When Leon’s life was turned upside down following the loss of his best friend and mum, he started self-medicating with heroin and eventually his son was taken into care. Two years on, Leon tells Positive People (We Are With You) about the incredible journey that led to him recovering from addiction, retraining and making plans for the future.
“In the early 2000s, I was a Deputy Foreman of a warehouse, managing a team of 26 people working on decking and flooring for yachts. I was then promoted to Foreman and stayed in the job until 2011.
The death of my boss, who was also my best friend, left a gaping hole in my life. His shoes were filled by various directors, but the job wasn’t ever the same, so I left.
I became self-employed but struggled to make enough money. In 2013, my wife and I moved from Northamptonshire to Cornwall in search of a better life.
My life flipped upside down when my mum died in 2017, and life went downhill rapidly. I had previously used drugs recreationally, but soon began to use heroin as a way to cope with the pain. The grief was unbearable, and I felt lost.
A few years later, I found myself living in a caravan, soon to be a dad. This gave me the motivation I needed to get clean and find a stable place to live.
During a trip back home, my life began to spiral again, and I relapsed. I left my job, and with drug debts hanging around my neck, I found new work outside of Cornwall to try and get us out of our financial mess.
In 2020, I experienced another huge loss. It was decided that our baby son needed to be placed into the care of another family on a permanent basis. Our marriage is currently at breaking point as we are trying to cope with our own grief and feelings around the loss, without the use of drugs.
My wife and I received support from We Are With You, which was fantastic. I was then referred to the Positive People programme.
My Change Coach Gill was like a surrogate mum to me. She doesn’t read from a book – what she gave me wasn’t scripted at all. She gave me honest answers, just like your mum would. She never judged, and always helped me to find answers by allowing me to think for myself. I became stronger and more independent. She truly went above and beyond. Gill helped me get my Forklift Truck driving licence, which is giving me the opportunity to get another job.
I was also given a laptop, so that I could access a CBT course and virtual Health and Wellbeing sessions with Kate King (Senior Health and Wellbeing Advisor). Kate and I worked on my confidence and looked at how to make alternative choices. I use the skills Kate taught me daily.
I couldn’t recommend Positive People more and if you are lucky enough to work with Gill and Kate, you will go a long way. I have been free from a methadone prescription for over a year now and my wife is about to start residential rehab.
I’m starting to make plans for the future for the first time in a long time. I want a job that’s 9 – 5, allowing me time to heal outside of work. I want to save money, get a car, and have a stable place to call home, where I can go to the fridge and it’s full, and have the heating on and not worry about it. And one day, I’d like to be in a role that helps other people who are struggling with addiction.”