I came to Portsmouth 2 years ago for a final shot at a new life. I had been given a third and final attempt in a rehab and this time it was out of my ususal home area and at ANA treatment centre in Portsmouth.
Having been a heavy drinker and also a heroin user, at 31 I was diagnosed with liver cirrhosis.
I had overdosed many times and been hospitalised more times than I care to remember and thought there was no hope. Finally on my third attempt I managed to break the cycle and start my journey in recovery.
What worked for me
Being able to live in a drink and drug free environment after my detox was key to my recovery. The promise of aftercare for life also helped me psychologically to feel less isolated and more supported and the fact that Portsmouth offers a wealth of activities for people in recovery was crucial to staying clean and sober.
I filled my days post detox with time at PUSH, where I met other people who were in recovery who had had similar experiences but were further down the path.
They shared their experiences of getting through the difficulties in the early stages of recovery and kept me going.
I studied English level 2 at The Omega Centre, went to NA fellowships in the evenings and after a time started to helped to run a Hep C support group at the local hospital with Dave G.
Seeing other people in recover like Dave and Ryan helped make recovery visible to me.
It gave me hope and helped me to realise that no matter how bad life had got I could recover.
Having stuff to do to fill my days was crucial. I didn’t want to be on the dole for the rest of my life and by getting involved in the local community I started to gain really useful work experience, make friends and lay down roots.
I love living in Portsmouth, people are friendly and don’t judge me, they know I want to be a part of the community and have welcomed me with open arms. The work experience I gained through PUSH has led to me becoming a paid employee of Portsmouth City Council helping others in recovery to find a new way of life. I am so grateful for this second chance at life and thankful to all those in recovery for sharing their stories and giving me hope.