Becky Hancock and I started writing a series of Personal Stories to convey the voices of people affected by substance use problems. The person whose story we first wrote (known as Natalie) remains a close friend and she is over 15 years into her recovery.
I continued writing Stories, and helping people write their Stories, over the years. A few years ago I encouraged a group of friends with varied backgrounds to write their Stories so we could form a collection of Recovery Stories, which were later highlighted on my Recovery Stories website. Some of the Stories involved little input from me, whilst with others I worked as an editor with the person over a period of time. I wrote a few of the other Stories, based on interviews with the person.
I thought I’d link to the Stories here, so you can peruse them. As you will see, some the Stories are quite long. They are all invaluable in providing insights into the recovery process. They are also inspirational. I am very grateful for the time our authors devoted and for providing access to a window into their lives. That takes a special kind of courage.
I’ll start with Natalie’s Story - the rest are in alphabetical order.
Natalie’s Recovery Story: ‘I didn’t plan to be an addict’
Treatment staff and her peers not only taught Natalie how to live a happy and rewarding life without using drugs and alcohol, but also how to be a responsible and caring mother to her son.
Adam’s Recovery Story: ‘A moment of clarity’
After spending years locked into an addiction to amphetamine, cannabis and alcohol, Adam’s recovery took him to the other side of the world, where he lives happily with his new family.
Anna’s Recovery Story: ‘Should I or shouldn’t I?’
Through his heroin addiction and recovery, Anna’s brother has taught her so much about life, including the most valuable lesson she could ever learn – you can get through anything.
Beth’s Recovery Story: ‘Becoming Beth’
A fullly-fledged dependent drinker by age nineteen, Beth has gone on to become a recovery coach and writer in order to help other people escape from addiction.
Brad’s Recovery Story: “A life beyond my wildest dreams’
Following a life of crime, fighting and drinking, Brad started his recovery journey after a spiritual awakening and being told that alcohol wasn’t his problem - it was him.
Iain’s Recovery Story: ‘This is me’
A treatment agency helped Iain detox from the methadone that was prescribed for his heroin addiction. College, employment, recreational activities and romance facilitated Ian’s recovery.
Ian and Irene’s Story, ‘Living through our son’s addiction and death: Our journey to recovery’
After losing their son Robin to a heroin overdose, Ian and Irene set up a support group to help family members avoid some of the problems they experienced.
Kevan’s Recovery Story: ‘He’s a loser and will never be any good’
After 25 years of problem drinking and eight years in and out of psychiatric hospitals, Kevan runs NERAF which has nearly 100 staff and volunteers and provides a support service across the north-east of England.
Kevin and Kerry: ‘A Family Story’ (Part 1)
Mother and son describe Kevin’s heroin addiction and how it impacted on the family as a whole.
Kevin and Kerry: ‘A Family Story’ (Part 2)
Kevin’s hospitalisation with septicaemia acts as a turning point and a process of recovery begins for the family as a whole.
Matthew’s Recovery Story: ‘Making most of the opportunity’
Matthew set himself up a personal recovery plan to overcome his addiction to opiates, gambling and overeating - and his life has been transformed.
Michael’s Recovery Story: ‘The power of empathy and compassion’
Michael followed both his parents into a life of dependent drinking, but he is now 35 years in recovery and working as a drug and alcohol counsellor.
Paul’s Recovery Story: ‘Doctor Knows Best’
After years of taking opiates whilst working as a medical doctor, Paul has become a new person through residential treatment and the 12-step programme.
Sapphire’s Recovery Story: ‘It should all be about the person’
Shows the importance of person-centered treatment. Things went well when Sapphire was intimately involved in decisions about her treatment, but poorly when professionals took sole control.
Simon’s Recovery Story: ‘Gratitude for the life I thought was over…’
Simon’s first NA meeting was pivotal, not just in helping him turn his life around, but also in setting him up to make future significant contributions to NA both in the UK and abroad.
Tim’s Story: ‘Doctor in Recovery’
As Tim found out, having a medical degree offers no protection against addiction, nor from the hard work that is required to change oneself as a key part of the recovery journey.