I used drugs from when I was 12 years old

I used drugs from when I was 12 years old, smoking pot and doing party drugs. I had a pretty normal life, good family, I worked, saved money, travelled and socialised.

My life was really manageable and I was quite content. When I was 19 I started to hang around a different crowd and started dating this guy who had just come out of doing a lot of time in jail. I first tried heroin with this guy and felt like I had finally filled a void within myself, in the beginning my using was exciting and it made me feel whole. I really romanced the drug and had a real strong connection to it. I started off smoking it and was quite naïve to addiction. I thought that it would never happen to me.

I remember the first time I experienced withdrawal symptoms, I kept using and I felt better. By this point I was reliant on the drug and needed it to do day to day activities. I quit my job and moved in with my boyfriend so I was free to do whatever I wanted and all I did was use. Smoking wasn’t working for me anymore so I started to inject and my life got pretty ugly fast. I started to hock all my belongings, steal from my family and got into crime to make money for my habit. I lost the good friends I had because I was dishonest and unreliable. I was in a lot of denial and didn’t want to acknowledge that I had a problem; I felt it was a sign of weakness to admit defeat but I now know that desperation has saved my life.

I went to jail and used in jail and when I got released the first thing I did was use, I continued to do crime to support my habit and continued to say I would stop but I never kept my word, I wanted all the bad things in my life to stop (jail, financial insecurities and broken relationships) but I didn’t want to stop using. I got locked up again and had the opportunity to come to rehab, I took it but it was for the wrong reasons; it was my “get out of jail free card” and I eventually got discharged and relapsed.

I am lucky to have only lasted 3 months out there because I really hit another rock bottom fast, I was on the run and completely obsessed about heroin, so I decided to call WHOS again and I was broken when I came in here but something changed. New Beginnings also introduced me to the self help meetings of Narcotics Anonymous where I was surrounded by more love and support and I realised that I no longer want that former life for myself anymore. I’ve learned a lot about myself from New Beginnings and I really owe my life to staff and to my peers. My time at New Beginnings has been challenging but so rewarding. I really needed the structure in my life and to be pulled on my behaviours because I use to do what I wanted when I wanted but life doesn’t work that way.

I’ve also never laughed so much in my life as I do here with the girls and I’ve made real peers that I hope will be in my life forever and their actually healthy relationships for once. WHOS has given me another chance at life and it’s made me see the life I want for myself is actually achievable if I am willing to put the work in. I’ve gotten to feel comfortable in my own skin and I now know that I don’t have to use no matter what.