chess player

My life from a young age was challenging and I had to grow up fast. I began drinking at a young age, moved through party drugs and by the age of 15 I was using crack cocaine.

That’s why stopping using has been so hard, it’s been ingrained in me since I was a teenager.

I began to have brushes with the law from a young age as well. The first time I was locked up I was 15 which is when I first started using crack.

Later on, during a three year prison spell I had managed to get off drugs by going cold turkey. That’s when I began to develop myself; spiritually, physcially, psychologically and emotionally.

I became a keen reader and educated myself on a wide range of subjects from physics to psychology. Chess became a big part of my life as well. I find it very therapeutic as it requires focus, patience and concentration which aids with my adult ADHD.

I got out of prison and began volunteering, then I began working in a number of fields related to health and social care including youth work and work in drug treatment. Helping other people in these ways was great therapy for me and all went well for about ten years.

Then I lost my job. I was involved in an unhealthy relationship and a number of other family issues came up that contributed to a relapse and I began using drugs again.

In 2018, with help from the team at Forward Leeds, I managed to get completely clean again. I’ve decided to make 2019 a year of intensive recovery for myself.

I feel there are a number of emotional blockages that also need clearing out relating to my childhood and my past. That’s why I am just taking this year to work everything through. I had some psychotherapy in the past and I found that really beneficial and I’m hoping to start counselling soon.

I have given this whole year over to working on my recovery. This is why 5 WAYS is just great for me. The yoga, the gardening activities and the Adult Children of Alcoholics group at 5 WAYS are helping a lot. I’m also enjoying playing chess down here and teaching others to play as well, which is a form of therapeutic healing for me as well.

The bonding and the socialisation at 5 WAYS is really helping me as well. There’s a great community down here. Working on your recovery as part of a group who have a similar mindset is more likely to make your recovery sustainable in the long run.

I’ve now got an application in for university and I’m going to start volunteering with the St Giles Trust.

I’m feeling so much better and healthier as well. My main incentive now is to start building more healthy relationships with people.