It sounds so cliché that ‘Hope gave me hope,’ but it did more than just that, it gave me the will to want to live again. I was 16 and I was about to sign a professional football contract. I was a fit, happy and charismatic young man with the world at my feet. Due to complications and an injury I was unable to fulfil my lifelong dream of becoming a footballer. My injury caused me to be placed on certain medications (Valium (Diazepam) and OxyContin) and within a short amount of time I began abusing my prescriptions which eventually crippled me both physically and mentally.
After a little over six months of using these drugs I was placed by my parents into a rehab facility in London. I lasted 3 weeks before both my parents and I knew it wasn’t right for me and flew me back to Australia where we believed I would be able to receive some sort of rehabilitation. This plan soon changed and I began manipulating and lying in order to continue my using. Fast forward to when I was 21. I had completed my plumbing apprenticeship through my father’s company. Throughout the 4-year apprenticeship I was fired over 4 times, crashed 2 company vehicles and took countless sick days but my father couldn’t turn his back on me, he would always give me that ‘one more chance.’ My disease of addiction was just tearing my family apart. The amount of nights my mother would cry to me and ask me ‘why can’t you just stop?’ I never had an answer. In as little as 5 years I had gone from a fit and happy young man to a scared lonely little boy.
At 22 I made another attempt at a rehab facility, this time in Australia, where the rehabs were so outrageously expensive both my parents and I thought that they must work. I checked myself in for a 4-week program. I somehow knew that 4 weeks wouldn’t be able to undo the past 6 years of heavy drug use. I started noticing faults in the program and soon was finding myself isolating and making little progress. I discharged myself from the rehab little into my third week. I thought my will power alone was going to keep me clean. I lasted all of 2 hours before I quickly relapsed and found myself going to my local doctor and getting a refill on my prescriptions. My parents found out and that was the final straw. They kicked me out of their home, took my car and a lot of personal gifts that I had taken for granted. I was more alone than ever and with me not being able to afford my prescriptions I started going for the cheaper option which was Heroin.
I was gripped by the drug incredibly quickly and I found myself living with people who used heroin every day. I started over dosing very regularly. Mixing both Benzos and Heroin was a recipe for death. My parents were contacted by friends who informed them of how close to death I was. They gave me that ‘one more chance’ talk. They put forward a proposal of a rehab in Thailand. I jumped on it, and soon I was on a plane to Thailand. I arrived and met two men at the airport who greeted me and took me straight to Hope. I arrived on rocky terms. I wasn’t used to this sort of structure at rehabs. I gave it everything I had. I went to all of the groups and activities. Within a short time I fell in love with Hope. I felt myself coming back to life. I stayed for 2 months and ended up going to the aftercare program. I feel like I owe my life to Hope and I have found myself volunteering at Hope with the aim of passing the amazing program on to other addicts. Simon and the Hope team have something other rehabs don’t, a family bond.
I never thought I would be able to not only get clean but enjoy the process of finding that happy young man again.