Breaking the chains

Think Pieces

By Basma Aboudihaj · February 20, 2023

I first got involved with crack cocaine around 20 years ago. I made a lot of extremely stupid choices that involved drugs which also made me money. After the first two years of me using, I woke up one morning and thought “what the hell am I doing” and literally just stopped taking crack cocaine.

I tried to get on with normal life for a while and then was offered a one-off hit on a night out and thought ‘well what harm would a one-off do’ – which lasted the rest of the week. I went on like this for a few years where I was on it then off­ it, but then stopped while I had children.

During this time I had an alcoholic partner, I was in a very toxic relationship and had four children to take care of, which was very difficult as I had postnatal depression and PTSD from my last pregnancy. I was dealing with a lot at this time and everything just seemed to happen all at once. I started using cocaine again, it started with a few times a week then quickly progressed to crack cocaine again.

My mental health started to rapidly decline due to the crack cocaine use. I had been spinning a lot of plates for a long time and I started to see everything falling apart around me, this made me want to use more and more until that was all I could think about, and it became more important than anything else, including my family.

Things started to come to an end for me when my children were removed from my care due to my use and my mental health. My whole life fell apart around me and my solution was to use, but having my children removed woke me up to what I was doing and made me want to make changes.

I got involved with We are With You and they became indispensable to me, they taught me structure again and gave me the guidance and advice I needed, they were nurturing and a great support, a go to. This is where I found out about Intuitive Thinking Skills, my keyworker suggested that it might be a good idea for me to join the courses that they offered. I just automatically associate courses to being back in school, and although I wasn’t thrilled about this, I decided to give it a go. I completed the Intuitive Recovery and the Information, Advice and Guidance (I.A.G.) courses.

I was so very wrong in thinking it would be like being back in school, the tutors were fantastic and so down to earth, from doing the IR course I could resonate so much with everything that was taught, I now talk about the neo cortex A LOT.

Ambivalence is part of my language and I call the mid brain “the little s**t”. What I learnt is so easy to explain whilst supporting others and when I am struggling with anything I use the iron fist to bring me back down to earth, which helps me. I learned so much about myself from doing the I.A.G. course, it explained so much and it was definitely a light bulb moment for me.

It also made me realise how much I would like to give back and help others who are in the same situation as I was, so I am looking forward to joining the Ambassador programme and putting into practice what I have learned as a volunteer.

Since completing both the courses my outlook has now changed, I’m no longer making any excuses for my behaviour. We always have the choice to say ‘no’ confidently without any excuses. I always have a choice when it comes to using and I am proud to say that I will never use again. Moving forward in my life now I just want to help others in their recovery to lead a better life.

Ultimately, I would like to run my own service with everything a person would need under one roof; housing support, mental health advice, sign posting, employment guidance, basic counselling, group support, education, social services support, giving talks to professionals about the importance and benefits of lived experience, motivational talks to women in refuges and in prisons. This is what I see when I look to the future, I am going to take every opportunity offered to me and live my life to the fullest starting with putting my family back together and getting my children home.