A North-East success

Think Pieces

By Basma Aboudihaj · October 31, 2023


When I was a teenager, I used to drink every weekend with my friends and would smoke cannabis most days before and after school however, I never really felt like it was a problem. I later started taking heavier drugs like cocaine, amphetamines and prescription medication. By the time I was 15, I had lost all interest in education and rarely attended school. I fell pregnant at 15, left school completely at the start of my final year and didn’t sit my GCSEs. I also moved away from home and lost all contact with my family.

I was not prepared to be a parent at such a young age and continued to prioritise my own freedom and drug use over my child and would act as if nothing had changed.  Shortly after my son was born, I lost all parental responsibility and was only allowed supervised contact. At the time, I saw this as an excuse to continue the same behaviour as I felt I had nothing left to lose and nobody would ever trust me anyway.  My drug use got progressively worse after this, and I would often get arrested either for shoplifting to fund my habit or for things I did while under the influence.

By the time I was 21, I had regained custody of my son. I was pregnant again and living with a new partner however, I was still using drugs regularly. My partner also used drugs and there was a lot of violence in the relationship and my son witnessed a lot of this.  After my second child was born, I knew I needed to make a change. I accessed my local domestic abuse service, and they supported me to leave my partner. I enrolled onto an access course at college and started volunteering as a peer mentor for a through-the-gate service.

Despite this, I continued using right throughout college and into university where I studied criminology. It wasn’t until I started a new volunteer placement at my local drug service that I decided I was going to stop using drugs altogether. After engaging with the people who accessed the service and listening to their reasons for using drugs, it made me look at myself differently and I felt ashamed that I had used every excuse in the book as to why I used drugs rather than taking any accountability for my behaviour.

I had never heard of Intuitive Thinking Skills before seeing a job advertisement online but after researching the company it sounded like the perfect fit for me. The first time I sat one of the Intuitive Recovery courses it really hit home to me, and I realised I had already used a lot of the skills that we teach to our learners, I just never had a name for them before! I truly believe that if I had been given the opportunity to sit the programme while I was still using, I would have stopped years before I did.

I have worked for Intuitive for 4 years and I am now the Team Manager for the North-East. I have found it so refreshing to work for a company that really stands for something and isn’t afraid to be different from the rest. It’s great to be able to offer a simple and practical solution to our learners and it’s so rewarding to see them use the skills to make a real change to their attitude and behaviour.