Our impact Real stories Luke's story For well over 15 years, drugs were a big part of my life. Prior to them taking over, there was about a five-year period when they were fun with not many consequences. My drug taking 'career' started with drinking and smoking weed at school, later progressing to cocaine. When I was at university I lost some close friends, including my girlfriend at the time, in a serious car accident. It was this point that I no longer felt I had anything or anyone to live for. The biggest problem I had was the total inability to manage my feelings and emotions around the trauma I had gone through and the only thing I knew how to do to escape reality was to use drugs. So, what had once been a recreational activity which was quite manageable and controlled, had now turned into a total necessity to use drugs at any cost. I wasn’t using drugs for fun anymore, I was using to escape the emotional pain I couldn’t deal with, so the types of drugs got harder and the amounts got bigger. Out of all the drugs I had tried, heroin was the one drug that had the ability to turn off reality completely. When I used heroin I no longer felt the emotional pain I was going through and the longer I was 'asleep', the less time I spent trying to deal with life. When I came back from university, I knew I had to stop, but didn’t have any comprehension of what I was dealing with. I was completely unaware that I suffered with an illness that I needed help to overcome and it took me many years of trying and failing on my own to figure that out. It wasn’t until I got honest and asked for help that things started to change. I noticed things started to change enormously when I started attending the courses at WDP. I started with the NOVA course, which I found immensely helpful as on the outside I seemed very confident, outgoing and self-assured, however, deep down I suffered with low self-esteem, self-doubt and a huge lack of confidence. This course helped with all of that. "What I am is incredibly grateful for the opportunities I’ve been given and the people that have helped me along the way. If I can do it, anyone can!" The next course I went on was GSB (Giving Something Back), which is essentially about getting back into work and/or volunteering. Being a drug addict, I’m constantly faced with my failures, missed opportunities, people I’ve hurt and things I’ve done wrong, so being able to look at my accomplishments and the positive things I’ve done has helped me realise that I was a sick person, not a bad one. I don’t consider myself a special case, or even a special person. What I am is incredibly grateful for the opportunities I’ve been given and the people that have helped me along the way. If I can do it, anyone can! Names and images of service users have been changed to maintain confidentiality.