Jamie’s story

13 Sep 2021

After 10 years of addiction and three prison sentences, Jamie was ready to change.

With the help of The Wallich in Aberystwyth, Jamie is awaiting rehab and wants to help other people facing addiction.

Read his story

“I was in on the streets and in prison, due to problems with addiction.

I’ve been in and out of The Wallich for a good few years.

My addiction spiralled out of control. I lived with a girlfriend; it was a co-dependent relationship.

That broke down so I came back to The Wallich.”

Support from The Wallich

“I’ve got appointments every day, from everywhere. They [The Wallich] remind me what I’ve got for the day.

It’s a massive help; a massive weight off your shoulders.

It might seem small, you know, someone sitting in an office in the building you’re living in. Some people might see it as invasive, it’s not.

They’re not there to invade in your privacy.

They’re not there to report what you’re doing.

If you didn’t have The Wallich staff helping, it’d be a damn sight slower, I know that.”

Addiction

“I started by smoking cannabis. As I was going through my teens, I started going to parties. I was taking ecstasy and speed.

In my early 20s, the PTSD was kicking in. The doctors prescribed me Valium, so I was taking a load of them.

People call them happy pills, they’re very good at making you forget your problems. They can make you lose your inhibitions and do daft things that you don’t need to do.

Later on, I started doing crack and heroin and that’s where it ended. That’s the top of the ladder. That’s when it will strip everything.

I had a good relationship, a good house, I had money and it’s just stripped everything. It’ll leave you a shell.

When I was in my addiction, I thought, I can’t go and ask for help because probation might find out and I might go back to prison. Really, they don’t see it like that, but you think that they do.

I’ve done crime, but I don’t see myself as a criminal. My heart and morals are in the right place – without drugs in my life.

I’ve had things happen to me when I was young. That’s probably the cause of my addiction in my adult life.

I’m 34 now. These problems have happened. I can’t change that.

I need to learn to live side by side with it. I can’t just take drink or drugs to make me feel better.”

Rehabilitation

“I’m currently waiting to go to rehab. I’ve been fighting addiction and it’s just not getting me anywhere.

It’s not a life. You take drink or drugs because you’re feeling so down about what’s happened, but you’re just making everything worse.

Since I’ve stopped using, I rarely think about the issues from my past.

I need to learn the skills to live the rest of my life clean.

It’s a three-month residential thing [rehab]. It’s a little farm. You go live down there and you’re not surrounded by temptations.

That appeals to me, going to a little farm in the middle of nowhere, work on issues, reflect on my life and get closure.

I can start the second half of my life. That’s how I’m seeing it. I can close a whole book on that half and open a new one.

It’s hard but it’s doable. When things start going bad and you hit rock bottom, that’s when you start to want to change.

You think, ‘I can’t live like this; I can’t do it; I don’t like this’.

It’s not all going to happen overnight. It’s a lot of work. It’s not all going to be fun and games but it’s going to be worth it to live the rest of my life clean and happy.”

Making personal lifestyle changes

“I’ve been taking massive steps. Everyone I knew was into drugs. I’ve got to go a long way and that’s what I’m doing now, meeting new people that aren’t in addiction.

When I go to meetings, I meet people who have come through the other side.

Changing everybody you know, meeting new friends – it takes time. I’m just trying to give myself the best chance.”

Making an impact on others

Things happened when I was young and I didn’t know how to cope with it in my early 20s and I couldn’t process it.

I do believe, if I could have tackled it a little bit more when I was younger, I may not have lost this last 10 years in addiction.

You’re not taught enough about addiction in school. I certainly wasn’t taught anything about addiction.

You know drugs are bad, everybody knows that because that’s how they portray it.

But you don’t know that if you end up on crack or heroin, chances are it’ll strip everything, chances are it will chew you up and spit you out.

You’re lucky if you get out of the other side.

The big thing for me is working with homeless people, people with addiction, youngsters, to try and get the message across.

It’s not so much about me anymore because I’m done with addiction, I’ve come to the end of my journey. I’ve had my lapses, relapses over the years but I’m firmly on the path to the mend.

It’s about the people coming up behind. It’s about passing that help on for them. I’m still young. If I put my mind to this, I will be good at it.

When I get out of rehab, it’s another experience I can pass on. That is the most important thing for me going forward.

It just makes me feel good. I get a lot of satisfaction out of it.

That’s all anyone really wants in life isn’t it, is to be happy. That’s all I ask for. I don’t want to be rich, just be happy and content.

I will hopefully go off to rehab and start the rest of my life.

I’ve done the years in prison. I very nearly died a few times. How it hasn’t killed me I don’t know. I’ve woken up in intense care a few times.

There is a reason why I’m still here, I genuinely believe that. I’ve just got to find it.”

Find out more about our projects in Aberystwyth

Related Pages