By Jamie C | Email Jamie

Over the past two years I have written a couple of life stories for FS, bringing to light my struggles with life, how I turned to drugs and alcohol, and how these substances had started to take over and ruin my life.

I write this today after being clean and sober for 16 months. This may seem like a short length of time, but to a recovering addict this is most probably the first great achievement we can get to in recovery. It’s not over yet, though. I still have a long way to go. Like many addicts I have relapsed and drugs took over my life again.

This time with little or no money I turned to credit cards to buy my drugs. I maxed out at least two by taking out obscene amounts of cash, for a dealer who I knew was selling me smaller amounts of drugs for the same amount of cash. He knew I was desperate, but didn’t care.

Once the credit cards were maxed out and my latest relapse was over, I decided that rehab was the best choice for me. My counsellor at the time offered me a day release programme rather than rehab which, after a lot of thought I agreed was the best option, but I was scared. I didn’t want to talk to strangers about my problem – hell I didn’t want to talk to anyone. But I bit the bullet and started to open up. For me, I had to decide between life or drugs. Much to my surprise life won. That was the moment I began my journey to full recovery, to get my life back on track, the right way this time.

Life slowly got better. I started to think positively about things I would have thought negatively about before. I applied for jobs. I attended more AA meetings or NA (Narcotic Anonymous) meetings. Life was really starting to turn around.

It’s easy to allow something else or someone else to control your life. But it’s harder to say no and try to take control yourself. Recovery has taught me how to do this. It’s like being reborn and you have to learn everything again: feelings, emotions, senses and so on. All this in only the first month of recovery. It’s exciting how positive thinking and attitudes help you to move on from darker points in your life.

However, there’s always going to be some obstacles in the way and by the end of the first month of recovery I was stung with a dreaded phone call from the clinic, confirming I had caught hepatitis C. Knowing it was treatable, it still sent my world in a spin. This was not what I needed.

I was once again, all alone, even though I stood in the middle of Covent Garden. I disappeared for the weekend and tried to take my mind off things. I find the sea air always helps. This time I had friends and a family member who I confided in, and they helped me get through the weekend. Without this support this major knockback could have sent me back into another relapse.

The treatment for hep C was taking its time to kick in and I found there was always something that cropped up to prevent me from taking the medication.

My life was still in the process of getting back together, but it was getting there, slowly but surely. I couldn’t fault anything at the moment.

There was another obstacle in the way of recovery which I knew I had to tackle. Part of my ‘using days’ involved meeting guys online, so going into recovery I had to make the decision that I couldn’t do it any more, at least for now it was too risky. I had to think about my recovery and not going back to my old ways. But you guessed it... it didn’t work. I ended up meeting a guy online. But this time it was different.

My recovery was a major part of my life at that moment. I felt I had to be open and honest with anyone I met. It was only fair they knew what they were getting themselves into, so I blurted it out. I told this guy everything, from using drugs, to my recovery, to hep C. The surprising part is that it didn’t matter to him. He saw something in me and wanted to get to know me. He was special, different and I knew this guy was the one for me.

Less than two months of being sober and drug free and I literally have everything working out for me. I felt happy... finally. A year later we are now happily engaged and living together.

I’m also hep C free, but it wasn’t easy – hell all I did was work and sleep. Luckily I had an amazing partner who stood by me and helped me. What a way to start a relationship.

This last year has only been possible from the ongoing love and support from my family who have really taken the brunt of it and still held on to hope, my best friend who is also in recovery and continues to help me along my way, other friends, and most importantly to the support of my fiancé. If I can overcome it all, anyone can.  

If you liked Jamie's story and would like to contact him, email him on [email protected]

Would you like to write a true life story for FS? Email [email protected].