"I was at the point I was ready for help, I wanted recovery."

“I grew up in a scheme in the East End. It was quite poverty stricken. I noticed when my mum and dad split up, that’s when I started rebelling. I had to grow up quicker than my years. We started with taking prescription drugs. When I was 15, I decided I was moving out of my mum’s. I’d already tried heroin by then.

I don’t remember a lot of those years. I got myself into a lot of tricky situations. I moved back in with my mum. Six months later I met my partner and he was a heroin addict and we started taking it now and again. Quickly I was using it every day then injecting it.

I kept all the outside looking good, my appearance was good. I was always scared to ask for help. My partner introduced me to crack cocaine. That’s when things went dark. I was using crack every single day for two years. It was horrible, it wasn’t an existence, I was sleeping all day and up all night using. I’d been using drugs for 25 years.

It got to the point where I’d had enough. I met somebody from one of the recovery cafes and he said “go down to our women’s group and meet my partner, she’s had the same experiences as you.” I was at the point I was ready for help, I wanted recovery. I think I was ready for it. I went down to the women’s group and I walked in and I couldn’t look at anybody. I didn’t know how to communicate with people anymore. Everyone was dead welcoming. I loved it.

I started to volunteer. I jumped in head-first. The volunteering and getting friends, meeting people and hearing their stories, it gives you hope, your confidence starts building. My kids started smiling and they were like ‘I’m so proud of you mum’. I done a song writing course and I wrote a song to my son, telling him not to follow my footsteps.

My long-term goal is hopefully employment. But I’m still finding out who I am, I still don’t know some of the stuff that I like. I thought really bad about myself for all they years and I’ve just started feeling good about myself and proud of myself. My life’s turned 360, everything’s falling into place.”

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