Catherine’s story – A member of the team at our Addiction Rehab Centre
Catherine joined The Haynes Clinic staff this year, having been in treatment here when she was 20 years old. Read below to see how a young person can deal with addiction and turn their life around, with the help of the Haynes addiction rehabilitation centre, so that they can be happy and fulfilled
My Early Years
It wouldn’t surprise me if I was born an addict. From what I know today about my mother’s lifestyle she has always been one herself. My childhood was dysfunctional to put it politely. My mother was emotionally distant, with a short temper and the man I believed to be my father at the time was not very pleasant either. From what I remember, without going into too much detail, my childhood was full of fear, loneliness and then jealousy when my first sibling was born.
Eventually my mother divorced my sibling’s father, but I was forced to visit him along with my two siblings every weekend. Despite my pleading I spent every weekend being forced to clean, and often, physically abused for upsetting my younger siblings by not sharing with them or something silly. I remember one time my sister told her dad that I had tried to trip her up whilst we were walking home from town, next thing I knew I was being held off the ground against the wall by my neck. I was terrified, humiliated and then furious.
Despite the abuse, I was distraught by my mother’s divorce to my sibling’s dad. I remember feeling the shock, that the things the kids at school experienced would never happen to me, but now they were. My mother had a few male partners to follow, each abusive man was seemingly more important that my siblings and me. Again, despite our pleading, she would always choose and believe these men over me. Eventually she met my now stepdad.
He had a good job and a nice car, and spoilt us rotten with material things. We had game consoles, laptops, and phones galore. However, my mother still cringed when I hugged her.
My teenage years were then filled with anger and resentment, and by 13 years old I was told that my siblings’ dad was not my biological father: my mum did not know who my father was. One good thing that came from this revelation was that I was no longer forced to visit him anymore. By this time however the dysfunction of my relationship with my siblings’ father was quickly replaced by my mother’s deteriorating mental health. My mother soon married my now stepdad but after losing a baby she was kept in hospital for a few months, and she was never the same after that.
My stepdad worked away through the week and my mother couldn’t cope. If she wasn’t physically abusive, she was consumed with depression. My nan would come over to pick up my younger sister from school and my mum would spend hours in her room with my nan whilst I tried to look after my younger siblings. It got to a point where my mum was so consumed by her mental health that she would try and kill herself in front of me. If she was somewhat functional, she would forget conversations, change boundaries, and become abusive, verbally if not physically.
Drug Addiction Starts
Eventually, with my friends, I found cannabis. My mother had always told me that she would rather I smoke than drink so there was nothing really to stop me from using it and I had been introduced to the idea of smoking when I was a lot younger. And by found cannabis I mean I stole it from my mother’s stash in the bathroom. So, by 15, a few friends and I were smoking cannabis daily. Smoking cannabis gave me some relief from my anger, sadness, and frustration. I became very troubled at school and there were times where I could not control my rage. My mum and stepdad were convinced that I was the problem and I remember seeing various therapists and working with child services.
By 16 my mums’ random episodes of physical abuse had pushed me too far and I would frequently run away from home until forced to return. This went on for some time before my mum was honest with an authority figure and told them I was not welcome at home. Then after a series of unfortunate events I ended up in a youth hostel. I lived with maybe 10 other teenagers with similar upbringings and substance abuse issues. My cannabis use soon led to party drugs, ketamine, MDMA, cocaine and occasionally alcohol. In all honestly, I would pretty much use whatever was handed to me.
One time a few people from the hostel took me to a house party, they gave us all a blue pill which they called a “bluey”. To cut a long story short, that night I shoplifted, was driven around in a stolen vehicle, looted open cars, and was sexually assaulted. I was arrested that night, bitten by a police dog, and found clutching a laptop and an umbrella. I spent the night in a police cell and later found out that one of the lads out with us was being sent to prison for throwing a dog off a bridge. Pure madness.
Homelessness to Living with Other Addicts
By 17 years old my drug use was daily and getting me into so much trouble, yet I can’t honestly remember caring at that point. I ended up having a breakdown and damaging the room I was living in at the hostel. I was then evicted. Again, through a series of unfortunate events I was introduced to a new stage of my addiction. Homelessness led me to move in with a woman who was using heroin. I remember feeling angry that she wasn’t sharing. I tried smoking it once with her and was violently ill.
Soon after that she became jealous that I was spending a lot of time with her cousin who she had pressured me to get to know. I then started dating this man, who was 27 at the time and what I didn’t yet know, was addicted to crack and heroin. I moved in with four others, and for a few months I didn’t use with them. I cleaned, I cooked, and all was well, but eventually my will power to refuse the drugs was too strong. Being young and having no perception of consequences I gave in, and very quickly became unwell without it.
The first year of my addiction was simple. The girl with whom we were living was left a significant amount of money from the death of her adoptive parents and she would supply the drugs. I didn’t have to lift a finger; drugs were presented to me, and I would take them. Despite the abusive relationships we were both in, everything was seemingly fine – until she ran out of money.
Funding the drugs – Downhill to a life of Crime
Not wanting to steal I got my first job at 18 years old in McDonalds. I would work and bring home the money to my boyfriend at the time who would spend it all on drugs for the group. It didn’t take very long for the addiction to take control of my life: if we couldn’t get hold of any drugs, or save something until the morning, I wouldn’t be able to go in to work. One day off turned in to two, three and then four. Until I left. I then had to join the group in shoplifting. We stole items in bulk, sold them on and then brought drugs to fix our habits, and so it went on.
Wake up Calls
I started to feel very aware that my life wasn’t what it should be. Whilst others my age were getting their driving license and going on girl’s trips to Spain, I couldn’t leave the house without smoking heroin. I became very aware of the reality of my situation. I would have a friend visit and drug dealers would show up, I would hide the dealer in the kitchen and ask the dealer to loan me some drugs. One time the drug dealer had the nerve to ask for sexual favours in return for drugs and I couldn’t believe it. The confidence in this man’s eye whilst he asked me, as if there was nothing abnormal or rude about his question was infuriating. My boyfriend’s response was why didn’t you, however I knew for certain that if I had it would have been a different story.
What this did for me was a god send. I could see again. I could see my housemates and I sitting in a dimly lit room, most of them gouching out, wasting their lives away. I became desperate to stop.
First attempts at Rehabilitation
I tried so many times to go cold turkey, but the others would rub it under my nose, laugh and tell me I couldn’t do it or convince me to wait until next week and we would do it together. Weeks went by and next week never came. I remember lying in bed, listening to them downstairs whilst I mentally battled with myself. I was freezing cold but sweating profusely. My whole body ached, and I was violently sick. I won’t go into graphic detail, but the pain was extreme. Physically and mentally, I was done.
Eventually I told my mum that I had a drug problem. She, together with my stepdad’s family (as my nan and mums’ side had been estranged after one of my mums’ abusive episodes) attempted an intervention. I vaguely remember being taken to some type of fellowship although I don’t remember what was said. I floated through it as if I wasn’t even in my body. I managed to convince my mum to let me go back to my boyfriend’s house so that we could get clean together. This never happened, and after a month or so and an argument, the boyfriend left a nasty answer phone message on my mother’s phone, and she came to get me the following day.
Addiction Rehab Centre – The Path to Sustainable Recovery
I spent that night “clucking” in a police cell. I went to court in the morning and then once released I knew I had a decision to make. My choices were that I could either walk back to the house I came from, get a fix and feel better; or I could call and ask for help. The next day they dropped me off at the Haynes Clinic. The first memory that stuck was the smiling faces of the patients already there. What on earth did they have to smile about I remember thinking to myself. Sulkily I voluntarily engaged with the 12 steps. I did as I was advised simply because I had nothing else to hold me back, I trusted the process and the staff at the Haynes Clinic who were trying to educate me.
I remember it being difficult, taking a hard look at the trauma that had brought me to this dark place, then looking at myself and realising how I could do better. But the God aspect was the last of my concerns, I just wanted to be happy and not dependant on substances that made my life hell. I can’t honestly say that it all stuck at once, I was 20 when I got into recovery with barely any life experience outside of dysfunction and addiction. I had so much to learn even after my treatment. But I remember enjoying a lot of my stay too, I finally realised that I wasn’t alone. That others felt and thought as I did, but most importantly I finally felt accepted. I just had to learn to accept myself.
Recovery after rehabilitation in an Addiction Clinic
Today I am 7 years free of heroin and crack cocaine. I work within the clinic that showed me there was life outside of addiction. I help other addicts towards having the same realisation. I completed a bachelor’s degree in psychology and counselling and achieved a first with honours. I have established healthy relationships and have boundaries in place that protect me and the people I love.
As cliché as it may sound I do now have a life beyond my wildest dreams and it is an honour to be able to work alongside a team of individuals who strive to help other people see light at the end of the tunnel of addiction.
Our Rehabilitation Centre’s Staff
Everyone who works at The Haynes Clinic has either been through this addiction rehab clinic or been some way directly affected with Addiction; this could either be from personal experience or through a family member or a loved one.
We believe that this experience results in more successful treatment.