Michael’s story began when he was a very young boy, growing up with addiction in his family led to his own troubles with drugs and alcohol…
“I was living in Swindon in my late teens/early twenties and was heavily involved in the rave scene of the 90’s. Drinking and taking drugs was what everyone was doing, but things soon got out of my control. I was working in warehouses and was bored, going out to raves and taking drugs was fun and got me out of the monotony of my working life but I couldn’t stop. Things got bad enough for me to enter a treatment centre at the age of 26, but I thought that drinking would still be OK so I never really got clean and after leaving the centre things quickly went back to how they were before. I went back into treatment at 28 and was more successful this time, I moved to Cheltenham once I got through the addiction recovery programme and felt pretty good about myself. I was positive about things for the first time in years.
Unfortunately the reality of having my own flat and having to sustain it, pay bills etc was just too much to cope with. I didn’t really know how to be an adult properly and things started to go wrong again. I started working in a pub, which in hindsight was a bad idea. I had easy access to alcohol, drugs just followed on from this. I was taking pretty much anything, probably the worst kind of addict you can imagine. The next 12 or so years were so dark and bleak I barely remember them. I thought it was the coolest thing to be free to do whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted with no rules, but in reality it was no life at all. And I wasn’t cool in the slightest.
I finally ended up in a treatment centre in Weston Super Mare, where they convinced me to give up my accommodation. I was reluctant, but I knew that I couldn’t cope living on my own and this had caused me to relapse in the past, so I did. This time was harder than ever, but something felt different. I told myself third time lucky, but perhaps being that much older gave me a different perspective on it. I’d had no life to speak of until that point; I’d wasted every other chance I got. Detox was a tough process, I heard some very dark stories from people also in treatment. But I also met some lovely people and after 6 months I left and that’s when I came to See Change.
I’ve been here for nearly a year now, and I’m feeling in a much better place. I’m starting to be happy with myself, thanks to the support of the people here. I’m working towards a pre-access course at college and once I’ve finished this I hope to go on to studying more, maybe looking into a social work degree in the future. College is tough sometimes as I’m a lot older than the other students, I feel a bit out of place but there are some really nice people on my course. I spend lots of time in the local library and I listen to music a lot, which helps me if I’m feeling low. I really want to do some travelling as well, and I’m taking a trip soon to Donegal to meet up with my family who I haven’t seen for years. It’s a big step for me but I’m looking forward to seeing them again. With the help of the people at See Change, I want to continue to move forward and build up my confidence and independence.”