Martin talks about his journey from using heroin to recovery and supporting others.
“I was going through a trauma and my family was breaking apart. I was introduced to heroin. The first time I tried it I was injecting it and it was an overwhelming feeling of bliss. It wore off and I had to take more. It got to the stage I was taking it to feel normal – I wasn’t getting stoned. I needed more and more just so I could function like a human being.
It got to the desperate stage where it was either suicide or trying to get help. I went to the doctor and he sent me to the methadone clinic. He told me I’d be on it for the rest of my life. I believed him. The methadone took away the withdrawals, it basically saved my life.
I got not well, and I was taken into hospital and I was told I had Hep C. I realised I didn’t want to die without fulfilling my potential and getting recovery. I was taken to Addaction. I grabbed onto every bit of knowledge. I realised I could get recovery and I could make changes to my life. I needed to find purpose and I found purpose in recovery.
It took me two years to come off the methadone, I was on it for ten years. I gave myself hope. One of the fears is relapse. I had to put things in place to give myself the best chance, so I got involved in building the recovery community. I beat the Hep C. I started building a life for myself.
When I came off methadone, I heard horror stories about withdrawal. But it didn’t happen. I wanted to tell everybody that it was possible, and it isn’t a life sentence being on methadone.
I realised I was able to speak out about recovery. I had a really strong message. I’ve been a volunteer for six years and I’ve been able to help people.
I saw a change needed to be made in society regarding stigma and misconceptions about addiction so I’ve actually made a huge contribution along with other volunteers by promoting recovery in the media.
You can change your life, no matter the obstacles or the barriers, or how much despair you’re in or how much you’ve given up on yourself, or how much the world’s given up on you. You can change and be a productive member of society.”