Mike’s story

In my late teens I started suffering from severe depression, anxiety and suicidal thoughts. I was in and out of counselling and given medication, but nothing ever really worked.

Around the same time, I started having issues with alcohol. From the very first time I remember going to the pub, it was always about how much I could drink in the timeframe I had. All I wanted to focus on was how often could I get to a pub, how late could I stay out and carry on drinking. It was my way of escaping reality.

In my mid-20s – after always “hating” drugs, even though my friends took them – I tried cocaine for the first time. It took one line and I was hooked. Over the next several years, it destroyed my life.

I lost everything. Relationships broke down and I almost lost access to seeing one of my daughters. I lost my job, my flat and got into thousands of pounds’ worth of debt. It was the lowest I had ever been and my mental health suffered greatly as a result.

The lowest point came when I attempted suicide, not once but twice. I really just felt like I had nothing to give to society anymore and, even worse, nothing to give my little girls. I thought everyone would just be better off without me.

I moved in with my Mum and tried my hardest to get clean, sober and get back into looking after myself. I’d been to the drug and alcohol service in Canterbury before, but I hadn’t been in the right place mentally to make a change. Forward were wonderful: as well as all the support they gave me with my substance misuse issues, they also linked me in with a mental health service to help me address my depression. Between the two services and the work they have done together to support me, things have improved massively.

It’s taken time and my journey has not been easy. I’ve had relapses and struggled with major depression, but I’m in a really positive place now. I have been clean and sober for nearly two years. I’ve got a great job now as a Fire and Safety Engineer and I see my girls every weekend. Life is worth living now.

Without the support of these services and the people around me I wouldn’t be here. I now see a future for myself, which I never used to. I take pride in myself and my recovery. I’m a good son, friend and father. And I’m More Than My Past.

Mike is running the London Marathon in 2020 in aid of the Forward Trust.

Sponsor Mike

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