Addiction, Health, Behaviour Change | CGL

Amy’s story*

Finding the willpower to make the first step is something that I always thought I seriously lacked and having been a heavy drug user for many years, maintaining this willpower has become part of my daily routine.

The challenges I have faced to beat an addiction to heroin and crack are huge. I faced the challenge of functioning for the first time in many years without any substances, being clear headed and of course filling my time. Before, I was spending 90% of all my day either using, thinking about using or collecting my drugs. It’s a massive void to fill once you quit.

I had wanted to stop using drugs and thought about it for years, but that’s all it ever was ‘a thought’. What finally made me quit was finding out I was pregnant with my daughter. Once it was confirmed I was expecting, I took that first step to seek help at Change Grow Live’s Aspire service in Peterborough who connected me with my recovery worker Luci.

I knew Luci already from the various times over the years I’d engaged and disengaged, she had always tried to persuade me to return to treatment and seek help. I always agreed I would, but unfortunately that’s as far as I got. I was happy to learn Luci would be my recovery worker and she got me on a methadone script in less than one week. But recovery wasn’t as easy as that.

I continued to use for many more months, including crack. This scared me as I really wanted the strength to quit, but I found it so tough. Luci was very straight with me and told me if I didn’t at least quit crack cocaine I would lose my baby. So I did - six weeks before my daughter was born. I have not looked back since.

My life has changed for the better in a million ways. For starters I’m drug free. I am healthier. I don’t cough anymore. Although my daughter was taken away from me when she was born, I will be getting her back very soon. I have redecorated my flat. I have modern gadgets and electrical appliances again. I have my driving licence back. I go out on daytrips and enjoy eating out. I am rebuilding the family relationships I had neglected. I have a life.

Currently, I’m under a supervision order and will work with Aspire for 12 months to continue getting support and take regular drug tests to show I am free from illicit substances. I plan to move to a bigger house once my daughter is home and starts nursery, I also intend to start studying and eventually get a degree. That would be the dream result. Ultimately, my ambition is to work with people who are in a similar position to the one I was in.

I would say to anyone involved with a drink or drug habit or whatever situation they are in: “I know it’s scary, but if you think you can’t quit, or haven’t got the will power - that’s nonsense!” I was addicted to heroin and crack on and off for 20 years - and if I can quit, well believe me anyone can do it. Don’t waste any more time, money and life on this. Get help - it’s not too late.

*name changed to protect identity