Grant was a successful London city trader with a six-figure income until he fell into drug addiction. At rock bottom, he was begging for small change to buy a can of cider or cheap over-the-counter pills.
It took family intervention, a failed stint in rehab, a divorce, unemployment, a stomach ulcer, and a near-death hospitalization for Grant to finally see the light at the end of the tunnel. An intensive 12-week program then sealed his commitment to living a clean life, and today, he is four years sober and working as an admissions coordinator at an addiction treatment center.
“My childhood was fairly normal, but I started experimenting with drugs at school, aged 15, as a way to fit in,” Grant explained, sharing his story with Metro. He wasn’t academic and thus left school without qualifications and took up a job selling children’s clothes at Petticoat Lane Market in the East End of London.
He thrived; yet, seeing his peers saunter by in sharp suits paid for by their city trading salaries, Grant began to dream big and thus sent out his resume to a hundred places. He then landed a job as a runner in Cannon Street on the trading floor and fell in love with that fast-paced environment.
By 1998, he was working as a broker for a large company, where entertaining clients entailed alcohol and hard drugs flowing like water. Before long, Grant, who had a wife and two children, was spending most of his salary on cocaine.
“My wife was aware of my cocaine problem, but I managed to hide the full extent of it,” he said. Although Grant loved being a dad, nothing stopped his binges; the father of two would often go missing for days at a time.
As time passed, Grant’s behavior grew reckless, and in 2008, his career fell to pieces after he failed a drug test and no one would employ him anymore. “Although I would bring in huge revenue to any new ‘desk’ hiring me, the risk of employing me was fast outweighing the potential returns,” he told Metro.
Grant’s solution was to run away from his problems by moving his family to Spain, but the addiction followed him there.
“I was spending more than I was making—some months I wasn’t able to pay the rent or my kids’ school fees. I was sleeping all day and staying up all night,” Grant said.
Two and a half years on, Grant’s drug use sent the family of four back to England where his near and dear one posed an ultimatum: rehab.
A shocking new facet of Grant’s addiction was that cocaine use had completely destroyed his septum, and his health really began to deteriorate. However, even with this impediment, he was so addicted to taking drugs that he didn’t think too much of it.
He was sent to a rehab facility in Arizona. Albeit “shocking and selfish,” Grant knew he didn’t take it seriously. “I knew I wasn’t ready to stop taking drugs,” he explained. “I didn’t go for me, I went for everyone else.”
Grant’s wife, at the end of her tether, filed for divorce. Unable to find work, Grant moved in with his father. He resumed drinking and began abusing prescription opiates, unable to see a way out of what had become of his life.
He developed a stomach ulcer and was hospitalized when it burst, spending three weeks in intensive care. Doctors, unaware of his addiction, delivered opiates via an intravenous drip after having wrongly diagnosed him with Crohn’s disease, as his bowel and stomach were so corroded.
Somehow, a further six years of continued drug use went by before chronic abuse of painkillers reopened the ulcer wound. This time around, Grant’s condition was plain for hospital medics to see; he was jaundiced, anemic, and weighed less than 98 pounds (44 kg).
“I was broken, both physically and emotionally. I quite literally had nothing,” Grant recalled. “13 months later, in June 2017, I entered a different treatment facility … My denial had been broken and I knew this was my only chance to live.”
Grant stayed in rehab treatment for 12 weeks. Four years on, his life has transformed and his promise to himself to stay clean and has stood the test of time. However, he has been left with terrible breathing problems and a speech impediment due to his cocaine use, which makes him self-conscious.
Grant is now working as the first point of contact at a London-based addiction treatment facility, Step by Step Recovery. Most who call the helpline have lost hope, he explained, but he can use his personal experience to help them.
Grant has also rebuilt his bond with his kids and is set to be married again in 2022. Pre-lockdown, he even made plans to rebuild his damaged septum.
“Today I do not live in the same level of fear, shame, and chaos that comes with addiction,” Grant reflected. “I now go to bed at night and look forward to tomorrow.”
The father and future husband firmly believes that anyone can change their lives, no matter how desperate they feel. “I wouldn’t swap what I’ve got now for anything,” he said.