Recovery Rises ISSUE 3 - Page 10

10

As a young man from a loving, middle class family living in a small

English village, Ben Rogers appeared to have it all….but then he

found drugs. As hislife descended into chaos and despair, Ben began

to chronicle his daily struggles with the aid of a video camera.

He was hopeful that one day his experiences could be used to

educate others. Ben lost his battle against addiction and died when

he was 34 as a result of medical withdrawal. His family decided to

release the tapes in the hope that other families could benefit.

The result was the highly acclaimed, award winning SKY documentary

, ‘Ben, Diary of a Heroin Addict’ which was shown on national television

27 times and ultimately across the world. Ben’s mother, Anne, received hundreds of letters and messages, not only from addicts but also from families saying that the documentary had helped them realise that they weren’t alone. The film took Ben’s mum to the Home Office, with interviews on national television, radio and the press. She has spoken with many young offenders desperate to educate other youngsters about addiction and to honour her son’s wishes. The book includes writings and drawings by Ben which give a unique insight into the chaos surrounding drug addiction. His brother and sisters contribute too to the story of a family living on the edge.

‘Ben, Diary of a Heroin Addict – A Mother’s Fight’ is both an attack against the government’s tolerance of addiction and a powerful and moving depiction of one family’s love.

Mark Johnson's father had 'LOVE' tattooed across his left hand, but

that didn't stop the beatings. The Johnson children would turn up to

school with brokenfingers and chipped teeth, but no one ever

thought of investigating their home life. Mark just slipped through

the cracks, and kept on falling for years.

Constantly in trouble at school, Mark began stealing at the age of

seven, was drinking by the age of eight, and took his first hit of heroin

aged eleven. A sensitive, intelligent boy, he could never stay on the

right path, and though Art College beckoned, he ended up in Portland

prison instead.

With searing honesty, WASTED documents Mark's descent into the

depths of addiction and criminality. Homeless, hooked on heroin and crack, no one - least

of all Mark - believed he would survive. And yet - astonishingly - he somehow

pulled himself through, and now runs his own thriving tree surgery business,

employing and helping other recovering addicts.

His story is at once shocking and inspiring - a compelling account of his struggle to save himself, and help

save others in the process.