Living with addiction is incredibly tough; admitting you have a problem is even tougher. When you finally accept that you need help and manage to get through the first year of recovery, you may be in a position to help others. You will be able to reflect on your life over the time you were addicted and will be able to see the mistakes you have made. It takes courage and patience to get to a point where you feel you are ready to talk openly about your illness, but that day will come. And when it does, you may want to speak out in order to help others overcome their illness too.

Helping Others

Rory Gervin from Co Tyrone is doing just that after suffering from a crippling addiction to drugs and alcohol that almost destroyed everything he held dear. Rory was a high-flyer at school and was a fit and healthy youngster who won an All-Ireland medal in basketball. He was also a superb GAA player, having earned a player of the year award. He had dreams of one day becoming a professional athlete.

However, just like most teenagers, Rory decided to experiment with alcohol and cigarettes; unfortunately for him, he then developed a devastating addiction to both alcohol and drugs that destroyed his dreams. Speaking to Belfast Live as a former addict who has gone through a lot, he said, “My addiction to drugs ripped through my relationship with my family to the extent that my family and friends began to forget the person I was. The drugs and alcohol just chipped away at my character until I was making choices that went totally against my core beliefs and ideals.”

He was prescribed anti-depressants and his parents were constantly worried about his state of mind and whether he would succumb to addiction or even suicide.

Depression

Although Rory cannot pinpoint what led him to develop an addiction, he has now realised that he was suffering from depression at a young age. He said, “I do know as a child I felt a deep loneliness within myself, and although I was happy at times I often felt very sad. I was and still am sensitive emotionally, which I now have learned to accept and love. On reflection, I can see I was depressed at a young age and can see now you’re never too young to be depressed, suicidal or addicted to substances.”

Although Rory did seek medical advice for his problems as a teenager, he says that he was not taken seriously and was told he was too young to be addicted to alcohol. He was also told that his condition was not serious enough to warrant professional help at a rehab facility. He added, “It saddens me because I know there are plenty of people out there who are very young that need that help now.”

Rock Bottom

Rory has described his ‘rock bottom’ as the moment he realised he did not have money to pay the rent in his homeless accommodation because of drug debts. At this point, his relationship with his family and friends had broken down, he was living in a homeless shelter and felt that his dreams were now out of reach. He said, “After binges of drugs and no food, it was very difficult to even have the energy to get out of bed. I was totally destroyed.”

Overcoming Addiction: Moving from Being an Addict to Becoming a Former Addict

Rory admits it was a hostel worker who urged him to get help and added that “there was a still a small part of me that thought ‘I want to live’.” Luckily for Rory, he managed to get his life back on track and is trying to move forward and achieve his teenage dreams of becoming a professional athlete. He is now speaking out in a bid to help others.

Source: Former Addict: My Parents Were in Constant Fear for my Life (Belfast Live)