I moved to Stoke in 2000 and had everything: a job at a school, a wife and a beautiful family home. Then in 2012 my wife and I started trying for a baby. We were struggling to conceive naturally so we decided to get some help.
In 10 months we’d spent nearly £8000 on various treatments, and when eventually she fell pregnant we were over the moon. Sadly she miscarried a few weeks later. After that, nothing was ever the same again. One day I came home and all her things had gone – she’d left.
After that I just hit that big, red self-destruct button. I lost my job and started using again. The only way I could deal with the pain of what had happened was through drugs, and then the shame and the guilt were so terrible I’d use even more; it was a vicious cycle.
It was during that time that I met my current partner, an old friend from work. She used to come round and bring me food and later drop me off at my appointments. I put her through hell; she saw me at my lowest points and yet she risked absolutely everything for me. If it wasn’t for her I don’t know if I’d be here today.
I came to Change Grow Live (CGL) and bit by bit started putting my life back together. One of my best friends now is a guy who came through recovery with me. I think friendships you make in recovery are often closer than other friendships, because you’ve been through something so intense and life changing it creates an unshakeable bond.
Then in October 2013 I received the best bit of news of my life – my partner was pregnant! I just started crying. All that time my ex-wife had thought there was a problem with me, and I had to deal with that shame. Now I was going to have a baby!
On 12th June 2014 at 17.35pm my little girl, Isabel, was born. I held my seven-minute old daughter and for the first time in my life, I didn’t have words to describe how I was feeling, I was the happiest man in the world. The midwife asked if I was okay and all I could do was nod.
Things have got better and better. I’m a peer mentor and do a lot of work running our peer mentor sessions, both in Stoke and at other services. I also attend senior management meetings and do a lot of service user representation at Change Grow Live. Change Grow Live have given me every opportunity to get my life back on track. They’ve supported me through tough times and given me chances in life I never thought were possible.
Recovery is hard; it’s something you have to work at every day. I’m a bit like a swan, I look graceful on the top but underneath I’m peddling like mad! But I know if I don’t have my recovery, then I don’t have my daughter, and she needs her daddy just as much as I need her.
Have you been affected by any of the issues in Steven’s story?
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The Miscarriage Association provides free support to people struggling with pregnancy loss