Adam is 26, a former professional rugby player, he had addictions to Class A drugs and gambling. This is his story:
“I have been to Compassion in Action twice. The first time I had a good job, I was earning good money and living at home with my mum but I was losing the money as soon as I earned it because I was a gambler and was addicted to drugs. Initially I came to Compassion in Action on a voluntary basis whilst I was working.
Because of my drug addiction I made the decision to go into rehab I was there for 3.5 months and it was so hard to leave my daughter, the only thing that kept me going was that I knew if I could get clean it was for her benefit. When I left rehab I thought that I was ‘fixed’ and that I could return to my previous life – I wanted the lifestyle that I had had before.
I lasted two months before I slowly started to slip back into my old habits. It started when I bought a scratch card with my shopping, I won the scratch card and remembered the buzz that I got from gambling. Remembering that buzz I started going back into the betting shop. When I left rehab I had moved straight back to my old life with my old friends and living in the old area. I could see where I was going but I felt powerless to stop it. I was the go to person for drink and drugs and partying. My family rejected me for the things I had done. I never through anything like that would happen to me. I had a good job, a good career and the higher I went the bigger the fall was.
As a result of that behaviour I ended up homeless and living in the back of my work van, trying to scrape through. The drug use and gambling impacted on my work and I couldn’t hold my job down properly. I would do anything to get the buzz from addiction. I was addicted to the adrenaline rush. Once I’d stopped gambling I’d take drugs to give me that buzz again. I tried every avenue to keep the life I had as an addict but it got to a point where I hit rock bottom and I realised everything that I lost; the places that I had been and things that I had done were wrong.
Luckily Pam took me back in at Patrick House and has been like a second mum to me. I started unraveling all the things that I’ve been up to and things that have happened in the past. I’ve had my bad days in Patrick House but basically no one can force you to do things, the staff here give you the tools that you need but its up to you to use them. If it wasn’t for Patrick House I would probably be dead by now. I’m slowly building my life again. I get a lot of support from the people here, I attend groups for gambling and substance misuse, counselling sessions, fellowship meetings and evening activity groups. I’m working hard to try to find the real me and unraveling all this chaos rather than masking my problems with drugs and gambling.
Once you take the lid off its like opening Pandora’s box and there is so much stuff in there that you never realize. The counseling is really important to me in identifying things that have happened in the past and helping me to deal with them and my fellowship is a big thing. When I was in rehab I was that desperate I would have done anything and I gave my life to god in rehab but even in rehab I hadn’t quite hit rock bottom and I was quite manipulative. It took those months after rehab to get me to rock bottom and a huge part of overcoming my addiction in the months that followed is enjoying the fellowship and knowing you’re never alone.
I’m still unraveling the past but I know that I have many skills that I have probably never used. I recognise I need to live in the here and now and not look too far in the future. I need to turn my life on its head and strip myself bare and rebuild myself again. The past has gone, I have a lot of amends to make to people that I’ve hurt in the past and I’m trying to rebuild relationships with family and my daughter.
The ethos at Compassion in Action is that you’re working as well as recovering and not sitting in a room stewing over things – you have a purpose. Its nice to be clean and wake up in a positive mood every morning. Recovery is difficult and it would be even more so if I wasn’t in a place like this. I still have my bad days. Now I feel like I don’t have to prove anything to anyone else just to myself.
When I lost my family Pam was like a second mum, Craig has been a tremendous supporter and we have good relationships between the clients at Patrick House. We are a big family. Other people can see the changes in me, which is great. Ultimately I’d like to help others that have been in this situation. It’s the first time I’ve felt that I’m in a good place.