Martin was only 14 when he smoked his fist joint. He attended a respectable Jewish school in North London, came from a respectable traditional and loving Jewish family and mixed with Jewish kids also from respectable homes. Yet Martin and his friends took drugs every day.
"One of the girls in the group was actually growing it in her garden. It was a laugh and we had enough to smoke every day".
By the time he reached 16 he was regularly attending drug fuelled, boozy parties. "I had a great time" he said. Life was one big party and I was on a high every day."
At 22 Martin married a lovely Jewish girl, reared two children into adulthood and managed to build a successful business. "During this time I was also obsessed with the gym. I was addicted to adrenaline as well".
By the time he was 40 Martin's life style was taking its toll on his mental state. "I must have crossed some invisible line. I became psychotic. I became insane. For most people who enter into psychosis, there is no return. I was lucky, I came back".
After 20 odd years of marriage, Martin's long suffering wife left him. Actually it was Martin who left the marital home, staying in bed and breakfasts and whereever he could find a bed for the night.
"My family felt powerless, they felt guilty as if somehow my demise was their fault. Even my kids. My parents were asking me 'where did we go wrong'. I have tried hard to make them all understand that they did nothing wrong. It was nothing to do with them or anything they did, it was all to do with me, with what was inside me."
He was at the lowest ebb of his life, the next step was suicide or to get help.
Martin chose to recover.
Two years later, Martin is clean, still attends meetings and spends his time helping others find their way back from addiction.
"You would be surprised how prevalent drug addiction is in the Jewish community and the community at large. I speak to so many people who would otherwise go by the wayside. I guide them to where they can get help. But recovery is a a difficult and lifelong process and so their spirit needs to be strong to cope with that.
"There are associations out there that do brilliant work. Help is there. My advice to anyone suffering from any sort of addiction is to reach out and take it."
Martin is available to anyone who would like to chat about drug addiction. Email me on Livingstonsworld@gmail.com and Martin will contact you directly,
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