Darran’s Personal Story

From volunteer to Recovery Connector 

“My recovery journey started three years ago; I spent 21 years misusing substances because I didn’t know how to cope with life on a daily basis. For a long time they seemed like the only option because I couldn’t cope with childhood trauma, I couldn’t deal with the pain and buried the feelings and emotions in substance misuse. By the end I was completely defeated, my using took me to a place where suicide seemed like a viable option, I’d almost gave up hope and I couldn’t see a way out.

“That all changed when I attended my first Narcotics Anonymous meeting, I finally began to rub shoulders with likeminded people who shared their experiences. By attending meetings I finally felt understood and began to realise that there was hope! The proof was right before my eyes in meetings, listening to other people in recovery made me start believing that recovery was possible for me too.

“It took time to actually put the drugs down, but the seed was planted. I slowly but surely became more open minded, the more I listened, the more I learned and the more I learned the more it made sense to me. I just kept taking myself to meetings and eventually my head followed and I got my first day clean!

“I started making new relationships within recovery. I made new friends who actually cared about my wellbeing and wanted to see me succeed without wanting anything in return. I started to work a 12 step programme to rediscover myself and learn how to live a life without the use of drugs. It didn’t come overnight, but by staying clean one day at a time my life got better one day at a time.

“Last year was a difficult year with Covid restrictions due to lockdown. It put a massive strain on my recovery and mental health, my support network wasn’t as accessible as they were prior to lockdown. At first I struggled with anxiety and isolation. At this point I kind of hit a crossroad, I knew I could easily go one of two ways. I knew that I had to apply twice as much effort into my recovery and stay focused to remain in the solution, otherwise I could very easily go back out there. So I doubled down on my recovery, making an extra effort with my support network, attending zoom meetings and created a routine to keep me busy and occupied during lockdown. I enquired about volunteering with Double Impact and overcame my self-doubt and applied. In October last year I started the mentoring course and found that I really enjoyed it. It built up my self-confidence and gave me motivation and drive to progress. It gave me a massive sense of achievement when I passed the course and for the first time in a very long time I felt that I had direction and purpose.

“Since that time I’ve been attending the Double Impact Zoom groups on a daily basis which have been instrumental in keeping me grounded and focused on the solution. Doing the Mentoring course also gave me that drive to improve academically. I’ve enrolled in a number of courses via Open Learning University and even started to learn a new language!

“My life has dramatically improved thanks to my support network, the fellowship of N.A. and Double Impact. I’m in the best place physically, mentally and emotionally that I’ve ever been in my life. I’m eternally grateful to everyone that has helped me throughout my journey and made me believe in myself. This week is a particularly big week for me, as of the 1st February I’m officially 18 months abstinent! I couldn’t have done it alone though; It’s only with the support of my family and peers in recovery that I’ve been able to achieve this and for that I’m grateful to each and every one of you.”

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