Lisa was interviewed by Johna Johnson of Recovery Radio about her recovery from a serious drug addiction.
“I just thought, I can’t carry on like this. I’ve had enough.”
Can you tell me what made you start your recovery?
Five years ago I began the treatment for hepatitis C, which I got through injecting heroin, and the treatment completely broke me. It got to a point where my immune system stopped working – and I just thought, I can’t carry on like this. I’ve had enough. I had three kids and I just thought I can’t, I can’t keep doing this to myself. I was mentally, physically, and spiritually broken.
What was your life actually like when you were suffering from addiction?
It wasn’t a life, it was just an existence. My life revolved around heroin, when I was going to get my next fix. It was horrible, I ended up selling myself on the streets, I ended up robbing from shops, family, friends, loved ones. It was bleak, it was just a horrible, horrible existence. I lived to use and used to live.
And what’s your life like now that you’re out of addiction? Are you glad that you took that step?
Yeah, it’s the best thing I ever did. I love it, I love being able to wake up on a morning and feel normal, not have to run around looking for drugs to make me function as a human being. It’s ace, my life doesn’t revolve around gear any more and I’m able to smell and hear and have emotions and stuff. I just, I love it. I’ve got a good job to start in a couple of week as well. I can’t ever imagine going back to my old lifestyle, I couldn’t.
“I love it, I love being able to wake up on a morning and feel normal, feel like I don’t have to run around looking for drugs to make me function as a human being.”
That’s a positive affirmation. And do you find it nice to be able to spend money on things you really want to spend your money on?
Yeah. Now when my kids ask for an ice cream from the ice cream van I’m able to get them one without thinking “no because I need that three quid for bag”. It’s nice, just little things I could never appreciate before, I just appreciate them so much more. Like birds singing, or the smell of fresh air. Just the little things are really, really nice.
And do you have any advice for people who are thinking about starting their own recoveries?
Yeah – to do it. And to give it your all. It’ll be the best thing you ever do with your life. Someone once said to me “if you put as much effort into your recovery as you did into your using then you’ll do very well.”. I never believed that until I came into recovery myself. And it’s brilliant, recovery, it’s the best thing I ever did, and I’d advise everyone to live life free of drugs. I’d just say get to a daycare centre or a unit and surround yourself with positive people. Don’t just sit at home. Get involved with people who want the best out of you and not people who just want to use you. Just plug yourself into as many things as possible, keep your head going. If that makes sense.
“I wake up smiling, I go to bed smiling. I didn’t even know how to smile 18 months ago!”
It does make sense. Do you think the main thing is to change your lifestyle?
Yeah, you’ve got to change everything. Every single thing in your life has to change. Your friends, your family, where you live. You have to change everything because if you don’t you’re never going to get clean properly.
So do you think it’s worth going through the change in order to recover?
Oh yeah, it’s so worth it, the rewards are amazing. You get genuine friends who love you for you and you meet so many amazing people. And there are so many rewards. If you make your dreams realistic, what is to stop you from achieving them?
Exactly. I like what you said about “if you put as much effort into your recovery”, because I don’t think people realise how much effort it takes both becoming an addict and recovering.
I’ve noticed a lot of people think it’ll just change overnight. It doesn’t happen like that, you have to put a lot of effort into recovering. A lot. But it’s so worth it, that’s all I can say to anyone. I wake up smiling, I go to bed smiling. I didn’t even know how to smile 18 months ago! It’s amazing.
“A lot of people think it’ll just change overnight. It doesn’t happen like that, you have to put a lot of effort into recovering.”
That’s another positive statement. What does the future hold for you? Is there anything that you want to achieve?
I do have dreams but mostly I live for today because I don’t want to live in the past. What I suppose I dream of is giving back what I’ve got to people who need that help. I’ve got so much of workers and day care centres and people in recovery, and I’d like to give a piece of what I’ve got to people who are struggling. That’s my dream – to help people.
Thank you Lisa. And we always end these stories by asking if there’s a song or a genre of music that help people through their recovery. Have you got a song or style of music that helped you?
Eminem helped me through my recovery. His recovery album. Any track.
“That’s my dream – to help people.”
More Recovery Radio interviews, including inspirational stories like Lisa’s, can be found here http://podcasts.canstream.co.uk/bcb/index.php?cat=Community%20Programmes