Growing up, drugs were never really spoken about; they were considered bad and for those who did not achieve much in life.

Yet among my extended family, drug use – and in particular the use of cannabis, marijuana or weed – was commonplace. As I grew up and became more involved with the drug scene, I discovered that friends of my parents whom I had grown up to respect, took part in weekly ‘stoner sessions’.

Our home was a farm where people from the local community would come to work on the farm including builders, cleaners and car mechanics. My parents would always complain how the people who worked for them took so many breaks and how things took a long time to do, yet they never twigged that the tea room was really a ‘bong room’; indeed I was clueless before the summer of 1996.

The summer of 1996

With little engagement in school activities and carrying a huge amount of anger, it was the summer of 1996, when I was 15, that I first got involved in smoking cannabis. At this stage I had never smoked a cigarette as I didn’t see the point and as I inhaled my first toke of a ‘spliff’ my throat burned, but seeing people who I looked up to seemingly enjoying themselves, I persisted.

The hard work paid off and I found I had the remedy or band aid to not have to deal with my unrest around life. I soon discovered smoking ‘took me out’ from life and also meant I started to eat huge amounts of crisps and chocolate – ‘the munchies’ as they call it. Most importantly I felt I was making a statement – I was saying to the world: “you hurt me, so enough is enough, I will hurt you back”.

When the summer of ’96 was over and I returned to school it was the biggest come down I had imagined with only one remedy – to continue with drugs. As someone who likes including others, word soon got around that I had the ‘best quality grass’ at the school and so I was elevated into the position of dealing . . . something that meant I had the identification of being important to everyone, regardless of how many years above me they were.

And there I was, untouchable. The guys wanted to buy ‘my stuff’ and the girls finally spoke to me and took an interest. When I was asked to leave the school, due to a few older pupils being upset about my taking their ‘customers’ away from them, my reputation certainly went ahead of me and I had achieved a status that was higher than the sports players or brainy kids. I had done something few would dare to do. It was a protection of ultimate identification.

But despite this identification I still did not feel complete; I felt like something was empty, something was missing. I had to take a couple of years off the drugs as part of the rules of my new school and I learnt I could do all the school work I needed and get great grades. As I left school there was still something fundamental missing, something that I now realise was my connection to me.

My immediate reaction was to turn back to drugs, only this time since I had more money it was work hard and play much, much harder – to the point where eventually after long days at work, and longer nights partying, I ended up in hospital.

Things slowly started to twig… I started to put two and two together, realising that when I smoked I could not focus the next day, so I began to hold off smoking for only Friday and Saturday nights.

Eventually I began to feel that I was flat/dull and not myself for a few weeks after smoking, I began to consider that perhaps all my irritability was connected to my drug taking. But I was torn; the drugs were ‘my friend’, my escape, they helped me cope with life, yet I refused to really feel the damage they were doing.

The summer of 2004

Eight years after I first partook in a ‘harmless’ toke on a joint and with years of IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome), anxiety and little self-confidence, I went to see Serge Benhayon, who came recommended by a family member.

It was a pivotal moment, as during that meeting (which I went to for my IBS and anxiety) I felt a level of warmth and ease that I had never felt before. Here was someone that I had never met before, yet someone that I felt closer to than anyone in my life.

I left that session feeling both great in myself and stunned at what I had just felt. The difference however between what I felt when I was with Serge and how I felt in my life was massive.

Serge was presenting a Heart Chakra workshop that weekend and I was due to be in the area, as I was booked into a 4-day music festival just 10 minutes away. In typically British fashion, out of nowhere was a full downpour on the Saturday morning. As someone that doesn’t like the rain, I left the festival to go to the Heart Chakra workshop. And this is where the challenges started; I could feel the amazingness of what Serge was saying but was challenged by the topics he presented. In particular the effect that drugs have on your body.

I did know how crap I would feel on a ‘come down’ and how that was lasting longer and longer; I also knew how I needed those drugs to cope. Now I was being offered the choice to look at what was driving me to turn to the drugs in the first place.

Supplementing drugs with Self Care and Self Love

My remedy for getting off the drugs was not some AA meeting, but instead was a gradual process of taking more care of myself – the way I would eat, dress, and more importantly walk and talk. The more I started to share the truth of what I felt about situations, the less I felt an unsettlement inside that I wanted to run from.

I didn’t do this alone, as I had support from a number of Universal Medicine practitioners, including Serge. It was a challenge to not fall back into old ways as the ‘negative’ thoughts would come thick and fast; in fact, if I shared what thoughts would pop into my head, I probably would have been locked up. They were certainly not caring, let alone loving.

As I look back today I can’t recall the exact moment when my body felt repulsed by the thought of having drugs, but what I do know is that I never tried not to have drugs.

It was very different to all that I had read and heard about people ‘staying off the drugs’ or ‘giving up the drugs’. In fact it was the total opposite: I didn’t focus on what I wanted to give up, instead I focussed on the lovely feeling in my body that I knew I could feel more often if I changed the way I lived.

This focus and commitment led to me dealing with lots of unresolved issues from my childhood and with each level of healing that I chose there was less and less attraction or want to dull myself or escape from life.

I then started to feel the magic in life and therefore had no desire to escape it. Within a year or less I had stopped taking drugs, which included alcohol, and I felt a million times better. It changed my entire life from my relationships to my work. And all without a deliberate intention to give something up, but rather a focus on building a quality in how I lived and looked after myself.

I look back today and there is not a single speck of me that is drawn to drugs; in fact my entire body says no. And when it comes to the identification I received from dealing drugs at school, well today I feel at ease and content in and with myself.

I live an amazing life and have incredible family, friends and work. I am not only no longer a drug user or drug dealer, I am completely healed from those choices and patterns in every single way.

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Self-nurturingHealingSelf-loveHealthy livingAddictionDrugs

  • Photography: Matt Paul