FORMEr addicts have captured their journeys of recovery in a series of diaries in a bid to help others battle their drug and alcohol demons.
Members of the group have spent the past year writing down their thoughts and feelings as they fought addictions that sent their lives on a downward spiral.
They hope the diaries will inspire others to keep on going and that there is a light at the end of the tunnel.
The diaries were unveiled during a celebratory event held by support group First Contact Clinical at One Trinity Green in Laygate, South Shields.
Recovery worker Margaret Lister said: “These amazing individuals have given up their time, to passionately encourage and motivate others who may find themselves in a similar situation to their own.
“Calling upon their own life experiences, the team have produced a fantastic resource for others to use in the future in the form of the diaries,
“I would like to take this opportunity to thank the founding members of the diary group. The hard work and dedication from the team will be as valuable to the local community as it is to First Contact Clinical.”
Group members were tasked with deciding what they wanted in their diaries and how the pages and diary should look.
Those who took part in the diary sessions were supported by Margaret Lister and volunteer Jonathan Trotter.
They also received heklp with the design of the diaries from Adrian Booth and Nik Jones from creative agency Creative Streak based in Newcastle.
First Contact Clinical was launched in 2008 to help disadvantaged people and communities by motivating healthy behaviour change.
‘I’m back in control of my life’
For Michelle Scott it has been a long battle with prescription drugs.
But for the first time in almost 20 years, she feels as though she is back in control of her own life.
Now she is hoping a diary recalling her journey to recovery will inspire others to overcome their own addictions.
Michelle was only 15 when she was prescribed medication to help her cope with the death of her mum.
She become reliant on the drugs, and turned to buying them on the street. This led her into shoplifting to fund her habit and eventually spending three months in prison.
This ended up with Michelle losing her two children.
Michelle, now 34, said: “It was when I was inside, that was the moment I just knew I needed to sort my life out. I wanted to stop using. I wanted to get my kids back. But when I came out I started to use again, then the guilt of going back down that road hit me.
“I went to NECA for my drug misuse and started to also get support from First Contact. I wanted to fight my addiction.
“I was fighting it while also fighting for my kids, which was hard.
“I didn’t get my kids back but I didn’t want to give up my fight against the addiction as I wanted my kids to one day be proud of me.
“When people find out your a drug addict they stay away from you and it becomes a dark and lonely place.
“But being part of the group, it does help you. It helps you to understand where you are going wrong and ways to cope to stop you from using.
Michelle added: “I’m not saying it is easy and people do have relapses, but you can’t give up, you’ve just got to keep on going.
“Doing these diaries has been a great help as you can see how far you have come and how far other people have come.
“It has been hard for everyone but we have all supported each other.”
Michelle, who is volunteering with First Contact Clinical, is now hoping to gain employment.