Looking back over my life, I can see that I was always addicted to something from an early age.
But, this doesn't matter today. What matters is that I continually address my issue in the present, to make sure that addiction to drugs doesn't ever become an issue again, as it almost killed me after it robbed me of anything worth having in my life.
I first became addicted to drugs when I started smoking tac (cannabis), in my early teens. I didn't like it right away, but after a few months of smoking it, I found my comfort with it and my acceptance with my group of friends, who were all smoking and drinking.
When my dad committed suicide, when I was 16, my drug dependancy became an issue. I had already been struggling before this happened and afterwards it was like the green light to say 'f*&k it', I'm no longer participating in this world that I feel so uncomfortable in.
I was around heavy drug users, daily, with the one difference being that for some of us, we didn't have an off switch. It wasn't just me that drank or took drugs in large quantities, one of my best friends became addicted to heroin and had it not been for my disliking of throwing up every time I smoked it, I would've followed suit.
My life wasn't total doom and gloom, I always had an understanding that I wanted more from life, I just didn't have the ability to cope with my feelings, so I used drugs to escape long enough to experience consequences, then I would try to tidy myself up and live a 'normal' life, but this was always short lived, as I would lack motivation to keep going and would become limited by my lack of purpose, not knowing that I had a choice to do things differently. It's hard when you see almost everyone around you, living the same way. It took a major event to make me realise that I didn't have to keep doing what I'd always done.
I was alcohol dependent in my early 20's and by the time I was 22, I had a newborn child to look after and had been struck off from work as I was starting to spiral. The long story short, is that for the next 6 years, I experienced all of the horrible things that people told me in my early 20's would happen if I kept drinking and taking drugs, but none more horrible than living at the other end of the country, isolated, stuck in a loop of continually worrying about running out of cider and facing withdrawal.
I was laying on a bed dying, knowing that I was going to die, when I realised that I wanted to live. I somehow ended up in rehab for the first time, drank as soon as I left, ended up back on the streets and then back into rehab, where my attitude changed the second time around. I had an epiphany. I realised that my life needed to change. Not just me, I needed a new way of living and thankfully in rehab I met a yoga teacher, who started to teach me a completely new way to live.
Alongside 12 Step recovery, I started practicing yoga, which led to me becoming an apprentice to my teacher and eventually a yoga teacher. My life today is very different to how it was when I was using drugs. I have love and respect for myself, which keeps me continually moving forward in life. I am almost 10 years in recovery, but I keep the consistency that I had in the early days of my recovery with taking care of myself, because feeling well is a high far better than any drug that I've taken.