Peterborough dad’s return from class A drug addiction which left him a ‘shell’
A Peterborough father who was left as a ‘shell’ after years of addiction to clas s Adrugs has vowed to help others battling the problem to rediscover their lives - and warned everyone is a couple of bad decisions away from seeing their lives spiral out of control.
The 37-year-old, who has asked to remain anonymous, said he nearly lost everything - including his life - as a result of his addiction to cocaine and crack cocaine - but has now transformed his life thanks to the help of a little known support group.
Now he is desperate to help other addicts who are on the brink, by using his own experiences..
The man, who is now a business owner said: “I started using substances, alcohol and cannabis, when I was aged 13.
“I smoked a spliff for the first time 0 it was just what was going on in my social circle.
“I moved onto harder class A drugs when I was 16. I started with cocaine, but I used crack cocaine for the first time when I was 16.
“I was just a normal lad from a council estate, from a normal family.
“From the age of 16 to 33, I was drinking alcohol, having a sniff of cocaine of smoking crack cocaine.
“I managed to hide the use of crack. I was a weekend dad, and always worked.
“Sniffing cocaine was acceptable in my circle, but I was living a seedy double life.
“After a night down the pub, I would go to a crack den surrounded by shop lifters and working girls.
“I thought I was different as I wore Ralph Lauren and drove a car I paid for.
“At times I would go out drinking on Friday night and not get back until Sunday night.
“I worked in construction, a physically demanding job , and I worked every day from the age of 16.
“Almost all the money I earned went to the dealer.
“My first marriage lasted a few months, and I hardly ever saw my kids at the end.
“In the end I became very ill. I fell from weighing 13 stone to weighing nine stone, and I was physically unable to work.
“I started shoplifting for about six months, stealing meat and going to the pubs I used to drink in to sell it.
“I was doing things I said I would never do.
“I never got caught - I don’t know how as I was very prolific.
“I was spending £1,000 a week on it at one point.
“It changed when I was in a relationship, and she said I needed help.
“At that point I was a shell of a human being.
“I went to one of the drug agencies, and they pointed me to Cocaine Anonymous.
“For three years I went, and I would make progress, and then relapse.
“I needed help and then went to rehab.
“After that, I continued to go to Cocaine Anonymous.
“I have now been off all mind-altering substances - alcohol, cannabis, cocaine - everything, for more than three years.
“August 9 2016 is my ‘clean day.’”
Cocaine Anonymous works on the same principals as the more well known group, Alcoholics Anonymous, with the 12 steps and 12 traditions the bedrock of helping people leave substance misuse behind.
Having been clean for so long, the 37-year-old is now keen to help as many people as possible.
He said: “There are so many different people who come along. We are a group of people who would not normally mix.
“There is one who is a Freemason, who is very successful, a lady who is 75-years-old, a man who is living in doorway, there is a successful business man. It is all encompassing.
“What the public see when they think of drug addiction is the people who shoplift, who burgle.
“But there are a range of reasons why people become addicts.
“Almost everyone is only a one or two decisions away from their life being very different.
“Right now, I have just got married a couple of months ago - she is also a recovering addict.
“Now I see my children, pay taxes. I have a successful business of my own.
“My mum says she no longer goes to sleep worrying about me.
“I went to some of the shops I went into and shoplifted from and spoke to the manager, and offered to pay back what I took.
“Some accepted the offer, some said they had never had anyone come and do that before, and just wished be luck.
“Without Cocaine Anonymous, I would not be here now.
“he final days when I was using was tragic.
“Suicide was definitely going to be a way out. It was a painful, pitiful existence.
“My main purpose is now to help other addicts, using my experience.
“Mental health is such a big issue, especially with young men who have substance issues. Suicide is a major problem.
“We at Cocaine Anonymous have a helpline - I do service on it.
“Someone like me will pick up the phone to help, and direct them to our next meeting.”
The helpline, 0800 689 4732, runs between 10am and 10pm seven days a week.
For more information about Cocaine Anonymous, and how to find your nearest group, visit www.centralukca.co.uk