Man who was born addicted to heroin turns his life around in Sheffield

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A man who was born addicted to heroin is turning his life around in Sheffield.

To mark Recovery Month in Sheffield, Josh Gordon explained how the city’s recovery services helped him change for the better.

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The 36-year-old was born in London with two drug addicts as parents, and spent his childhood in and out of foster care.

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When Josh Gordon was born he was addicted to heroin. He has turned his life round in Sheffield and has shared his story of recoveryWhen Josh Gordon was born he was addicted to heroin. He has turned his life round in Sheffield and has shared his story of recovery
When Josh Gordon was born he was addicted to heroin. He has turned his life round in Sheffield and has shared his story of recovery

At 12 years old, he went back to living with his mum and dad, smoking crack and heroin with them daily, before his dad died in prison.

The next decade of his life consisted of an unbreakable cycle of homelessness, jail, rehab, and relapsing, with Josh becoming increasingly embroiled in crime.

Josh said: “I went down the wrong path completely with drugs, violence, and jail. I’m now a discretionary lifer, out on license with an Imprisonment for Public Protection sentence, meaning I can be recalled to prison anytime.

“At around the age of twenty-six, I had a serious drug habit in prison with Spice, but I also used heroin and it dawned on me that I was throwing my life away.

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“I think prison saved me in a lot of ways. It certainly stopped me from ending up on the streets again.”

At 30, Josh decided to move to Sheffield and try and rebuild his life.

He said: “I quickly realised the more addicted you get to drugs, the less anyone wants to be involved with you.”

He was again imprisoned during the Covid-19 lockdown after another relapse, which is when he finally realised it was time to make a change.

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After leaving prison, Josh got himself a place at The Greens, supported accommodation in Sheffield for people with addiction issues, knowing he was finally ready to become clean.

He said: "You can have as many services as you want, but if you’re not ready and you don’t want that goal, it’s not going to work.

“I really wanted to change and I was scared of relapsing because I knew it was going to kill me or I was going to kill someone.”

Now, 15 months after moving into accomodation, he is finally drug-free and describes his life as a ‘miracle’.

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Despite his hardships, Josh has been able to rebuild his new life in Sheffield, helping other addicts recover, and volunteering in his free time.

Josh’s story is one of many that will be shared with other addicts in September for Sheffield’s ‘Recovery Month’.

Tracey Ford, a member of the Sheffield Recovery Forum, said: “National Recovery Month aims to raise awareness that Recovery from Addiction is possible. More importantly, it shows that there is support available. It’s a chance to shine the spotlight on Sheffield’s Recovery Forum and Recovery Community.”

During the month, support groups and activities will take place in Sheffield, whether that is face to face or online.

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On September 1, START, part of Sheffield Health and Social Care NHS trust, are organising a recovery walk from the city centre to Hillsborough Park where a large marquee will host stalls from many of the recovery organisations in Sheffield.

On September 30, a celebration event is being organised by Kickback Recovery and the Salvation Army on behalf of Sheffield Recovery Forum, where personal testimonies and the launch of a specially commissioned recovery film featuring local people will be premiered.

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