06 March 2024

Recovering an old self, discovering new passions

Shaun Withyou In NE Lincs (4)
It took ‘me’ away. I have recovered my old self. That's what I see recovery as - recovering yourself. 

Shaun, Grimsby

Shaun's story

Where did it all start?

“I was introduced to drugs at a very early age - around 9 years old. I had my first joint of ’resin’ as it was called back then. It was my step-dad who introduced me. I advanced quickly from that to solvents - glue, lighter fuel, petrol and at the age of 12 I was using amphetamines, LSD and other recreational drugs. It became a big problem. It stunts your maturity - it’s not good for a youngster to use drugs at that age. 

“Alcohol quickly became my drug of choice. I enjoyed alcohol. It gave me a sense of confidence. I was using it alongside amphetamines for about 20 years.

“In 2020, I reached a massive cross point in my life. I was 10 years abstinent from alcohol, but had replaced it with cocaine. I was using every night. After another failed marriage, I reverted back to alcohol. I attempted suicide as I had become so low. By October 2020, I was using three litres of Bacardi a day and any cocaine I could get my hands on. 

“Something had to give, and it was my liver and my kidneys - they completely failed. I was admitted to hospital. Thankfully I pulled through. But even that didn’t stop me, and I relapsed in April 2021." 

What support did you seek? 

“A lovely lady (now my partner) got in touch with WithYou and I took the support they offered. I was in the service for a year on medication and had one-to-one sessions - they massively helped me. I had to change my whole environment, I couldn't be in the contracting industry any more. I got employed in a local homeless night shelter which I really enjoyed. I was working with clients - many of them also accessing support from WithYou."

What is life like now?

“I had to find “positive addictions” - which I discovered through exercise. It’s been a massive part of my recovery. I really want to promote it now. I've found my love of training again and the gym and martial arts. I’d love to set up my own gym or group where I can encourage HIIT sessions, circuits or boot camps. I just want to give people that structure again - put their minds into other things.

“It releases endorphins - the same you get from using drugs. Exercise gives you confidence and self-esteem. It has a holistic effect on your wellbeing. Even if it's getting out for a walk with nature … we have the beach here. Exercise can benefit everybody.

“Addiction took everything away from me. Not just material things, but it took ‘me’ away. I have recovered my old self. That's what I see recovery as - recovering yourself.”

Shaun, what’s your message to others who may be experiencing challenges?

“Please get in contact. Just engage - come through that door. It will change your life, it really will.

“If it wasn’t for WithYou, I wouldn't be here today. Now, I've come full circle as I am a full-time paid employee as a Recovery Worker for the opiates team here at WithYou.

“If clients want to listen to me, I will tell them my story. It shows them you’ve been there and you have that empathy with them. You get that connection."

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