Growing up I never really liked myself, I felt less than and I always compared myself to others. I had low self esteem and would have given anything to be somebody else, somebody less shy and more confident. These feelings dominated me throughout my teenage years and when I had my first drink it did something really special for me. It took away all of my fears and insecurities, I could be the person I always wanted to be, it filled that part of me that I always felt was missing. I soon after found cocaine and for 10 years I chased those feelings. In those 10 years I lost everything that I managed to build up early on in my life. I had relationships that I crippled and gave up, jobs that I some how managed to hold on to for so long I gave up for drugs, I lost cars, money, family, friends and became homeless at the age of 25. My addiction ruled me. By the time I wanted to stop, I realised I was unable to without help. I tried rehab twice, but I didn’t stick at it, I found sobriety too painful. I had pushed down so many emotions and feelings for so long that I felt unable to cope with them, so I relapsed both times.I’m now on my third attempt at recovery, and my world is completely different because no matter what, this time I couldn’t bare to go back to the life I was living and I pushed through the pain of early recovery with help, and other people in recovery supporting me through the process. Having others in recovery to speak to through the pain is the only reason I am sober today. What a life I have been granted. I am so grateful for the opportunity to have a fresh chance at life. I start university next week where I’m going to be studying to be a paramedic. I drive again. I get to see my family regularly and build meaningful relationships with them. It can sometimes be hard. I help other men to recover today. I was hopeless 18 months ago, today I can say I have a bright future full of dreams.