Julian’s story

My name is Julian. I have lived in Bristol all my 39 years of age. I am from a large family: my father was Irish, my mother English, and I am the youngest of ten children. I always struggled as a young boy, I never felt comfortable in my own skin. I thought there was something wrong with me, and there was as I later found out, after 25 years of substance abuse, drinking alcohol, and Class-A drugs.

I was born into a large English / Irish family.  I am the youngest of ten children. At school I never really wanted to be there, and I couldn’t understand why I didn’t seem to fit in. As a result my school years were not good. At 13 years old I started drinking cider and then progressed onto glue sniffing, smoking pot,
then moved onto speed, cocaine, lsd, and eventually ended up doing crack cocaine followed by heroin. My teen years and young adult life was spent in jail, living a criminal lifestyle, stealing, lying, being dishonest and giving hardly any respect to my family or friends, even my children.

My life has been a long hard, trying and testing time. After 24 years of being non responsible for anything – no real job life, just continually taking drink and drugs to fill the void inside me. Horribly, not wanting to die and not wanting to live, I found myself in hospital again fighting for my life.  7 and a half stone, I looked 70 years old, my skin was yellow and liver packing up. I was demoralised, beaten and literally one more use up could finally bring my life to an end…..

At 37 years old and nothing, I thought, to live for I went to Walsingham House, frightened and fearful, for an assessment  to see if they could help me. They were willing to offer me a bed and a new start to life. With local authority funding I began to learn about addiction and a way to stay clean and sober on a daily basis. I stuck around working on myself, with the support of counsellors, and a lot of other alcoholics and addicts who understand me.  I put the work in and kept it in the day. I did 12 weeks at Walsingham House, quite simply because of the professional set up there.  They know what to do and how to help me understand what I’m suffering from.

I did a secondary treatment plan for 26 weeks and then came back to St James House, and continued another stage of ongoing help and support. I spent 2 years and 2months there developing my spirituality. I am catholic but I’m not a church going person. However, I needed to relearn my spiritual principles. I have put in an awful lot of effort doing personal self development. I’m now 45 years old, 8 and a half years clean and sober, living one day at a time. My time at the St James Priory project was worth every day of my efforts and their safe, secure place to grow spiritually and develop responsibility, and so much more.

I now do support work at Walsingham House. I am also in contact with my family and children and these relationships are ongoing and developing over time. I’m in a steady relationship with a lovely person who sees me for who I am today and she is accepting of my difficult past . Further more I am so grateful to St James and Walsingham House and all who put in the time and hard work to help people who have drug/alcohol issues.

Thank you so much for giving and showing me a life without drugs/alcohol and to live life responsibly and respectfully.

Julian F