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Tom

When did you first start using?

When I was 14, I started drinking frequently, and cannabis use followed soon after. I was drinking every day by the time I was in my late teens, early twenties.

When did it become a problem?

During my teens, I was conscious that I was out of control with my drinking on a few occasions. Going harder and further than my peers, gave me a distorted sense of self-esteem, believing that being the most intoxicated was a measure of success. It had an influence on my day-to-day life when I realised that using was preventing me from accomplishing what I’d set out to do. Drinking and using became less of a group activity and more of a personal one. Any plans I made would be eclipsed by the fact that I was busy using. This went on for ten years, depriving me of my university diploma and damaging two promising job possibilities in the process.

What made you get help?

For years, I’d been attempting to conceal my problem with using. It was impossible to moderate and control it. I couldn’t see a path out that didn’t require either unintentionally or deliberately taking my life. In June 2021, I attempted to take my own life. When this failed, I realised I had no control over anything — not just my use, but my entire life. It had gotten entirely out of hand.

In desperation, I opened up to my loved ones who sought help on my behalf and reached out to Compare Rehab. I wouldn’t be here without their help and the support of the people that treated me during my stay in rehab.

Where would you be now?

I’d be alone, alienated, and at risk, if I hadn’t developed that identification and connection with others who understood addiction and what I was going through. I wouldn’t have been able to begin to restore relationships with the people I care about if I had been on my own in my recovery. Being surrounded by other recovering addicts teaches me honesty and humility that I would not have learned otherwise.

How is life today?

Today, I have the structure I require, which pushes me to grow while also providing me with support. This gives me a sense of balance, allowing me to believe that life is truly valuable. I now volunteer with my local addiction Narcotics Anonymous support group. Giving them the same open welcome I was given in that first meeting is a key part of my continuous healing. I’m realising how cut off from the world and the people around me I was throughout my addiction. Now I’m able to feel connected and place a true value on the actual peace of mind I’m experiencing.

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