“Over 30 years I must have spent about half a million on gear! Imagine that! If I had that money now, I’d go on detox, get on a cruise ship for 3 months or whatever…  If you’re on one of them ships, it doesn’t matter if you can’t sleep, does it? Cos there’s  always something to do. Hopefully when I get back then I won’t be interested anymore.”


“Most addicts, they have a reason. They’ve been abused or whatever.
But not me. I had a good childhood. I just fell into it.”

James is 53 and normally lives with the mother of his two children, even though they no longer consider themselves a couple. Sometimes, like today, she has enough of him and James gets “bin-bagged” out of the house. When this happens, he goes to stay with his mum for a few days until he is allowed back into the house.

A couple of years ago, James was diagnosed with early onset dementia. He has started to forget things, and feels like his habit has gotten worse since the diagnosis. This also affects how he sees his future.

“I don’t see me stopping drugs. … What’s the use of stopping? Because I’m going to be ill soon anyway, and forget everything… so I may as well enjoy it now!”



If James’ story has touched you, let him know.
Take 2 minutes to send James a message.



What is normal?

icons4.pngPeople experiencing severe and multiple disadvantage have often grown up in worlds where alcohol or drug use, violence, or offending are normal. How much does it take for someone to recognise and challenge these norms? Services need to not just focus on the individual, but also support whole families and sometimes communities to change.

For a more in-depth insight, read these stories and blog posts:

Paul  James  Natasha  Tex  Steve


The system is full of missed opportunities

icons5Most of the interactions people have had with services could be seen as missed opportunities. By stigmatising people and focusing on ‘risk’ rather than recovery, services end up not providing the right support and disempower people. Services are missing key moments when help is needed and people are reaching out.

For a more in-depth insight, read these stories and blog posts:

Lizz  James  Natasha  Steve
A system of missed opportunities   The system punishes you for doing well




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