I Want My Life Back
By Steve Hamilton
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One is too many. A thousand is never enough.' 'Andrea arrived in rehab at the same time as me. We were in admissions together. I can't remember how many times she'd tried to get clean, but it was my eleventh institution and I was dying. For two days I listened to her withdrawal in a room just down the passage from mine. The screaming, the swearing, the crying - and the hideous, desperate ka-klung! of the bars on the side of the bed as she wrestled with the restraints that kept her tied to it. I don't know what damage they thought she could have done really. Andrea had had all the tips of her fingers amputated. She'd got gangrene from shooting up under her nails too many times ...' At the age of fifteen I already had a criminal record, busted by the drug squad for possession of an illegal substance. You'd think I'd have learnt a lesson, wouldn't you, but I'm still learning, even though I'm clean of street drugs now - well, just for today - and have a lot of clean time behind me. The hardest lesson of all for an addict is that the nightmare is never over and the powerful seduction of just one more high never ever goes away. The story in these pages is not a comfortable one. It doesn't have an ending and I'm not even sure if it has a true beginning. Some of the time it may read like a bad dream. It isn't. It's my life you're holding in your hands. Don't let it be yours.