I started using drugs aged 28. It started with Cannabis, Ecstasy and Cocaine and progressed to heroin and crack. Life was a mess, just endless days of misery. I had children but was not able to be a mum to any of them. I couldn’t look after myself so had no chance of looking after anyone else. I tried to get clean several times and worked with the local drug and alcohol team for years. Life had got so bad for me that the only option was to get clean. I’d made my mind up, I was going to try again but this time I was more determined than ever to get clean and become the person I knew I could be.
I finally got clean in March 2012. I was so determined to stay clean that I started to help other people when I could see them struggling. I wasn’t working so I had to find something to do with my time. I found helping others so rewarding that eventually I looked at volunteering at my local drug and alcohol team.
Volunteering was good but even then I didn’t believe in my own abilities. Years of feeling worthless takes a lot to get over and confidence, or lack of it, was a major problem for me.
I went for an interview at The Chestnuts in March 2019, I thought at the time I have got nothing to lose by trying and I was overwhelmed when I was offered a job as a support worker. This was my first ever job! I knew two of the staff members at The Chestnuts so I didn’t have too much anxiety when I started on my first day.
Straight away I knew this is what I was meant to do with my life and knew that Steps Together would be the organisation that I wanted to stay with. Working with the clients means everything to me. Being able to make a difference and to offer hope to people who were in similar situations to the one I had been in for most of my adult life. I felt comfortable talking to the clients and could understand some of the fears and worries they had.
I’ve been at the Chestnuts for 4 years now and have progressed to ANP. I have gained confidence and knowledge along the way. Steps Together gave me the chance to have a positive impact on other people’s lives. I love every part of my job but by far the best feeling is seeing clients leave treatment clean and sober and then hearing from them months and years later letting us know that they are still in recovery and doing well.
Assistant Nursing Practitioner at Steps Together