Mark’s Story of Recovery Continued
Mark struggled for over 20 years with heroin addiction. He is now 6 years clean after completing his stay at Hader Clinic Queensland.
“Mark started experimenting with drugs when he was only 17. This quickly progressed and he was physically and mentally addicted to heroin by the age of 21. He would suffer from withdrawals without it.” He shares his story.
At the time I was studying at university and working full-time. I was able to function, but I knew that my life could not continue this way. I felt like I was leading a double life and I knew I couldn’t maintain my heroin addiction without having some serious consequences. I lived in fear a lot of the time. I didn’t want to end up in jail.
I tried numerous activities to get clean – rapid detoxes, injections of vitamins, doctors, psychologists, naltrexone treatment – nothing worked for me and by the age of 23 I was put on the methadone program.
Even being on methadone didn’t stop me from using heroin, any time I could heroin I would use. Even so, I still managed to initially progress in my career and was managing large teams of people. I continued being on methadone for 14 years and my life slowly deteriorated.
I am certain that people who cared about me knew something was wrong, but they could not say anything to me. Eventually, I hit a low point. I was depressed and my life started to be unmanageable. I couldn’t get out of bed or go to work. I decided to start reducing the amount of methadone I was taking however I was still using heroin regularly.
Using heroin prevented me from forming real relationships such as with friends, partners, and family. I was completely isolated.
I was identified by my job and I was living two lives. I was living one life at work, and a separate life as a drug addict, and both lives involved a lot of lying and deception. It took so much energy to live in both worlds.
That’s all I was – what I did at work and slowly killing myself with drugs. I didn’t know how to have relationships, I didn’t know how to be a friend.
I started attending NA meetings for a few years but still couldn’t kick my heroin habit entirely. I was constantly relapsing and the destruction in my life progressed. I got to a point where I couldn’t stop. I tried detoxes at home, and I tried just gritting my teeth, but I couldn’t do it.
To fund my habit, I stole money from my family. It was this that led me to recovery. When my family confronted me, I opted for rehab. I felt a lot of shame about where my addiction had led me.
I knew I needed to get into detox and rehab. I was willing to get help. I needed to go somewhere that offered a 12-step program and daily meetings.
At the time most rehabs wanted you to detox before you were admitted. I knew from experience that I could not detox by myself. It was a great relief to find Hader Clinic Queensland as they offered detox, rehab and a 12-step program.
There’s a huge jump between rehab, an institution, and the real world. Hader Clinic Queensland’s Transitional Housing Program softened that experience and gave me time to readjust to sober life. It helped me integrate back into society and start my new life.
I knew that it was not good for my recovery to live with my family initially. And living in the transition house gave me time readjust to life. Thanks to the foundations I was able to make during my stay in rehab, I have been able to grow and build a life I want to be a part of. I no longer lead a double life and there is peace in that.
Today I am a completely different person. It takes ongoing work, but the benefits are significant. My relationships have improved in all areas of my life. I am now able to connect with other people with more honesty and with self-esteem.
For the past 6 years, I have discovered so many new things about myself. I love to paint, garden, and renovate my home. Being clean has helped me tap into my creativity. I have my own house and I have a job that is rewarding.
I am so grateful for what I learnt and to Hader Clinic Queensland for helping me with my recovery. The daily structure I was taught there, I still practice today. I think it is really important to understand that rehab was only the start of the journey for me.
Names and photographs of this client have been changed to protect their privacy.
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