Ever wondered what causes addiction? What makes an addict an addict? And is there a way out? One misconception about addiction is that it only affects people from dysfunctional families or those who have a history of abuse. Born and raised in Burnley Anthony comes from a loving, caring, family, and holds many happy childhood memories. However, from a young age Anthony realised that he had a strong will to push boundaries and spent many years trying to fit in with ‘the crowd’.
At the age of twelve Anthony experienced his first taste of substance misuse which led him into alcoholism and eventually to serve his first prison sentence as a teenager. Throughout his twenties and thirties Anthony’s life was a continual vicious circle of addiction, prison, sobriety, and relapse. Eventually his chaotic lifestyle spun out of control, “I was smoking crack cocaine and heroin, I didn’t have a home or a job and consequently destroyed family relationships.”
“I saw a trickle of hope in Anthony and I knew he had the potential to change. If we could look at people and see what they could be instead of what they are, society would be a better place.” (Pastor Mick)
“I thought I was going to die from the disease of addiction and had accepted that it was my destiny to die an addict.” That was until Anthony met Pastor Mick whilst collecting a food parcel. Over the weeks of getting to know each other Pastor Mick gently reminded him that there was help. “I saw a trickle of hope in Anthony and I knew he had the potential to change. If we could look at people and see what they could be instead of what they are, society would be a better place.” (Pastor Mick). Initially, Anthony felt like there was no hope, but one day he realised there was a way out. “I remember thinking that I have to do this for myself and my children.” Anthony went on to spend twelve months in a rehabilitation centre called Elisha house. It was there that Anthony found sobriety. At times his road to recovery was painful and uncomfortable, “I called my Mum one day and asked her to explain to me what I had put her through. It was heartbreaking to hear as I realised that during my addiction my whole family suffered.”
After turning his back on God during his years of active addiction, Anthony began to find comfort through prayer. “I prayed for the first time in years and had an overwhelming feeling of warmth, love, and peace. I knew then that I was going to be ok.” From finding a faith in God Anthony found a whole new meaning to giving back and through living by the word of God he knew he wanted to use his experiences to help others.
With his caring nature and thorough understanding of addiction and recovery Anthony made the perfect person to welcome people to COTS as a volunteer. He has now joined the team as a full time member of staff. He isn’t hesitant to talk about the mistakes he has made and isn’t afraid of the work he still has to do. His self-awareness, a trait which sharpened during rehabilitation, is perhaps one of the reasons behind the success of his recovery. His honesty, humour, and kind heart are just some of Anthony’s characteristics we’re so thankful for here at COTS! We are blessed to be part of his journey, a journey of endless possibilities and growth and we can not wait to see what Anthony achieves next.
“If anyone takes anything from my story just know if I can do it so can you! Your worst day in recovery will be better than your best day in addiction. There is hope. Don’t give up!” – Anthony Horrocks, 18 months into his journey of sobriety