Only seven months ago George was a completely different person from the man he is now.
Then he was a drug and alcohol addict with a prison record and a history of using any substance he could get his hands on – heroin, crack, meth, prescription drugs, cocaine and alcohol.
Now, he is clean and works as a volunteer for the charity Blameless which supports families and children with addictions. In addition, he is training to be a mentor with Aid and Abet, an organisation working with people leaving prison to help them avoid addiction and homelessness.
‘In the last few months I haven’t thought once about using. My life’s just done a 360 turn around, it’s amazing,’ said George, 43, who attends our Recovery Hub in Bathgate for people getting over addictions.
George experienced domestic violence as a child and was kicked out of the family house at the age of 15. He found himself behind bars at 17 for a breach of the peace and that’s when he started using.
‘I did it to get my family off my back or my partner. When something was happening in my life and I couldn’t cope, I used drugs to help me deal with life,’ said George who worked night shifts as a factory worker as well as doing stints as a lorry driver.
Once he started using heroin, he found it impossible to stop. ‘I wanted to stop but I couldn’t, I just didn’t know how. Once you’re dependent on something it’s a full time job to keep it going. It’s 7 days a week, 365 days a year, it’s every minute and you can never enjoy what you are doing because you are always thinking about the next fix,’ he said.
The change started when George joined Cocaine Anonymous and began attending regular meetings at our hub which provides a safe space for people to meet and help each other with their recovery following addiction.
‘It’s really good for me to come in here and get peer support,’ said George who split up with his long term partner during his addiction years and now lives with his father, who suffers from paranoid schizophrenia.
‘Those years when I was using, I was so isolated, it was horrible,’ said George. ‘Now I can see that while pain is inevitable, suffering is optional.’
For 50 years we’ve journeyed with thousands of people like George in tough realities, helping them transform their own lives for themselves, but there is still much to do.
Please donate to support our continued work in this, our 50th year