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  • Telling your story

    This is a space visited by peer workers who have a lived experience of addiction and recovery and is an opportunity to relate to and draw hope from those who have been through similar things as you.
    ScorpionPW
    Peer Worker
    Posts: 220
    Joined: Tue Apr 13, 2021 10:06 am

    Telling your story

    Tue Apr 13, 2021 11:25 am

    It would be great to hear some peoples stories, what brings you to this space and where your journey has taken you thus far.

    I thought I would start by sharing a snapshot of my journey through addiction and recovery:

    My parents met while they were detoxing and addiction runs throughout my family in various ways.
    I always grew up terrified of using any substances because I grew up with my parents in recovery from addiction therefore, grew up with the message that substance use ended with jails, institutions and death.
    I was severely bullied for many years throughout the final 2 years of primary school and the first 2 years of high school which traumatized me greatly and affirmed all of the negative beliefs I had about myself.
    The only kids who wanted to spend time with me and who I felt didn’t judge me just so happened to be using and at first I didn’t want to participate.
    Eventually, I decided to try and the first time I used it was like I felt comfortable in my own skin for the first time in my life.
    Following this, I attempted to live in a way where I could relive what it felt like the first time I used but the longer I used for, the harder it was to achieve and the less often I would achieve it. I ended up almost entirely unable to feel an effect from what I was using but did it just to function and not go into withdrawal, the drugs stopped working. This was really scary for me because my solution and coping mechanism no longer provided any relief. I didn't know what to do anymore and felt completely defeated and backed into a corner.
    My substance use lasted 5 years and during the final 2 years I attempted multiple detoxes. No matter what I did or how I attempted to approach using substances I would end up in the same situation of desperation and despair time and time again.
    Finally, at the age of 18 I sought help through peer support groups in the community and managed to find a new way to live with the support of others in a connected fellowship.
    Now I am over 12 years clean and work in the AOD sector in a role that supports the lived experience workforce. I’m a father, a son, a friend, an active musician and a contributing member of society. I have learned to love and respect myself in a way I never thought possible.
    I am happy and content most of the time and live a life completely free from the destitution I once experienced.
    2 x
    TheDees
    Moderator
    Posts: 155
    Joined: Wed Mar 17, 2021 4:29 pm

    Re: Telling your story

    Fri Apr 16, 2021 11:52 am

    Hi @ScorpionPW
    Thank you so much for sharing your story, we really appreciate the courage it takes to open up and expose yourself to others. You’ve summarized the main underlying causes of addiction: genetic predisposition, family education, childhood trauma (bullying), social circle (friends), and progressive increase of tolerance to use of substance. But most importantly, your breakthrough the addiction cycle with multiple detoxes attempts and social connection.
    Can others relate to this story? Where are you at? We’d love to hear your stories. We can all learn from each other’s experience and use this space to support one another on your journey.
    The Team
    0 x
    Katiee
    Member
    Posts: 52
    Joined: Wed Sep 25, 2019 10:54 pm

    Re: Telling your story

    Sun Apr 25, 2021 3:14 am

    Thanks so much for telling your story that’s very brave of you!! I’m so glad your in a much better place now :)

    I’ll share a little about me in hopes that it might help others. I didn’t have the worlds best child hood, was physically and emotionally abused. I was bullied at school. So by the time I got to my late teens I was desperate for friends and attention. I first tried drugs when I was 20, I did it to try and impress a boy at the time. I thought it would be a once off but unfortunately I was hooked. I would say I classed myself as a functional addict because while I used weekly I also had 3 children with special needs (only giving up when I was pregnant) who had several appointments a week they needed to go to. I ended up with the man that I first used drugs with. Unfortunately it turned out not to be the best of relationships as he become abusive. I ended up going to the police and getting an avo and he actually went out and got help. Got on medication and seen a counsellor for his anger. Unfortunately in 2017 he passed away suddenly in a horrific car accident.

    This lead to me moving states and having to start all over again with my boys. My use got much worse and long story short I ended up going into psychosis. Scariest time of my life. I decided then and there I wasn’t going back. I spent two weeks in hospital and then signed up for a free 12 week drug and alcohol counselling. That helped give me the tools I needed to get me to the next stage. Witch was dealing with the trauma. So I went to a grief and loss counseling and also a psychologist to deal with my child hood trauma.

    I’m now working in the AOD sector as a Peer Support Worker. I’ve held down employment for well over a year now. I have made non using friends, I’ve maintained a residence. For the most part things are definitely looking up. I’m not going to lie I still get triggered and have cravings but I have a tool box full to help me get through them now, I’m not alone in my recovery. I used for 15 years, I never thought I’d get out of it. But here I am living the dream, if I can you can to :)
    3 x
    TheDees
    Moderator
    Posts: 155
    Joined: Wed Mar 17, 2021 4:29 pm

    Re: Telling your story

    Mon Apr 26, 2021 10:03 am

    @Katiee, yours is a very inspiring story. Thank you so much for sharing it here. I'm really impressed by your resilience and determination. Congratulations on turning the table around, and even becoming a Peer Support Worker! The AOD sector really needs more people like you. You've gotten really far. I'm really glad that you now have a tool box full for when you need it. My hat's off to you.
    1 x
    Shiraz67
    Junior Member
    Posts: 2
    Joined: Tue Apr 27, 2021 7:10 pm

    Re: Telling your story

    Tue Apr 27, 2021 7:18 pm

    Hi, this is my first post and like others grew up with parents that drank every day. My Mother died from alcoholic liver failure as did her Uncle. My older sister was addicted to IV drugs. Addiction is in the family. But even though I know the risks of drinking and watched my Mum kill herself, I still drink. If I don't learn how to control, abstain or reduce, I know I will develop (if I haven't already) health problems. I need help. I have an appointment with my doctor and hope with online support plus my GP, I will be able to conquer the demon. S
    2 x
    TheDees
    Moderator
    Posts: 155
    Joined: Wed Mar 17, 2021 4:29 pm

    Re: Telling your story

    Tue Apr 27, 2021 7:50 pm

    Hi @Shiraz67,

    Welcome to the forums! Seems like you've come to the right place. Within the forums you'll find useful information, the support of the community, hopefully some motivation from others stories and advice from others that have gone through similar experiences.

    Thank you for sharing your story. It's very brave of you to put yourself out there. I'm really sorry about what happened to your mom and her uncle. Seems like you have a really good insight of how addiction has affected your family and yourself.

    Congratulations for making the appointment with your GP. Let us know how you go.

    Also, many find the forums useful as a journal to keep themselves accountable. Please keep us posted on your journey and reach out at anytime.

    The Team
    0 x
    ScorpionPW
    Peer Worker
    Posts: 220
    Joined: Tue Apr 13, 2021 10:06 am

    Re: Telling your story

    Thu Apr 29, 2021 2:05 pm

    Thank you so much for sharing your story with us @Katiee,

    It blows me away to hear of what you have lived through and that you have ended up where you are now.

    It is awesome to hear that you're a Peer Worker as well! I didn't realise there were others on here who are also working in the space.

    I love the way that you owned the fact that you still get triggered and experience cravings from time to time. Acknowledging that stuff and saying it out loud (to the right people who can support me) is what dis-empowers those thoughts for me.

    Here's to living the dream! :D
    1 x
    ScorpionPW
    Peer Worker
    Posts: 220
    Joined: Tue Apr 13, 2021 10:06 am

    Re: Telling your story

    Thu Apr 29, 2021 2:10 pm

    Hi @Shiraz67,

    I'd just like to say that I think it's so brave of you to come on here and share about what you're going through, I take my hat off to you for that.

    It's hard when it runs in the family, I remember wondering the same thing - that is, how I ended up in addiction after watching my parents and swearing I would never be like them.

    For me it just goes to show that on my own, I am powerless over my addiction and the only way I can live in a way that it does not control my thinking and behaviours is to maintain a recovery that is stronger than my addiction.

    It's fantastic that you've reached out for help and that you're booked in with your GP.

    I'd like to ask if you've ever done any kind of support group before and if you feel like being around people who have been through/are going through similar things as you but who have found a new way to live is something you feel you might get value from?
    0 x
    Craig PW
    Peer Worker
    Posts: 95
    Joined: Thu Dec 03, 2020 1:35 pm

    Re: Telling your story

    Mon May 03, 2021 9:57 pm

    Great thread @ScorpionPW and judging by the 260+ views there are a lot of people who think so too!! Unreal of @Katiee and @Shiraz67 to share too......brave

    For me drugs and alcohol were a way of fitting in because I never really felt like I fitted anywhere. I knew lots of people but never really felt like I belonged in a friendship group and as such found my way floating from one group to another. From the moment I was sneaking out of the house at 15 to go and hang with older crew and drink a couple of beers I felt like I found some form of identity. From there it just made me feel normal. By the time I was 18 if I wasn't drunk, stoned or flying every day I was uncomfortable and out of place. As I got older I managed to be using one substance for one thing, another to balance the effect of the first, another to lift me to another place but somehow I managed to hold jobs, enter a long term relationship and put on a pretty normal front to the world. What I know now is that the whole time I was just masking the pain and lonlieness whilst sweeping stuff under the carpet. The drugs and alcohol put the smile on my face that I wanted the world to see.

    Trouble was that after a while they stopped working......so I tried other substances........and more of the same substances........and more and more of everything. When the substances didn't work it was the behaviours that spiralled out of control...........gambling, porn, sex. I just wanted anything to take me away from myself because I didn't like myself at all.........although I did the best I could to convince myself I did and that everything was okay.

    In the midst of all that I never really established an identity.........or at least not one that I understood or wanted.

    I never knew who I was.

    This played havoc with my mental health and eventually I crumbled. I didn't know if addictions were the reason for my depression or depression was the reason for my addictions..........either way it was a messed up merry-go-round to be riding. I wanted it all though. I wanted the ride, the happiness, the good times but none of the responsibility for life or for my actions. It was always someone else's fault or happened because I was off my head. During the process I lost what I loved most.......my family.........and ended up alone. Then it all got worse and I almost lost my life.

    Recovery has helped me understand myself, what drove me deeper into addiction and to establish an identity. Now I work in AOD and try to help others help themselves to get the recovery they want. One thing I've learnt alonfg the way is that it's not about what anyone else wants for you in recovery, it's what you want for yourself............and whether you're doing whatever it takes to not just get it but to maintain it.

    Today the chaos is gone.........life has its difficulties but in general, I'm not making them worse.
    2 x
    ScorpionPW
    Peer Worker
    Posts: 220
    Joined: Tue Apr 13, 2021 10:06 am

    Re: Telling your story

    Fri May 07, 2021 10:54 am

    Thanks so much for sharing @Craig PW...I love what you're saying about substance use just becoming a normal part of the way you used to cope with day to day life. And that even though from the outside looking in, everything looked good in your life, yet you also had that silent internal struggle that you were doing your best to cope with by using things outside of yourself to numb the pain.

    I think this really speaks to the stigma and the misconceptions about what an 'addict' or 'alcoholic' looks like. It can touch anybody and I think it goes to show that we never really know how many people are suffering quietly, trying to hold it together and maintain a front to the rest of the world. It's stories like yours that hopefully can encourage the conversation to change and help people to feel more comfortable reaching out for help.

    I also really relate to the lack of identity. I remember having no idea who I was when I got into recovery, every part of my identity was linked to substance use in some way. I had to go through a process of finding out who I am, what my values are, what I like, what I don't like, what I wanna do with my life.

    You spoke about doing whatever it takes to maintain recovery. It would be great to know what you do to maintain your recovery day to day?
    1 x
    Craig PW
    Peer Worker
    Posts: 95
    Joined: Thu Dec 03, 2020 1:35 pm

    Re: Telling your story

    Mon May 10, 2021 8:24 pm

    Thanks @ScorpionPW.................what do I do to maintain your recovery day to day you ask?

    It's all pretty simple stuff.........and you know what the say........a simple program for complicated people. :lol:

    There's one thing I've done since day 1 at rehab and I haven't missed a day since..........I journal. Every night I just write one page in a journal book - not a big page - just a page. Sometimes it's what I've done, what I could do better, what happened, what I can learn from, what I can own. What I find is that if there's a theme for a few days/weeks then clearly there's something I need to address. I can't hide from myself there. It's what keeps me accountable. Out of everything I've done in recovery this is the thing that I'm deadset scared to stop. If I stop this I might start believing the bull@#$% I tell myself some days to get through. Honesty has to be a cornerstone of my life or I'm in real trouble and the journal is where I'm forced into honesty...........even if it takes a few days/weeks to happen. This is where that gets highlighted and forces me to either take action or risk falling into the same old ways because if we don't change our behaviours in recovery then we just won't recover.

    I also try to keep a routine. I aim to exercise every morning or else my day just isn't the same. If that's a walk, a swim, some wights or a half hour on the exercise bike doesn't matter. It helps me get rid of excess energy, gets my breathing in a rhythm and is like a moving meditation where my thoughts get time to find some order and I can start my day focused. Getting the NA Just for Today emailed to me each day helps too. I read that before I exercise and it helps me set some sort of intention for the day.

    That's the simple stuff I do and it works for me...........that's what's important.........finding what works for you
    1 x

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