Lu's story

At the age of 13/14 I started sniffing solvents with my peer group at school which then stopped around the age of 15 when I discovered cannabis which I smoked up to the age of about 18/19. Then that was it until I was 23 when I started smoking cannabis again. About 6 months later I was introduced to crack cocaine. I didn’t like the comedown from crack so I used to drink to mask the effects. That was until I discovered heroin and stopped using alcohol and substituted it for heroin. I used heroin and crack for 9/10 years before deciding that enough was enough. The last few times that I used I accidentally overdosed and an ambulance was called …the last time I came around without needing anything being administrated to me and I refused to go into hospital as I had felt that I had cost the NHS enough time and money due to my stupid actions, and that was the last time that I used any drugs, 2nd June 2013.

A combination of years of degrading mental abuse from my father and mental, physical and sexual abuse and being totally repressed from my ex husband my confidence had dropped extremely low. It was only then that I was diagnosed with depression and anxiety. There was one point where I didn’t leave the house for just over 6 months.

When I accessed Double Impact I had already been clean for 2 years. I had never accessed any drug services before, and was really wary about if Double Impact could help me or not. My partner at the time asked one of the workers if I would be eligible with me being clean for 2 years. He went away and found out for me and came back with the exact words of “yes, we would love to have you here”…

It used to take me all the previous day to work up to leaving the house and with great difficulty and angst, and may I add and it always had to be with somebody and I would never catch a bus by myself and if the bus that I was on ever got to full we would have to disembark and wait for another bus to come along and be less full. After only a few weeks of attending Double Impact I was able to work the confidence up to it being less traumatic leaving the house. I was supported by my worker and Phil to catch the bus by myself, and I actually did it. I slowly realised that I could actually do anything that I put my mind to. I slowly realised that I actually enjoyed attending Double Impact and I actually sitting in open access talking to people, although I always used to make sure that I sat in the chair closest to the door.

"One day I was on my way to Phil’s house I realised that I no longer even had to think or fret when leaving the house and I could catch the bus with ease. I had become this whole new person and I didn’t even realise it."

I was then advised by my worker to attend the next set of mentor training. During the mentor training my confidence grew even more. The ‘triads’ were probably the most daunting part of it. On the morning of my first triad I didn’t know it was happening but I was extremely nervous when it was said to me that I would be starting then in about 5 minutes. I hadn’t been prepared for this to happen, so I became extremely nervous but I got through it. On reflection afterwards it reminded me of who I used to be and how I used to let situations define how I felt and think rather than dealing with the situation to the best of my abilities.

"If I was going to be a mentor then I would need to deal with the unexpected happening, so I made a conscious decision to try not to let things out of my control try to faze me too much, as I had previously been given the tools to overcome things like this and it has worked."

In July I actually asked if I could do a shift in Open Access. I thought to myself oh my god this scares me so much, I hope I never have to do it. Then on Thursday of last week received a phone call asking me if I would do 10-4 on reception and without hesitation I said yes because I didn’t come this far by not pushing myself. Friday came and went and I actually did it. I wasn’t too nervous that I retreated into my shell, I actually think I thrived a little bit. It was nice to know that someone had confidence in me to do something.

I am totally unrecognisable from the person that I was before I attended Double Impact – I have even been to the cinema by myself. I still have a long way to go and that’s ok I know with the support that I receive from Double Impact and my peers I will get there.