My name is Kenny and I am an addict in recovery.

My childhood was an unstable mix of living with family and in foster care. I started to experience homelessness and social exclusion from my teen years and first went in to rehab in my mid-20s.

I have experienced long periods of sobriety, during which I would manage to build my life up. I got married and had kids, found full time employment and new career paths, and even bought a house. However, none of these things stopped me from starting to drink and use drugs again, and my life would come crashing down around me (again).

I simply could not live life on life’s terms. I wanted to escape the reality of just ‘being me’.

I knew I was an addict, but I never understood what it ‘meant’ to be an addict. I thought it was about taking drugs, but it wasn’t. It was about my inability to endure being clean and sober.

It wasn’t until I started attending Cocaine Anonymous meetings (on the back of destroying my life, again) that I
began to understand the true nature of my condition and started to truly recover. The 12-Step Programme showed me the way to live my life, successfully, that I have always wanted. It’s not for quitters: it’s for people who try, try and try, and can’t quit! It’s for people who had difficulty living before they used. People like me.

The days of being ashamed about addiction and recovery are over. It’s all about honesty.

I now work as a registered Mental Health Nurse; I am a productive member of society and I still attend regular meetings. I have also started to work with the Nursing & Midwifery Committee to help deal with nurses returning to the profession who have, or are, experiencing personal problems themselves.

Cocaine Anonymous has given me my children back, my life, my career and my relationships. Most of all though, it’s given me a way of life that means, one day at a time, I never ever have to use again.

If you’ve been effected by Kenny’s story and would like to speak to one of our recovery connector volunteers call 01273 758561 or email clare@kennedystreetcio.org. Or click here for a list of recovery fellowships.

For many people who have begun to follow Kennedy Street’s journey, you may be someone who’s simply doing your supportive Facebook friend duty by ‘liking’ the page, but without any, or little, idea of what we’re about. For others, you’ll be aware of us and the work we’re doing. I hope our hard work will become clearer as the weeks and months go on, through hilarious, whimsical and thought provoking posts and updates (we’ll do our best).

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The word, “cheers”, the clinking of glasses, the swish of alcohol, the insipid smiles on faces in preparation for celebration is something I cannot connect with or relate to. I see no joy in using alcohol to ‘celebrate’ anything anymore. Far from it. Alcohol is a mind altering substance, why would you actively change that natural high for the false, fake promises that alcohol delivers? It masks and disguises the beautiful, natural, heartfelt feelings we are so blessed to have without having to lift a finger. Living my whole life with addiction, initially through a loved one and then becoming a hopeless addict myself, after reading this, you may see why I have a cold shudder that runs through to my core everytime I hear that word, “cheers”.

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