Patient story – Charley Farrell

north west icon North West Coast

I have a borderline personality disorder and problems with drugs, alcohol and gambling, so all addictions really.

I have had no drugs for 4 weeks and it has been hard work but I am proud of myself.

My problems started in my late teens, it is the usual story.  I started drinking with mates when I was about 16 and then got into trouble.  I was sent to a young offenders institute which only made things worse.  I started smoking and taking drugs as I mixed with others who had been in trouble, we all thought it was clever then. I don’t now.

I think I went astray as I was brought up in foster care and children’s homes.  Things were very different then and I thought my family was a nice one but they weren’t. I often got the belt or hit with a pool cue when I was naughty but noticed from a young age that their own children never got hit. 

Things went from bad to worse, the more unhappy I was the more I got into trouble, ending up in prison.  When inside I learnt new ways of getting into trouble from others and my situation was such that no one helped me so I ended up in serious trouble and serving a long sentence for one offence.

Being in prison doesn’t help you with addictions, you find ways to drink alcohol if you need it.  We made hooch inside, probably very bad for you but I didn’t get the help I needed to stop drinking.

I have been out for 6 years now and am now getting some help.  I love coming to Genie in the Gutter, they help me with whatever problems I have and have made me see that there is a different way of doing things. 

I have been off the drugs for a short while and am hoping to keep this up.  I have reduced my drinking.  Genie are hard when they need to be and don’t stand for any trouble.  Being here helped me see where I went wrong and how I can do things differently.

Genie support me even when I make mistakes like the one I did before I started coming here and they are helping me and even come to appointments with me.

I still have a drink, but don’t drink to excess.  I have a designated police officer who comes to see me every 3 months.  I think he knows all about me and seems to know about my health problems too.  I can’t remember if I told him or whether he already has the information.

I have no problems in sharing my data, if it can help someone else and stop them living how I have lived that would be good.  I have no problem speaking to people and telling them my story, I would like to keep coming to Genie and get well so that I can tell my story to other people to stop them making the same mistakes I made.

My hope for the future is to be clean altogether; no more drugs, gambling or drinking and I would love to do voluntary work for Genie in the Gutter

If people could have my information and use it for research to see if there is any links with other people, I wouldn’t mind if they could see who I was or whether it would be anonymous.  I can see why some people would prefer it to be anonymous.  It would be great if they could find a cure for addiction in the future.

Coming to Genie in the Gutter has helped me,  Carolyn, one of the support workers encourages me and everyone helps.  If they can’t help with a problem then they can get someone who can!

The opinions expressed here are my own personal views and do not reflect the views of the Innovation Agency, Connected Health Cities or any other organisation.

Patient stories highlight support for health data sharing