my first line. I loved how it made me feel – a different person, talkative, comfortable in my own skin and confident. My whole life changed from that moment forward. At the time, I was studying at university, I was working, I had my future planned. Fast forward 2 years…I was failing my degree, I was calling into work sick, my health was deteriorating, I was thousands of pounds in debt and I was using Cocaine on a daily basis. I knew I was in trouble. I knew my using was ‘different’ to those who used around me. My family knew nothing. I ran away and I came clean. I promised myself and my loved ones that I would never do it again, and I meant it. For a period of time, I kept this promise. I travelled and laid new roots in different countries.

After 3 years away, I came back to the UK. I used again. It felt different, I thought if I just controlled my use, was more disciplined, that things would be different this time. I got a job. I met my soul mate. We moved in together. I told him about my past. We got married. We had a child. We bought our first property. Life should have been perfect. I had no reason to use, however it had been a constant throughout our entire relationship. My little secret, which only me and a handful of people knew about. I believed I had it under control. Motherhood changed this. I struggled, I was out of my depth, I felt painfully inadequate. There was no instruction manual and the love I felt for my child felt translated as a daily overwhelming, overpowering anxiety. My using increased, not to previous proportions but to a point where I knew it was starting to be a concern. My solution – have another child. I didn’t use in my first pregnancy, I definitely wouldn’t in my second. That didn’t turn out how I planned. I had my baby and the frequency of my using increased. Using became a necessity. I tried so many different ways of stopping or regulating my use. They all failed miserably. I felt worthless, a failure. I thought I was an awful human being who just lacked will power. I was using against my will, often crying on the way to the dealer, knowing I didn’t want to use but had no power not to. I came clean to all those around me – including my husband. They helped me and put barriers in place to try and protect me from myself. It all failed. People became angry and tired of me, as much as I was of myself. I hit breaking point and I wanted to die. I knew I was a risk to myself and those I loved around me, a liability, a drain and a burden. I needed to be taken out of society. I needed help.

I begged my family to send me into treatment. I found the fellowship of Cocaine Anonymous through a weekly Hospital and Institutions meeting which was held in my treatment centre. I had previously refused to attend any 12-step fellowships through fear and contempt prior to investigation. At my first meeting, I heard a woman share her story, it was completely different to mine but I identified with her and I no longer felt alone. I recognised that treatment alone was not going to ‘fix’ me and that this was a lifelong journey I was about to embark upon and it started with entire abstinence.

I left treatment and immediately found a home group in Cocaine Anonymous – a meeting we had attended as a group whilst in treatment and where I felt comfortable. The women were so kind to me and I quickly asked one of them to sponsor me. I was terrified of using again. She took me through the steps – that was over 3 years ago. Today, the obsession to use drugs and all other mind-altering substances, including alcohol, has completely left me. I attend my home group weekly. I am still sponsored and I sponsor other women. I am of service to the fellowship which has completely transformed my life. I have found a new way of living. I have found the solution I spent over a decade searching for. Today, I understand that the 12 steps are the daily prescription, which keeps my disease of addiction at bay. It enables me to live my life as a recovered drug addict, one day at a time and it only works if I continue to keep on working it.

Today I am of use to my family, friends and fellows. Previously broken trusts and relationships have repaired. I have changed, and so have the lives of those around me, for the better. I have found a way out. For that, I am eternally grateful and do you know the best part? It’s free and open to anyone willing enough to try it, even you…