I would be up for 3 days on Cocaine then would sleep for a day, and start the merry-go-round all over again.

My life has been great sometimes, sometimes not and sometimes tragic. I had a good, decent upbringing but lost my friends when I was 15 and became extremely shy and introverted. I felt I did not belong anywhere. I became anorexic and went down to about 5 and a half stone in weight. Despite this I did well at school, got good qualifications, and led a normal life for many years. It felt like Groundhog Day, so aged 29 I left home.

I got a flat and started kitting it out with lovely stuff. I discovered the Rave Scene and I was on top of the world. I had finally found somewhere I really wanted to be and fitted in nicely. I loved the music and Ecstasy allowed me to dance for hours. I would start Friday night, after working all week.

Living above my means, I realised it would be quicker for me to achieve my goals if I started dealing substances to supplement my income. My flat became a party flat. I would have loads of people over and deal to them. My shyness disappeared as the substances gave me amazing confidence. Drugs were readily available and the parties were amazing. But a little voice started to go off in my head. I realised I was feeling drained, not eating properly and that Ecstasy did this to you. I went from a healthy size 12 to a size 8. I stared missing work and I lost my job, ending up just dealing and partying.

I then met a girl who went on to become my partner in crime. She sold Ketamine, and although something inside told me that this stuff was going to be a nightmare, I tried it anyway. We became friend and started dealing virtually every substance, making a lot of money along the way.

Ketamine was a nightmare. One time I was invited to serve up at a nightclub my friend was running. I arrived dressed up to the nines, but then decided to have a quick toot of Ketamine to give me a boost, I put a straw into a gram bag and sniffed lot. I do not remember the next hour but apparently I had to be carried out by security. When I finally came to I was on the floor of my friends car vomiting. On another occasion I was invited to spend Christmas Day with my Sister and I brought some with me then and gave some to my Sister’s boyfriend who was cooking the Christmas dinner. He passed out and we ended up with a burnt turkey.

I then moved on to Cocaine, thinking it was harmless enough and it would help me to stay awake. I was soon taking huge amounts, dealing it to pay for my habit.

One night I was going to deal in a nightclub, but was spotted on CCTV hiding the stash before I arrived. Two plain clothed policemen pulled up in a car and asked me what was in the plastic bag in my hand. My heart sank down to my feet and deep inside I knew it was all over and that life would never be the same again.

The Police searched my flat and found a lot of substances there. I remember thinking “This is a lesson for you, no more dealing.” But I ran into someone who had been in the same position, who said that this was probably the best time to carry on dealing as I had already been busted, so for the ten months leading up to my final court date that is what I did. I would be up for 3 days on Cocaine then would sleep for a day, and start the merry-go-round all over again. I bought a new car and jewellery, trying to fill the void inside me, but with no satisfaction I remembered my best friend warning me about Cocaine when I first stared using, whispering in my ear “Be careful that it is very insidious.” I remembered telling her that I was completely in control. And here I was, unhealthy, unhappy and facing court.

I got sent down for four years and served two, all the time planning how I was going to live my life when I was released, enjoying the fruits of my dealing. When I got home I found my flat had been the scene of an attempted gangland execution. All my possessions and furniture were smashed up and covered in blood.

I had no money and no friends, I hated my flat, I was having panic attacks that meant I had to be outdoors all the time, but I had nowhere to go. My next-door neighbour had turned from this sweet guy who used to take Ecstasy into a Crack head. He sensed my vulnerability and introduced me to Crack and before long my flat had become a crack house. I turned into this bitch landlady from hell. No one came in unless they sorted me out – I was out of control buy I stupidly thought I had it. I had missed my Probation, and ended up going back to prison.

What I thought was a glamorous lifestyle, with the money, flat and friends using recreational substances, turned into a life of misery.

The drugs do stop working your appearance changes and you ruin your health. By the grace of God a Drug Worker, addressed my problem and asked the Judge to put me on a daily Drug Rehabilitation programme, which is where I discovered Cocaine Anonymous. I saw that it didn’t matter whether I was out raving or hardcore using; I was in the same place, lost and broken.

I found a CA sponsor and I am doing the 12 Steps as outlined in the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous. My life has transformed and I am now more than 6 months clean and sober. I had to identify my fears and allow a Higher Power into my life. I live a life more tolerant of other people and with humility, facing up to my feelings rather than blotting them out with substances. It’s a simple path but it really does work. I am eternally grateful.

My next vital step is to give back, what has been given to me and help others to achieve their sobriety.