For me, one of the most fascinating facets of working in this field is how some recovering people have so dramatically changed their lives in coming through addiction and its consequences. I celebrate them for overcoming such incredible adversity and for the resilience they show. And the fact that they often go on to help other people and create a real impact in wider society.
The five people that Wulf and I have selected to be the first participants in our new initiative are perfect examples of what I am saying. Our first fifteen Stories have been selected to illustrate for each person the shift from addiction—or in Huseyin’s case a precursor to addiction—to ‘giving back’ in recovery.
Here is the first of these stories, the early life of James Deakin, Founder of North Wales Recovery Communities (NWRC). This Story is told in three films that we edited from the original of his interview with Wulf. Please excuse the quality of the cinematic quality of the film, which as due to a slow internet connection. This is easily made up for, in our opinion, by James’s animated storytelling
And a word of warning for the faint-hearted. Parts of the third film are pretty grim.
James grows up in a single-parent family, surrounded by heavy drinking, conflict and violence. He feels he is constantly on edge. He experiments with cannabis and party drugs. The work options for someone his age are narrow, and there is a marked contrast between low-wage workers and drug dealers with their posh cars and chunky mobile phones.
James starts dealing and soon finds a nice market for selling cannabis and party drugs—to students at Manchester University—away from the violence of higher parts of the drug dealing scene. He has a good business acumen and his market mushrooms over a period of four to five years.
Cocaine explodes on the scene in the UK around 1996. After resisting cocaine for a good period of time, James takes up an offer to try the drug. He takes to it immediately and is soon using large quantities regularly. He leads the high life, his habit supported by his drug-dealing business. At the same time, he is a mess inside, continually having a sense of impending doom and lacking in confidence and self-esteem. His cocaine habit is later costing him £2-3,000 a week.
The day after James buys 10,000 ecstasy tablets for selling to students, newspapers print a photograph of 15-year-old Leah Betts on a ventilator. She had taken ecstasy and later dies. James can’t sell his supply of the drug, for which he has not paid.
Realising he is in serious trouble, he does a bunk to Bangor in North Wales. However, the dealers track him down and bundle him into the boot of a car. He is shipped back to Manchester and tortured over a period of days. After his sister pays his debt, James is told that he will be shot if he doesn’t leave town. He moves back to Bangor.