At the end of over thirty years of injecting drugs I was left with two choices, suicide or get clean. Suicide seemed the nice easy option but I didn’t have the balls to do it, and every night I’d be wishing I’d die in my sleep and as it wasn’t happening I ended up doing the latter, on the advice of my then girlfriend, saying give treatment a go and if it doesn’t work you can always do the suicide option afterwards.

So off to treatment I went thinking six weeks isn’t that big a sacrifice for a cure!! I honestly did not have a clue and my expectations were along the lines of I’ll get rid of my class A problem and keep the diazepam habit, as its no big deal, and carry on spliffing and drinking as that’s what ‘normal’ people do.

I somehow ended up picking a twelve-step rehab on the recommendation of my then girlfriend without knowing what it entailed. You can imagine my surprise at being told abstinence is the way forward!! Lasted five weeks before they moved me on to second stage and by now I was a physical and mental wreck. In fact most of the other residents thought I was still using as I was in such a state.

I was completely clueless about what was needed to be done to stay clean but I was willing and a slight nuisance, questioning everything along the way. By now it was dawning on me that a life of abstinence wouldn’t be so bad after all. In fact I was up for it as a conversation during my detox remained in my head and it went something like this.

Friend “so you think you’re hard don’t you?”

Me “yeah”

Friend “you can’t be that hard if you can’t sit with a feeling without using on it!!”

I’d always thought of myself as tough, not so much physically but definitely mentally and the fact I couldn’t sit with a feeling really got to me and gave me a goal which I had to prove I could do. I had the emotional maturity of a teenager but the body of someone approaching the half-century mark in life so I was still struggling to make sense of ‘me’. The one thing I knew for sure was I didn’t want my old life back, and so I had to build my new life up from scratch, not that I had much of a life before! Not having a clue how to do this I spent most of my early recovery surrounded by positive people wanting the same thing as myself. Many an hour was spent in different coffee shops around London with like-minded people in recovery debating the pros and cons of recovery.

I soon tired of coffee shop recovery and someone suggested I do voluntary work and to me that sounded absurd, to give my time up for free?!? No way!!! I had this misconstrued idea that I’d walk into a job even though I’d never worked in my life! Anyway, my friend persuaded me to try being a volunteer before I knocked it. So along I went and ended up getting interviewed, and too my surprise I was given a start date. I was now officially a BoB (SUDRG back when I started) volunteer and after a clueless rocky start I settled down and started taking my role as a volunteer more seriously, and through time I was promoted through the ranks of shadow team leader, team leader and getting a paid job as a manager.

I worked as a manager for BoB at ARCH in Uxbridge and thoroughly enjoy my job, before moving on to my new role with the Hep C Trust. Basically what I am trying to say is early recovery is a massive head fuck but by doing the right moves the rewards will come. Would I swap my new life back for my old one? Absolutely not !!! And finally, a massive big up to everyone that’s been part of my journey and helped me achieve everything I have so far.

Eddie Meyers