Experience, Strength and Hope.


I grew up in a small town in north Yorkshire, my parents split up when I was around 4 years old, so I spent the weekends with my dad in Newcastle, and the week was spent with my mum and brother an sisters who were much older. I always felt different, like I was the odd one out, except in the holidays, when my dad would take me to wales to see my Nana. My Nana never made me feel like I was in the way, and showed me that I was loved as a child. She died when I was 12 years old, and the day after she died I got drunk and my dad sexually abused me, my whole world changed in a day, it became a very dark and frightening place. Then my alcohol and drug use got dramatically worse, by the age of 14 I started dealing weed speed and a few ecstasy. Always getting high on ma own supply. I tried whatever drug was put in front of me and I loved them all. I loved how I felt more confident, I loved how I could escape reality, but most of all I loved it went I was that numb I could feel nothing at all. I left home just after my 16th birthday, and made myself homeless 2 be with a man I soon became pregnant with my first child, and he became violent I stayed with him for 6 years, the violence always got worse, when I got pregnant again I moved back in with my mum. Even though I thought I didn’t deserve better than him, I wanted more for my children. After I had my son my alcohol and drug use went off the scale, it is at this point I tried heroin for the first time. I met another man and was with him for a few years, and even though he wasn’t violent, this was still a very unhealthy relationship with lots of cannabis alcohol and cocaine use. The relationship ended because of my adultery and he found out I’d been using heroin. So the children and I moved out in to a house of our own. My alcohol and drug use went off the scale again, I was drinking and using crack and heroin daily, and being a single parent on benefits I couldn’t afford it so started shoplifting and dealing resulting in my house getting busted and me arrested for possession of crack and heroin. After this and another violent incident in front of my children I got told they couldn’t live with me any more. I was devastated, but even this didn’t stop me drinking and using, it just made me lie and try to hide it more. I know it sounds stupid to most people, but I really couldn’t see the pain I was causing my children. And then one day after I was coming round from one of my benders, I thought it’d been a couple of days since I’d seen the kids but I hadn’t been in touch for over a week, my daughter had been crying for me thinking that I must be dead. It was at this point I has my first moment of clarity in years, and decided I didn’t want to live like this any more. So I went to my local drug and alcohol support agency and asked for help, and admitted I was an alcoholic and couldn’t stop. At this point I still thought I didn’t need help with drugs as I did my rattle an only use now and again. After about 5 months of different appointments and meetings I managed 2 get a bed for detox and funding for residential treatment centre. I did 13 days in detox and got took straight to ark house in Scarborough at first I was always fine, an didn’t really want to let anyone in. but then a girl who I was sharing a room with left and it brought up so many other emotions in me that I ended up letting people in and allowing myself to cry in front of everyone, I don’t think I stopped for 3 day’s. But I really do feel that this was a major turning point for me and my recovery. That was the day I truly surrendered to my programme and took down my barriers and defences, I realised I couldn’t get well on my own. I spent 20 weeks at ark house, and going there was the best decision I’ve ever made, I made some lifelong friends while I was there. But they also helped me build a good foundation stone for my life in recovery. When I left ark I went pretty much straight into a peer mentoring course, which I completed in December. I have also started an NVQ Level 3 at university, as well as working at my local drug and alcohol support agency on a voluntary basis. A few months ago I also set up a narcotics anonymous meeting in my area as there wasn’t one. It is doing well and still running. And I am also in the process of helping to set up s service user forum. A life in recovery isn’t always easy and I have had to work through some difficult times. I had a close friend die of an overdose and got told I had a small area of cervical cancer in the same week, but with this programme and the fellowship I managed to get thru clean and sober. The relationship with my children just keeps getting better and better, and they will be coming home. I once got told that working this programme will give me a life beyond my wildest dreams, well I’m coming up to my first sober birthday; I really do have that life! I wake up feeling well, I have a great relationship with my kids, I can work thru situations that frighten, upset or anger me, I am good person and a member of society, but I also know that if I keep working my programme life will keep getting better.

Melanie Service User