A woman who was admitted to rehab three times because of her severe drug addiction has turned her life around by becoming an addiction therapist helping others going through what she did.
Vicky, from Hale, Manchester, reveals that her drug addiction started at a young age; she was smoking weed when she was 11 and took acid and mushrooms by the age of 16.
The 49-year-old, who attended Altrincham Grammar School, comes from a wealthy background and was expected to go into medicine or dentistry. However, her parents split when she was young and she hasn’t seen her biological father since she was seven years old. The breakdown of the family unit, she explains, led her to feel as though there was a deficit in her life.
As a result, she began to use food, substances and sex to fill the void to help her feel better about herself.
Vicky explains that she’s had obsessive behaviours towards food – often bingeing on a whole box of crisps at once – since a young age.
At the age of 11 she moved to Canada for six months to live with relatives where she started smoking cannabis. By 16 she was aware her drinking habits weren’t ‘normal’. Vicky felt she had no cut off point and regularly had memory loss. She also started taking what she considered to be recreational drugs: cannabis, acid and mushrooms.
When she was 17, she was introduced to amphetamine. Looking back, Vicky says she considers that her recreational drug use was about helping her to feel better about herself.
Vicky, pictured at 25, which was the height of her drug addiction. 3
Vicky studied for a Diploma in Counselling at the University of the West of England and a Masters at Bristol University; she has been qualified as a counsellor for 18 years
After college, Vicky flitted between working for her mother’s business and restaurants jobs in Hale, during which time the Cheshire-set friendships and free-flowing champagne encouraged her drinking and drug taking habits.
She admits that she was living for the moment, seeking fun and excitement but her lifestyle choices were slowly ruining the opportunities she had been given. When she was 20, Vicky returned to Canada and dated a cocaine dealer – a time that she describes as her ‘Nirvana’ with cocaine on tap.
When her visa expired, she moved back to the UK and began dating someone who had a similar background of drug misuse. She started using heroin and crack for two years and whilst she was able to hold down a job, she admits she started to function less and less.
She started to steal to pay for drugs, received a drink driving conviction at aged 22 and received multiple cautions for drug possession and related incidents. Vicky believes she was merely given a slap on the wrist due to her background.
Aged 23, Vicky felt very isolated and ended up living back at home at which point her parents became aware there was a problem. They called a psychiatrist for help and Vicky was admitted to rehab for eight weeks in 1988, she returned on two more occasions.
Following Vicky’s third admittance to rehab, the alcohol and drug induced death of a close friend and former boyfriend on her 25th birthday hit Vicky very hard. She reached her lowest point and attempted suicide more than once. However, she began to turn her life around.
She had to sign a contract to agree to secondary care treatment at a female-only facility where she was taught to take personal responsibility for her own happiness.
Vicky, who now lives with the father of her two youngest children that she met in recovery 18 years ago, studied for a Diploma in Counselling at the University of the West of England and a Masters at Bristol University; she has been qualified as a counsellor for 18 years.
She met her partner and father of her two youngest children in recovery 18 years ago. Vicky is dedicated to helping others affected by addiction, and has a particular passion for helping and working with families and the ‘forgotten others’. Helping others through her own business, Victoria Abadi Therapies, has helped Vicky’s own recovery.
She said: ‘I had always thought I was fascinated by substances and drugs, but over the years I’ve come to realise that what really interests me is addiction itself. I knew from as young as 21 that I wanted to be an addiction therapist. A lot has changed since my days in detox and rehab, we know so much more about addiction but there’s still more to learn.
‘My main advice to anyone affected by addiction, whether it’s yourself or someone you care about, is to talk. It might seem obvious but it’s not always easy to reach that stage.
‘Once you reach the point of realisation that addiction is a medical issue not simply a moral choice the path to recovery will come easier. Likewise, for families shedding the shame and stigma by talking about your experience will open up the possibility of helping your loved one through it.
‘There are some great impartial services, such as Port of Call, who can help with pointing you in the right direction and getting you or a loved the help they need. ‘The best thing that comes out recovery is the ability to have close meaningful relationships.’
For help and advice on addiction recovery visit Port of Call, Victoria Abadi Therapies or call 0800 0029010.