HEALING ADDICTION. Lived experience perspective

“Human beings can withstand a week without water, two weeks without food, many years of homelessness, but not loneliness. It is the worst of all tortures, the worst of all sufferings. Like her, these men, and the many others who sought her company, were all tormented by that same destructive feeling, the sense that no one else on the planet cared for them.”
― Paulo Coelho, Eleven Minutes

I am a person in longterm recovery from addiction whose lived experience is the embodiment of 30 plus years of personal service, in tandem with my professional role as a clinician, counsellor, speaker, educator and broadcaster.


Myself and other clinicians are working on implementing Addiction Emergency Clinics within NHS – hospital settings- an addiction healthcare initiative that we continue to drive in order for people in need of addiction healthcare may receive the help.

The benefits of lived experience volunteers working side by side with clinicians is formidable. We are currently pitching to Public Health Ministers a sustainable way of saving the lives of people whose healthcare crisis, reduced circumstances caused by poverty, homelessness, and isolation need to be addressed.

Not everyone who made up the recent tragic number of drug related deaths in Scotland is living on the streets. Many opioid addicts are highly function people. It could be the director of the movie you are watching, or serving you food in a restaurant, or managing extreme wealth portfolios, or sitting opposite you in the underground, or walking past you on the street….

Among addicts, mental health issues and addiction are often inextricably intertwined. Some individuals begin their descent into addiction by trying to self-medicate untreated mental illness; others develop mental illness as a result of years of substance abuse. In either of these cases, successful long-term recovery hinges on addressing both of these issues in treatment.

Many individuals, in an effort to treat underlying chronic pain or other issues become addicted. Addiction healthcare services can provide alternative, non-addictive ways of pain-management.

Addiction devastates individual, and their families.

I ask for help, for feedback and continue to do service within the recovery community. In the early years of recovery I sought professional help me manage stress, anxiety and prevent relapsing.

Time takes time. Don’t quit ever. If I can live the recovery life, one day at a time, so can you. Start where you. Find a local 12step fellowship meeting. Ask questions. Become curious about what to do to begin your recovery today. People in recovery will help you. You are not alone.