Danny shares his story about how coming to Phoenix's Scottish Residential Service changed his life...
Why I Came To Phoenix Futures by Danny
About five years ago I became unwell which resulted in my leg being amputated. I didn’t realise at the time the impact it would have on my life and the way it would make me feel. Even though the amputation was not a direct result of my drug use, it did not help.
After the operation I moved back to Preston to be closer to my family as they had offered to support me. I relapsed before the operation by taking crack and heroin. I also thought by moving back home this would help me deal with my drug problem. I lost my girlfriend who I love very much. She is my best friend now and I did not want to ruin our relationship. My physical appearance was changing due to my addiction and amputation. I lost a lot of weight and could not take care of myself. I became ashamed of the way I looked. It made me feel powerless and that my life was not worth living. I felt like people in my life were showing me pity. My addiction worsened the situation. My £100 to £200 a day habit lead me to stealing and borrowing and I think this became strain on my family relationships. I had lost my independence and I felt people had lost the respect they once had for me. I was always independent and I missed my old life, I felt like half a person who couldn’t do the things I once could. The things which I thought made me a man/masculine were gone in my eyes and I found this extremely difficult to come to terms with this. This caused me to sink further into my addiction, my life kept deteriorating.
I become sick and tired of my life plus I had to admit to myself that I needed help and that I could not get it back on track on my own. People started to take advantage of me financially and I was in a place I did not want to be and I felt that I was buying friendships. Rehab for me is not only about becoming drug free but it’s about finding myself again and rebuilding my family relationships. The fact of the matter was I had two choices; give up or get help through accepting I wasn’t coping.
Danny the day before he came to Phoenix
I’d been given funding 6 months before I got a place at Phoenix Futures but no place would take me, I’d lost hope on everything. I felt like I’d died inside. If I had not accepted I needed help, it would have taken longer than it did I and I do not believe I would be here now.
Phoenix has provided me with the opportunity to get clean and I was proud to complete my detox on the 7th of November 2018. I have also been supported to get the medical help that I need and I am in a much better place physically. I now participate much more in groups where I build my confidence and develop the tools I need to get better. I am able to begin to look at issues from my past with my keyworker and think about goals for the future.
The building here is perfect for my additional support needs and I am able to get anything I need when I ask for it. There is nowhere in the building that is not accessible and this allows me to be a full member of the community. This gives me the belief that when I move on being in a wheelchair will not hold me back.
I have been supported to attend a specialist group in Glasgow for disabilities called Best Foot Forward. They are going to be a big part of my recovery. I'm meeting friends there who understand what I'm going through and I'm getting opportunities to participate in activities that I didn't think would be there for me such as rock climbing and go karting.
When I look to the future now I have hope and optimism and have plans to go to college and get back into work and manage my own tenancy, with a positive social structure and a good quality of life. I'm happy for the first time in a long time, I feel lucky to be alive and believe things are getting better for me.
One of the best things I've done at Phoenix was managing the Christmas edition of the newsletter and this helped me to focus on what I can do and not what I can't do and I want to carry this forward into my recovery.
I was scared about coming to Glasgow, but it's an amazing city and I now even have plans to move on to the Phoenix Re-entry service here and maybe even eventually relocate. I have friends and a support network in Glasgow now and would like to keep linked in to Phoenix Futures and hope to volunteer one day. It would be amazing for me to come back and help another recovering addict in a wheelchair settle in to the service because I know how scary it is.
One of the most special things I have got in recovery is getting my son back in my life. I thought this relationship was over as a result of my addiction but he has visited me on a regular basis with his girlfriend and phones me every night. He's amazing and didn't give up on me and is a pleasure to be around. I am determined not to let him down again and I have a choice today to do what is right.
My biggest goal at the moment is to get the help I need with my disability that will allow me to get out of my wheelchair and be able to walk again with the help of prosthetics. If this is possible it is my dream to walk on stage to get my certificate at the Phoenix graduation ceremony in a couple of years surrounded by my friends in the community and my son.
Thanks for reading, Danny