After suffering substance misuse issues for years, Kevin came to SHP’s Islington Aftercare service to access education, training and employment support. 

It started from a young age. Addiction was rife in my family and my environment. It was the norm to have a joint in your mouth at 13-years-old, which eventually led to party drugs, such as ecstasy and cocaine. My drug use probably affected my function, but in the wilds of my youth I wasn’t aware of it. I went to prison a number of times after getting involved in pirate radio and illegal advertising.

I decided to go into the catering industry. That’s when the consequences of addiction started affecting me because I wouldn’t be able to function properly and I started having bouts of depression. I used to try and shut down my thoughts and feelings with substances – I just couldn’t deal with the reality of it. Things then got worse when I was stabbed. In one particularly serious incident I was injured quite badly and ended up needing treatment for PTSD.

My support worker gave me confidence in myself – he made me realise that there are no limits to what I can achieve.

I came to SHP after I finished my detox. Now I’m chemical free and I’m able to sit with myself and absorb life for what it is. Everybody’s got to live life on life’s terms. The more you hide behind chemicals the more consequences there are.

I was told I’d make a good counsellor because of my experience. I became a recovery facilitator, helping others with their addictions, and decided to make a career for myself in the recovery field.

My support worker gave me confidence in myself – he made me realise that there are no limits to what I can achieve. I can identify with newcomers, and I hope my experience will enable them to break free of addiction.

SHP has backed me all the way. They actually want people to get out there into work and higher education - they don’t want people to be service users for the rest of their life. There’s always advice here and I definitely feel like I’m going down the right path now. 

 

Read more about our recovery work in Camden and Islington