by Steve Collins
OK, this is all new, but I enjoy writing things down…saves talking I suppose, dunno…but here goes, my story.
I know this forum is for those, like me who’ve, for whatever reason have ended up having the nightmare of benzo’ addiction. Some brilliant stories from those whom are now in recovery…and also, some sad tales, who, like myself are struggling….
My story is, I believe, a bit different than some.
I started taking drugs at the age of 18…plenty of teenagers have been there, but grown out of the fad, grown up, and got on with their life’s as normal. I started taking amphetamine and ecstasy at this age…something that was fun at the time, going clubbing and getting off yer face! Trouble with me was, I never knew when to stop…
I’d be the ‘last man standing’ and always wanting more, generally being the nuisance one in our crowd. It was at this age I met my first love who I went on to marry at the age of 23. Had a good job, happy with life…but the drug thing was always there. Every weekend it was party time!
Cocaine was next for me, as money wasn’t a problem. Big mistake….everyone was doing it, but I was different…and I knew it. It weren’t just weekends or for fun. It became a secret addiction….spending more money than I had and was taking it during the working week, and behind my girlfriends back. My mates knew…they’d speak to me and tell me to ‘sort it out’!
One day, I told my mother…..felt relieved for asking for help and she was of course upset, but also panicked. Within 2 weeks I was in a private rehab….won’t go on too much about this experience as I’ve posted it before. Let’s just say, I was a very young man, in a rehab centre, which was geared up for alcoholics.
I’ll cut this 4 months a bit short as it was very dire! My parents ( bless them, meant well) kept me in there, even after a few escape attempts. At the end if this ordeal, doing the 12 steps, I got a handclap and a medal…can’t remember what it said, but was something like “I’m sober” dunno, I chucked it out the train window on the way home.
So, life continued and so did the cocaine. We had my daughter when I was 25 and underneath the drug addiction, life to others must of seemed OK…. even started my own business which was relatively successful (well, on the outside at least) money was no object… had the best things in life, new cars, holidays, theatre once a month …and only ate at the finest Michelin star restaurants.
Unknown to everyone except me…who was sniffing £300 a week on coke, the business was broke and it was all a sham.
This went on for quite a few years btw…don’t quite know how I covered everything up really. Coke makes you pretty devious though…but in the end, it catches up with you.
So, my dad moves to Spain…life’s at rock bottom, so we made a decision to move the three of us (my daughter was 10 and half then) to sunny Spain. I sold the business to the fellas who worked for me…thought I could trust them to send payments to us monthly to cover the amount negotiated. Lasted 7 months, then nothing….no money coming in and I couldn’t afford to do anything about it…and they knew that, especially living abroad.
I was working and bringing in a wage, covering the bills. My daughter had started Spanish school, found new friends, had a much better way of life than what she’d of had in London, so all in all, it weren’t the end of the world, and we were together as a family.
Then, my life fell apart….I found out my wife of 13 years, whom I’d been together with since I was just 17, was having an affair. It all happened so quick….within 2 days of me finding out, she’d packed her and my daughters bags to return to England. Goes without saying, this was mind blowing, and tbh don’t remember a lot of it….but one thing I said to my then 11year old daughter, “darling, you don’t have to go back with Mummy, you’ve got a new life here and new friends….and I’d love it if you stayed in Spain with me”
You know what, she went to school the next day with all that on her mind, knocked on my door after school, and we sat down….”Dad, she said…I’m gonna stay with you, cause mum has her friends and family over there, and you’d be on yer own”
She’s now in university in Valencia….more Spanish than English now. Has a so-so relationship with her mum, but we are ever so close. When her mum left, I let myself down….started drinking daily on my own when my daughter was at school. She was still young then, and I covered it up…until I made myself so ill, I had a fit in front of her. She phoned my dad and I got to hospital….
I don’t really remember it really…how bad is that eh? 2 months later, it happened again… I stayed in hospital for a week or so to dry out. They prescribed me Distranaurin…a drug for coming off booze.
I stopped drinking immediately and really got myself together…got a new job, moved to a new flat and got over the whole ex-wife thing.
Then one day, this sensible drug I was taking was discontinued here in Spain….nightmare. My doc didn’t know what to do really as he’d seen me in such a bad way before, he looked in his ‘bible’ of drugs and prescribed me lorazepam….that was 2008, I believe. Now on 6.5-10mg per day. So that’s why I’m on here now.
I’m still lucky in many ways…have a girlfriend of nearly 3 years who, God knows puts up with me…and a 19 year old daughter who’s intelligent, independent & chose me! …her pain in the arse Dad to live with, back when she was just 11 years of age.