I am 49 years young and about 3 – 4 years ago I tried heroin. I had never done any kind of drugs until then and because of the circumstances and one thing and another I got hooked on heroin. It is all true what they say about it, it’s so addictive you would not believe. I would not want my worst enemy to try it.
Anyway back to my journey.
It all started about a year ago. I was told by a friend to “go to Kaleidoscope, they can help you”, so I did. When opening the door of Kaleido I did not know what to expect. I was shocked, it was friendly and had a good feel about the place, not what I thought it would be like.
Anyway, I made an appointment. The first meeting you have is to discuss your addiction and how best to deal with it. After that you have an appointment to see a doctor. Then you have a chat and they will tell you how much methadone to put you on. I started with 50mg which took away any kind of cravings for heroin, gear, brown, smack, whatever you want to call it.
Then it’s back to Kaleidoscope to arrange courses and other things you may be interested in. At the first meeting there were about nine people all with different addictions. A few people I knew, which was good. Did not make me feel as nervous as I may have been. The course was a varied amount of topics. By the end of the course I felt good and more to the point looked good (LOL). And life was starting to look good too.
While on this journey of mine, I was living in sheltered accommodation through Gwalia. They have helped me with items for the flat, trips away for the day and just a chat. I was told about a place in town that would be good for me. So I went, it is called MIND, and that is where I met two painting artists. They got me painting and now I have won competitions and other things with my art work. I do watercolours mainly, I like working with this medium.
So it was thanks to everyone from Gwalia and Kaleidoscope for getting me involved with these activities. Otherwise I would never have known that I had a raw talent for painting, which was a shock to me because I could not even draw before let alone paint. So, just proves that it is worth going to activities and things with Kaleidoscope, Gwalia and Mind.
Even though I was taking my medication there were a few times that I was tempted to have a smoke as they say. Then I think back to how it was when I was on heroin. The sleepless nights, the stomach cramps, sweating and feeling like shit. So you could say that sometimes I do struggle with my addiction. Sobriety can seem like an impossible goal. But with the treatment and support that Kaleidoscope gave me, by addressing the root cause of my addiction - the road to recovery often involves bumps, set backs - but by examining the problem and thinking about change I was already on my way.
Another thing I thought about was the cost and how I looked when I was taking the drug. And believe me I could not believe what I looked like and when people found out I was on drugs, they would not talk to you or give you the time of day. That felt bad.
Addiction affects your whole life, relationships, health, work and psychological well being. And the ways to handle stressful situations.
The other good thing about my recovery is that I was taking a small amount of gear. Because the longer and more intense the heroin use, the longer and more intense the treatment will be. But regardless of the length in weeks, months or even years, the follow up care is crucial to the recovery. Another thing I did was not to bother with anybody that is on drugs. To stay away from some of the boys I used to smoke with. And I do not drink any more. That was down to heroin. Made me sick if I had a drink, so good in a way. I don't even like the smell of beer at all.
One of the main things that has helped me is my art. I paint every day without fail because I love it. Never knew how painting can bring back and raise so many emotions. So I look at life differently now.
Also I would like to say that the staff at Kaleidoscope are an invaluable asset in my recovery. I was very reluctant to turn to my family for help, because I felt I let them down before, so it can be hard. But remember, there is help out there no matter how you feel. Or think that the whole world is against you. All you've got to do is believe. Who knows, maybe you will find you have a raw talent. There are some of my mates that are helping me get back to some kind of life. Some of them know what it’s like to be where I've been, so that can be a great help.
Back to my recovery. Like I said before, I was with Gwalia who helped me get off the streets. You would not believe the help and commitment these people have doing their job. They helped me no end. That is why I have got where I am today. Because of the staff there and other bodies that have helped me.
After discovering this talent for drawing and painting I have not stopped. I am always out walking to see what catches my eye to paint. I can't describe the feeling I get when painting but it’s a good one, and I get lost in my artwork. I spend a lot of my time at my painting table. Well happy.
Without Mind and the staff there, I would never have been able to get where I am today. The staff at Ty Croeso (Brecon & District Mind) are brilliant and friendly. You just feel welcome, safe and at home there. Everybody is brilliant. So thanks to the staff at Mind.
So my recovery journey to now, you would not believe. The transformation from me being a smack head to now an Artist. I owe a lot of it to Kaleidoscope for getting me where I am today with the art and recovery. And the staff of Gwalia and Mind.
So a big thank you to everybody.
I hope your recovery journey is as eventful as mine.
Once again. Thank you all for helping me, on my recovery journey.
You will never know how much you have done for me.
Many thanks to our guest author for writing about a very personal recovery journey. If you want to tell us about your experiences you can comment below.