A few years ago I had a great job working for a small business owner. I was also playing rugby, hitting the nightclubs and generally having a blast being young and single. Playing rugby on the weekends was definitely a highlight of my week and I was playing so well and improving so much that there was even talk that I may make the next representative squad and hopefully move on to bigger and better things. It was late one evening after training that one of my team-mates started chatting to me as we walked home. He said that if I was going to move up to the next level in my sport I would need what he called "that extra advantage" over the other contenders for my position. I was so keen to do well that I agreed to meet him the next afternoon at a local pub to talk about it. The next day I turned up to the pub to find him talking to another guy who was introduced to me as the man who could help me get to the top. He said that he had some remedies that would boost my performance and bulk me up to better perform at the higher level. What I didn't know at the time was that he was referring to steroids and I had already agreed to meet him at his house to get my first batch of "remedies". At first I shied away from injecting myself but after the first couple of weeks I noticed that I was getting bigger and putting on more muscle mass — I was ecstatic! This was exactly what I needed and things were moving smoothly. After a while the steroids went up in price and I started to struggle for money. That's when things started going downhill. I started dipping into the cash tray at work — just a little bit at first but before too long I was taking home over a hundred dollars a week to afford the drugs. What I didn't know was that my boss had installed a secret camera to see what was happening to the cash each day. One afternoon he pulled me aside and told me that he thought it was best I didn't work there any longer and that if I left straight away he wouldn't call the police. This made me furious and I started smashing things in the shop until a co-worker calmed me down and persuaded me to leave. Now I had no job and a growing addiction to something I thought was doing me a favour when in fact it was beginning to ruin my life. The turning point came when the new squad I was trying out for requested that I turn up for a drug test as part of their "clean game" policy. Although I was assured that the steroids couldn't be traced, I was still very nervous as I waited for the results. It was with much trepidation that I fronted up to the training grounds that afternoon and was told that I had not made the squad and that the director wanted to talk to me. This was turning into a nightmare! The director of the squad informed me that they had found an irregularity in my test and that was the reason I was not included in the team. To my absolute amazement he said that he would make sure that the results of my test would not become public knowledge if I immediately stopped using the steroids and agreed to have regular tests to check my progress. I felt so relieved that I nearly cried — not a good look for a big rugby player! Having lost my dream to play representative rugby but still being able to play the game I loved so much, I felt blessed. To this day I have never touched the drugs again and I have even started to pay back my old boss. I never made the rep team but managed to make a reserves squad and this was all I ever needed. I had really dodged a couple of bullets — not to mention the health risks!