HOMELESS AT CHRISTMAS: '˜For me it was a choice between living and dying '“ and I wasn't ready to die'

Adam Holmes has spent 29 years struggling with addiction.

Sunday, 16th December 2018, 8:17 am
Updated Sunday, 16th December 2018, 8:23 am
Adam Holmes.

The 45-year-old has spent time in prison, been homeless, begged on the streets for money and was stopped from seeing his daughter for six years.

But for the last 29 months he has been clean.

Adam with fellow recoverers at KickBack Recovery.

'For me it was a choice between living or dying,' he says.

'And I wasn't ready to die.'

Adam was born in Doncaster but moved to Sheffield when he was 19.

When asked to name the drugs he has had a problem with, he says it is easier to name the ones he hasn't.

Adam manning the Help us Help stall in Sheffield city centre.

'I started drinking and smoking cannabis when I was about 14 and by 19 had started injecting amphetamine.

'I ended up getting a bad habit and I was pinching things and manipulating people for money to fund it.'

After being charged with burglary, Adam was sent to prison where he developed a heroin addiction.

When he came out he lived on the streets and in the hostel system, begging and doing what he could to survive.

'I began selling heroin and then got introduced to crack - then I started injecting them both at the same time,' he says.

'That just happened for years.'

He finally hit rock bottom just under two and a half years ago.

He said: 'I was in my flat on my own at the time. I was paranoid and isolated, I had lost most of my teeth and I was yellow through Hepatitis C.

'I wasn't answering my phone and the only time I would leave the house was to score or go to the off licence or to the chemist for my methadone prescription.'

'My daughter's mum had also stopped me seeing her - understandably - because I was so chaotic.'

It was then Adam decided to go into rehab - but in order to get a place he was told he needed need to show he was serious.

At the time he was living at Parson Cross and would walk into town in all weathers to go to Narcotics Anonymous meetings.

'I used to go to any length to get drugs so I wanted to prove I would go to any length to get recovery,' he says.

'That was how much it meant to me.'

He entered rehab on January 4, 2016, being taken to the train station by people from Narcotics Anonymous so he didn't try to score some drugs on the way there.

After six months in rehab he returned to Sheffield where he moved into Phoenix Futures' Priory House in Nether Edge, where he still lives today.

'Rehab is just the tools but recovery begins when you get out into the real world,' he says.

'This has been a brilliant place - they have helped me through a lot of stuff.'

He also uses KickBack recovery - a self-help meeting which brings together people still in addiction, people in recovery and people who are abstinent - and is about to start volunteering at Addaction in Sheffield city centre.

'Giving like minded people hope is a big part of my recovery,' says Adam.

'I want to help other people who are going through what I have been through.

'It doesn't matter how long you have been using. If people want it enough they will get into recovery.

'If I can do it anybody can do it.'

As we talk, Adam reveals his ex-partner has just been found after going missing for a week and a half, after Adam put out an appeal on his recovery Facebook page for information about her whereabouts.

'She started drinking again so I had to stop seeing her as I couldn't let it affect my recovery,' he says.

'I tried to support her and showed her places to go - hopefully she will get it now after this scare.'

Adam says the most important part of his recovery so far has been his 15-year-old daughter coming back into his life.

'That is what I have always wanted - she is my world,' says Adam.

'I didn't see her for six years until she was 13 and when I met her in town she came up behind me and gave me a big hug.

'We are best friends now and that is how it should be.'

For more information about recovery, search for '˜Adam's page' on Facebook.