by Kanna Ingleson in conversation with Jason Carter (pictured top left)

After a lifetime of active addiction, and a complicated series of events, I ended up in Eastbourne.

From the first time that I walked into Café North, everyone was amazing. I had a brilliant example and mentor in Dave, and if wasn’t for him I would have started using again. That much is 100% guaranteed.

The obsession to use drugs may have subsided over time, but I do know for sure that I will have to keep an eye on it forever. If I don’t keep putting in the work, I will start slipping back. Becoming an ESRA volunteer was an important step in my recovery, and I always did my best to help out.

When people ask me how I have managed to maintain my recovery during lockdown, these are the things that I tell them about.

Discipline

It is important for me to start every day in a positive way. I always make my bed, say a prayer of thanks, brush my teeth and just generally keep my house in order. If I stay in bed I become stagnant. Also, it’s a nice way to start the day.

Meditation

I didn’t have a clue about any of this kind of thing before lockdown. There are some great apps out there and I used them to learn to meditate. It has really made a difference to the way that I feel.

Connection

I attended the online ESRA coffee mornings, and the mid-week support group. I also attended fellowship meetings at least 3 or 4 times a week. I think it is a shame that face to face meetings are closed while pubs stay open. Zoom has helped me to stay connected.

Exercise

I went fishing as soon as soon as lockdown lifted and we were allowed to exercise. It is good for me to to be on the beach in the fresh air, and to be active. I also walked and cycled regularly.

Creativity

I loved the art packs that ESRA sent out during lockdown. I was able to try different things and I especially enjoyed painting and modelling. I started taking photos and have had some great feedback and encouragement to do more.

I have found that all of these things really add up to a very good way to live. It is great to have found ESRA and I am very happy to have joined the staff as a support worker. I love my job and I wish that I had found a way into recovery years ago.

The most important thing that I can say to anyone in active addiction is to ask for help. Don’t be embarrassed. Walk through the door.