I started taking drugs when I was 13. I progressed from taking cannabis and alcohol recreationally to using ecstasy, cocaine and eventually crack.  I started to use prescription meds on top and my relationship with drugs became a lot more chaotic.

If I can be honest it was a laugh at times and I had some fun but it all caught up on me one day.

I used drugs to block out a lot of things that I couldn’t deal with like getting picked on when I was young and the loss of my best friend due to suicide. I thought drugs were my friend when they were the complete opposite.  My reckless drug use nearly killed me a few times and got me sectioned.  

I was a mess I knew I had to stop but didn’t have a clue how to do this.  I sought help from my local treatment centre and started going to NA meetings. This began to change the way I thought.  I started to learn from it all and understand why I used like I did.

Fortunately I was funded for residential rehab and a day programme.  This helped give me some recovery tools and some clean time but I needed something to do in life.

Since I have a good knowledge of drugs I thought volunteering for my local treatment centre might be a good idea.  I found this social club in Ealing run by a charity called Build on Belief which supported anyone with substance issues past or present.

I started volunteering when I was a year clean.  It gave me something to get up for in the mornings and some purpose in life.  Linda and Barry were my managers and helped me so much. The great thing about BoB is that it’s run by people with lived experience of addiction so everyone understands each other and it’s open on the weekends where lots of other services are shut. 

We did everything from cooking groups, mindfulness, arts and crafts to exercise groups and bike rides.  I found the most important thing was to make people feel welcome and offer support where we can.

I took part in some great training workshops which I found fascinating. This made getting a job in the field a lot easier with my insight and experience from volunteering.

I am proud to say I'm 31 now and I’ve been in recovery nearly four years and I’m now a manager for Build on Belief.