When I was diagnosed with HIV I was in a pretty bad place in my life. I’d developed a recreational drug problem which had slowly but surely taken its hold on me in the months before my diagnosis. I needed a change.
Isn’t it amazing how it can seem like you’ve hit rock bottom one minute, you don’t think there’s any way forward, but then things take a turn for the better, and your life suddenly seems like its back on track? Well that’s what’s happened with me, and I’m thankful to some amazing friends for being there for me and helping me through.
When I was diagnosed with HIV I was in a pretty bad place in my life. I’d developed a recreational drug problem which had slowly but surely taken its hold on me in the months before my diagnosis. My job had come to a natural end and I had plenty of time to kill. I started hanging out with people on a ‘party’ basis more and more, I was partying not caring what day of the week it was. It’s safe to say that my lack-lustre view on risk and my ‘invulnerable’ view on life have lead to my diagnosis, but I am not one to dwell on the past. I need to learn from my mistakes and move forward.
When I was diagnosed, I was using recreational drugs three to four times a week, as and when I could get hold of them. This had been going on for months. Upon receiving my diagnosis, I knew something had to change. It was like the giant kick in the butt I needed to be able to sort my life out. I mean, yes, I probably should have woken up and smelt the coffee much sooner, but for me, it was the diagnosis that made me listen.
As soon as I was diagnosed, I fell incredibly ill (see my last column) so chemicals were the last thing on my mind. I could barely lift myself out of bed for 10 days, and then following this I was admitted to hospital for over a week which made me think about how I wanted to live the rest of my life.
I tried to move back home and live with my sister, and whilst I appreciate the level of help my sister was willing to give me, she tried to confine me with curfews, rules and stipulations which were not going to work on a thirty year old man after having many years of adult freedom.
Following the rules imposed on me, I had a relapse and ran back to Bournemouth and did more bad things, even though I knew that my body was not in a fit state to handle what I was putting it through. I don’t know why, but that was when I realised I needed change. That change that was offered with open arms by my best friend Steve. He lives in Romford, Essex and is my old housemate from when I lived in Bournemouth. Steve really has been a rock to me these past few weeks, checking up on me virtually via facebook when I was in Bournemouth, and taking good care of me since arriving here in Romford.
Within 2 weeks of arriving, I have a home sorted (thanks to Steve’s family offering me to live with a family friend), a decent full time job and I’ve just started dating a very special individual (who shall remain nameless) that is very close to my heart and someone I feel that I am meant to be with.
So from shooting up on my own to get through the day a month ago, I’ve gone to having a full time job, a boyfriend and a happy life here in Romford. I cannot wait to see what the future holds. We have Christmas coming up in a few months and my 31st Birthday on New Years Eve, both of which I cannot wait to spend with my friends and my man. I cannot wait to see what the future holds.
Until next time,
Chris (@Chris_Hatherley on twitter)