My name is Kell, and I'm a recovered addict.
Wow, it feels good to see that in writing. I never thought I'd escape that horrendous cycle of using against my will.
I grew up in west Belfast in an alcoholic home and although there was violence and regular drinking I was never mistreated, I was loved and protected. I now understand my parents were sick. They suffered from this disease like I did but I have been lucky to find and work the solution of the 12 steps.
Ego for me was a massive part of life on the streets of west Belfast and for most of my life ego got things done, So unbeknown I allowed my ego to take the driving seat in my life and using drugs became part of that identity at a very young age.
By 14, I was drinking every weekend and smoking hash most days. By 15 it was XTC every weekend and the party scene was in full swing.
I was working while in school, alongside some petty dealing, I was making good money for a teenager. Drink and drugs were taking an exhilarating and important part in my life. I felt a bond with drugs I loved how they made me feel and when I discovered Cocaine, I was swept off my feet. Cocaine dissolved any fears I had and fuelled my confidence it enhanced my physical ability made me feel like I'd accomplished life it made me feel as if I'd won the game!
In reality, my dependence on that feeling distracted me from my day to day chores and commitment to my family and friends. My obsession for that lucid feeling was now beyond my mental control and my business a small car body shop was crumbling as a result of neglect and profits going directly to dealers the debts were rising, my partner and baby daughter were distraught at what I had become.
A heartbroken drug addict whose best buddy Cocaine could no longer cover up the consequences and so I spiralled into overusing and drinking. Using anything I could get my hands on, seeing doctors, councillors, reading books, hypnotism. The more I tried to fight addiction the more it beat me up, the more it demanded of me. I started to question my worth to the people I loved and from that, I weighed up the point of my being alive. Would it be better to jump to put an end to the suffering? To put an end to my family's pain and debts. The drugs stopped working, I was in full-blown depression and from that came desperation.
I logged onto my first ever Cocaine anonymous meeting in desperation. In that desperation came inspiration, as I heard my story in the story of the woman sharing hers. The only difference was she was brimming over with hope, faith and courage, three luxuries I had long since experienced. That night I made the greatest decision of my life. I asked for help, I asked a man to sponsor me and more importantly, I dropped my ego. I was sick of holding him up and pretending I was ok so I let go. I accepted the help that man offered and started my journey through the 12 steps.
I have not touched a single drink or drug from that day and I'm free to go where any man can without the fear of depression.
I'm rebuilding my business, my relationship is rekindling with my fiancee, my bills are getting paid, when my beautiful baby daughter looks at me I can feel her telling me she loves me. I have my emotions back. I can accept I can't fix everything today but I can be the best man I can be for my family, friends and those in need. I'm happy and have a natural confidence in myself, in my ability to be here for me, and the ones I love.
I didn't realise my world and life in addiction was so dark until I got out. As a result of continuing to work the 12 steps, days are a lot brighter, I feel as though I'm finally on the right path in life.
I'll be eternally grateful to the people who stayed and kept the light on for me to find my way. I will put that gratitude into action by working hard to help the still-suffering addict. Showing them it's possible to live a life without drink and drugs and to do it with an effortless smile that radiates through my family.
Recovery has given me another chance at life.