Tyrone was interviewed about his recovery by Johna Johnson for Recovery Radio, which can be found on BCB 106.6fm.
“I was homeless and I was just sick of it.”
What made you start your recovery and how did you begin?
Well, to be honest, I was homeless and I was just sick of it. I was sick of being on the streets. I thought it was time to get in recovery and get my life together. After I’d been homeless for about six months I went into Cyrenians and they got me a place to stay.
What was life like in addiction?
Day to day I just had the same routine, buying drugs, taking them, begging. It was the same old routine and it was embarrassing. And when I was homeless people used to shout at you and piss on you, and kick you. You aren’t treated well on the streets, but I always tried to stay positive and think about people who were worse off than me.
“You aren’t treated well on the streets, but I always tried to stay positive and think about people who were worse off than me.”
And how did you survive in that period?
I was begging on the streets. I didn’t want to steal or do anything else and because I didn’t have an address I couldn’t claim benefits, so it was my only option. But now I’ve got a criminal record for begging, because I didn’t want to go shoplifting.
What was begging like?
It was horrible, you were sat in the freezing cold and it was so degrading. I used to sit down for two minutes and the police would move me on straight away. At the supermarket I sometimes sat outside the security guards used to come and kick me and try to drag me away and beat me up just for sitting there. They were so aggressive once that a stranger actually told them to leave me alone because I wasn’t doing anything wrong. I just couldn’t wait to get out of it, but you have to go through procedures to do that. You don’t get a house immediately, you have to go on a waiting list and it can take ages.
“I used to see people walking past, and I used to think about how I wanted to be like them, I wanted their lifestyle.”
And what did you spend the money you made from begging on?
Well what I made each day would vary, but I’d just put it all into my addiction. I was addicted to heroin and crack, and I drunk alcohol. I’d just sit there until I had enough to buy drink or drugs.
So what triggered your recovery?
I used to sit there and see people walking past, and I used to think about how I wanted to be like them, I wanted their lifestyle. It motivated me. Before I got addicted I used to work as a restaurant manager for McDonald’s, I had a good career before I got sacked because of my drug addiction.
“I’m going to the gym, I’ve got my own place, I go to group sessions. It’s a big transformation.”
And what was life like in recovery?
Recovery is good, at the minute I’m reducing my medication and it’s all going well. I’m going to the gym, I’ve got my own place, I go to group sessions. Hopefully I’ll have a job soon as well, I’ve got a few interviews lined up. It’s a big transformation and I feel positive.
Have you got any advice for people who are wanting to start recovery?
Just have a good think and learn from your triggers. What makes you depressed, what makes you positive. Try and make negatives into positives.
“Try and make negatives into positives.”
If you want to hear more interviews from Recovery Radio, then they can be found at http://podcasts.canstream.co.uk/bcb/index.php?cat=Community%20Programmes