Former addict Nathan turns life around
A REFORMED crack and cocaine addict has turned his life around at a Stonehouse recovery centre and is now volunteering.
Nathan Hill, a former radio DJ in Cardiff, has stayed clean for a year after detoxing at Closereach in Plympton and settling at Reestart Recovery to ensure he did not start using drugs again.
The 30-year-old is now teaching kick-boxing as well as DJ-ing on a voluntary basis.
"The only way to smile these days is to help other addicts," said Nathan.
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He is volunteering by teaching kick boxing at Hamoaze House, working with clients using Alcoholics Anonymous, and sports training with those living at Reestart.
"Everyone supports each other," he said. "They have so much determination. We all have a laugh and I help build up their confidence."
He started with a class of three but now has 13 people coming regularly.
"I have been getting really positive feedback which feels amazing."
Nathan started dabbling with cannabis at the age of 18 and progressed to harder drugs. By the time he was in his late twenties he was hooked on crack.
He said someone taught him how to prepare the drug after cocaine stopped giving him a desired effect.
He ended up with a £2,000-a-week habit, ripping off drug dealers and users to make up the cash, he said.
Eventually one day he woke up in hospital in Cardiff after his body shut down on him.
"It was a horrible place to be," he said.
"My mother sat by me in the hospital for a week and asked me what was wrong.
"I said it was the drugs and it broke her heart.
"I promised I would stop but I knew even then that it was a lie."
He said by the time he was nearing the end of his stint in hospital, he was getting drugs delivered to his bed from outside.
Driving away his family and all the decent friends he had he eventually ended up in hospital again after taking an overdose because he didn't care if he "lived or died".
Waking up in the poisons unit really hit home to Nathan that he needed to stop.
After he was discharged he spent the next three weeks visiting a drugs referral unit daily until they had a cancellation at a rehabilitation facility.
Eventually he ended up in Plympton and his family urged him to stay in the city and make a new life for himself.
"Closereach worked magic with me and the rehab support I have had at Reestart has been amazing – the place works wonders," said Nathan.
He said he wasn't proud of his past and wanted to create a new life "helping others".
Those living at Reestart take turns with chores and cooking and attend regular addiction meetings.
The centre was started up by Lee Rees, a reformed heroin addict who also wanted to "give something back" after all he'd put society through. Lee said the centre relied on donations and the financial housing benefits legitimately allowed to those who lived there.