Unfortunately, no matter how much of a loving and stable home people grow up in, there is no way to guarantee that some individuals will not succumb to illnesses such as alcohol, cocaine, heroin or LSD addiction. Experimentation with mood-altering substances often occurs during the teenage years, and even in families where parents are quite open with their children about the dangers of drugs and alcohol, there is a risk that their kids will be affected.
While most young people who experiment with drugs and alcohol never develop addictive behaviour, some are prone to addiction and will become consumed by these substances. Sadly, this can destroy their lives if they do not get help as soon as possible. It is, therefore, vital that parents are vigilant for the earliest signs of addiction.
Niall Blee was brought up in a stable and caring home, and at the age of fourteen, he was a choirboy at his parish church in Strabane. However, within a few years, he was struggling with drug and alcohol addiction and had been admitted to a rehabilitation centre where he was told that if he did not quit, he could be dead by the age of twenty-five.
Niall credits the Northlands addiction centre in Londonderry with saving his life and said that thousands just like him have been helped by staff at the centre too. Unfortunately, the centre is at risk of closure due to an issue regarding funding. Niall has said, “I initially had a feeling of disbelief that Northlands might not exist, but the reality is there – a centre that has saved people’s lives could close just because of funding.”
Northlands is not the only centre facing problems. Many councils around the UK are making cuts, and it is often vital addiction services that are being affected. Niall believes that the main reason addiction services are cut is that most people just do not understand addiction. He said there is an apparent lack of understanding when it comes to the importance of the work done by centres like Northlands. It is not just those directly affected by addiction, but also their family members too. Niall said, “For me, Northlands gave me a life that as a teenage boy I could not imagine I could have.”
Niall knows that there is more to addiction recovery than just quitting the actual substance. He said that this is just one element; recovering addicts also need to learn that they are no longer dependent on the substance; he admitted that this was a crucial part of his recovery.
Niall started experimenting with alcohol and drugs during his teenage years. He said, “Like any teenager, I began to experiment with alcohol and drugs young enough, I was around 14 at the time. I didn’t know then that it was something I was looking for, the feeling that drugs and alcohol gave me I thought was the solution to a lot of problems about how I was feeling about myself growing up.”
He acknowledges that he got hooked very quickly and said that drugs soon began to get a grip on his thoughts, life, and plans. From the age of sixteen, he was already suffering from drug and alcohol addiction, and he said, “By the time I was 16 if I was not using I was thinking about using and from then until I was 19 it was constant use of drugs like ecstasy, cannabis and LSD.”
He knows that his addiction issues led to a number of problems, including lost jobs. He thought that using drugs would help to make him feel better about himself. He was caught in a cycle of feeling down and then using drugs to self-medicate.
He went on to say that at the time, he never believed he would be able to get clean and live a life free from drugs and alcohol. He had accepted that this was what his life was going to be like. Thankfully, for Niall, his aunt helped to get him into rehab. He admits he was not too sure about getting treatment, but agreed. He added, “Even then I thought I shouldn’t be here, I was thinking surely there is another ten years of partying in me, but slowly I began to understand what I had been doing and how I had been living.”
Niall said that it was when a counsellor told him that he would be dead by the age of twenty-five if he continued to abuse alcohol and drugs that his problems really hit home. He was shocked, but he said that he trusted this man. Luckily for Niall, Northlands helped him to overcome his alcohol and drug addictions and his future looks bright. He is married, has a family and a job, and said he feels at peace.
Niall’s story is not unusual; there are many individuals around the UK with illnesses such as alcohol, heroin, cocaine, and LSD addiction, and they all need help. If addiction is affecting your life, then you can call us here at Addiction Helper.
We are a free referral service working hard to help those with addiction receive the help they need to get better. Contact us today to see how we can help you.