The South Wales Argus writes:
“KERRY Tutton first tried crack cocaine at the age of 30 after her partner was killed in Bristol. Someone was charged with his murder, but they were cleared after trial.
After her partner’s death, Ms Tutton, from the Pill area of Newport, was drinking heavily as well as using the drug.
By the age of 32, she started to get back on her feet. But, she says, she spiralled off the rails again a short time after.
At 38, I started using heroin and crack. It spiralled out of control because I was suffering from depression,” she added.
When she was arrested by police, she told herself she had to stop though.
She started a methadone programme with drug charity Kaleidoscope in 2010, at the age of 46.
She has now been off methadone for six years.
“I never thought I would have a problem with crack cocaine and heroin,” she added.
“I was really against drugs as a couple of my friends had died from it.
“I never thought I would get an addiction but everything spiralled out of control. I came to Kaleidoscope because I knew I was addicted and I thought the only way I could do it (come off drugs) was if I asked for help.”
Now 53, Ms Tutton said before Kaleidoscope she woudl wake up every morning feeling ill, thinking about where she would get the money for heroin.
When she first went to the charity for support, she was referred to see a doctor and had appointments with one of the charity’s support workers.
She bought a Nintendo Wii and started doing boxercise during her time in the programme. She also bought herself a laptop and went on Facebook to connect with new people.
“I found friends I had not seen for a long time,” Ms Tutton added.
“I wanted to be healthy and I wanted to carry on with my fitness.”
She also started volunteering for Kaleidoscope – working on a farm, in a kitchen and on reception.
In October 2012, she started working at the Celtic Manor as a cleaner and after two years she was promoted to supervisor.
She was then asked if she would return to Kaleidoscope, to do the cleaning for the organisation.
As well as this, Ms Tuttton still volunteers for the charity and she does fitness classes there several times a week.
“Fitness is the best way to get away from addiction,” she said.
“I feel so much healthier and fitter now.”
Ms Tutton also credited engaging with support workers as key to recovery from addiction.
They can assist with guidance on benefits and direct you to different agencies for housing, she said.
The first time she went into the centre, she was ashamed – but now people look at her and say they can’t believe how far she has come.
“Now I can talk about it a lot easier, but when I was on the drugs I didn’t think I could get out of the circle. There is a hope though. At the end of the tunnel there is light.
“Everything can be done in life as long as you have a positive mind.
“I recommend anybody who is on drugs visit Kaleidoscope. I couldn’t have rid myself of drugs without them.”
She added: “Drugs gave me euphoria and a feeling that I liked myself. “You have to learn to love yourself without drugs – I love myself now and that is not selfish. It is something that everyone should do.
“The drugs wjust block everything. The real person you are is no longer there when you take drugs. You think you have all this confidence when on drugs – but you don’t.
“I am addicted to a healthy lifestyle now. I have completely changed my life around.
“I have worked really hard to get where I am now, and it hasn’t been easy.
“I don’t blame anyone for my drug taking, just myself.
She added: “GDAS has saved my life. I wonder where I would be if I hadn’t come off drugs – I wonder whether I would be dead.
“When you see so many people dying and overdosing, you see how lucky you are.
“There is nothing to say it couldn’t have been me.”
Ms Tutton said she would like to thank Rondine Molinaro, who works for Kaleidoscope, for her support and for believing in her.