Three years ago I had a big reality check. I found myself sitting in Norwich prison with a 12 month sentence and I said to myself “this is another fine mess you’ve got yourself into – how did it happen?”
I was 53 years old and still making the same old mistakes, ending up the loser again. The truth is it was once again down to my own inability to say NO. I like to think that I’m not a people pleaser but all I had done is someone a ‘favour’, as I always had, and as usual it spirals out of control. Yes he’s a good old boy he won’t grass – no I won’t but if I hadn’t been clouded by drink and drugs I’d have found it much easier to say NO.
Drink has always been a big factor in my life – my family drank, my friends drank and I loved drinking, especially after work; it was my reward for being such a good grafter. In fact, it became my reward for anything and everything and what an excuse when things go wrong – “Oh sorry I was drunk at the time”.
I embraced drugs with the same zeal – they were my key to what I wanted, I mean; how can you enjoy yourself if you aren’t out of your head? To me that wasn’t possible. I always knew the dangers but told myself that it won’t happen to me – only idiots get hooked. It took years to finally admit I was an addict and by then it was too late.
I’ve spent the last 25 years trying to stop – if only I’d said NO.
I’m over three years sober now and have found that I can enjoy myself without drink or drugs.
Stuart volunteers with our Reality Check project. We go into Norfolk schools and talk to young people about the dangers of alcohol and drugs.