RECOVERY STORY 1

JAMES’S STORY
James was born and raised in Inverclyde and moved to Argyll with his parents when he was around 14. His parents were drinkers and James suffered violence at the hands of his father and a sense of being unloved by both of them having to act as the ‘real parent’ of his younger sibling. James started using drink as a coping mechanism which led to hash use, acid and other drugs. Around the age of 16, he moved to Oban to take a job as a trainee chef but had to give up shortly afterwards to come back and care for his mother following the death of his father. At this point his troubles got worse and his drug use increased to regularly using large amounts of ‘Jellies’ (Temazepam) which eventually led to (at 23 year of age) a 5 year jail term for attempted robbery. In prison James was introduced to heroin and ended up with a smoking and then an injecting habit by the time he left prison. This habit lasted from 26 to 40 years of age. Over this period he ended up with serious physical and mental health related problems including hepatitis and chronic depression. Occasionally he had some periods where he stayed clean but always seemed to end up failing and using again and ended up relying on high levels of medications to cope.
James came to Moving On in 2015 and went through the whole program and into aftercare and peer support activities. He found the program helped him deal with all the unresolved pain and helped him put issues from the past behind him. James states it helped him forgive himself and focus on his strengths and potential and a more hopeful future. He found support that helped him realise he was not too old to achieve things in life and through his keyworker he was supported to engage with the “Activate program” run by one of Moving On’s partner agencies. He says he felt that this program ‘opened the door for him to get into formal education’ and that meeting other people in Moving On and partner agencies who “believed in him” helped him to start to hope again. Over the period of working with Moving On and statutory partners James successfully came off 60ml of Methadone and 200mg daily anti-depressants.
Today he is working part time and attending university and describes his life today thus … “At Moving On they taught me how to rule my own thoughts. I really got a lot from the Steps To Excellence group at Moving On. It taught me about the importance of “vision” in a person’s life and how I could use it to my advantage” … “When I came at first I was really socially awkward but now I feel I have much more control over my life than I’ve ever had. It feels great to know my life is moving in the right direction and I feel at ease now in my own skin. The past no longer rules me and my future is my hands. I feel I now am part of the local community rather than feeling ashamed and disconnected. Even though life still brings challenges managing work and study etc, I can honestly say it feels great to achieve things and to feel like I belong in society again!

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