Anyone who didn’t know Lee during his drug dealing years would think he had it all. He managed a roofing company with a turnover of £6.8 million, drove a BMW, owned his own house, and was married with a son.
Selling cocaine was a side line which he started in his teens, first to fund his recreational drug use and later to feed an addiction. But after twenty years of selling drugs to support a £500 a day habit things began to unravel.
‘I was the oldest of four and was brought up in a family where no one worked and there was no structure. My mum was an alcoholic and I was nearly put into care,’ explained Lee, 36, at our Addiction Recovery Hub in Bathgate.
‘From an early age I wanted to distance myself from my family and do well for myself. I was determined to prove that I could do well despite them.’
So Lee pushed himself hard, building up a successful company while simultaneously selling cocaine and cannabis to support his own habit and to deal with the pain of losing his mother when she was only 46 of a brain tumour.
‘Drugs took everything from me,’ explained Lee. ‘I lost my house, my business, the vans, the staff, my marriage and I nearly lost my son. I’d do anything for the drugs and in the end they destroyed me.’
As his life began to fall apart, Lee found himself more and more desperate. ‘I was full of self-loathing and self-pity,’ he said. ‘I’d look in the mirror and see a monster.’
Finally, he couldn’t take it anymore. Alone with a sawn-off shot gun, Lee decided to end it and made a final phone call to his sister.
‘I have no memory of that call,’ said Lee. ‘But my sister said I was talking nonsense and I ended up being sectioned for drug induced psychosis at St John’s Hospital. It was where I needed to be.’
Thanks to those 12 days in hospital in March 2018, Lee was able to begin the process of weaning himself off his addictions and to confront his dependency.
By attending Cocaine Anonymous and regular meetings at the Bathgate Hub which offers an open access space for people with addiction problems and professionals to work together, Lee is turning his life around. Now in temporary accommodation, he has always maintained a close relationship with his son, aged eight.
‘I feel ace,’ said Lee. ‘Mind you, I couldn’t have felt any worse before. Now, I need to look after my head and me and I need to take it steady.’
For 50 years we’ve journeyed with thousands of people like Lee in tough realities, helping them transform their own lives for themselves, but there is still much to do.
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