Growing up, I was the second youngest of five children. My mum had mental health issues and had five children close together. She couldn’t cater for all her children and I acted out from a young age. I was first arrested when I was 11, which was also when I started drinking and it was problematic back then. I started using heroin and crack cocaine at 13 and I was shoplifting to pay for my habit. I first reached out for help when I was 15 and got put on methadone.

I was 16 when I first went to prison and from then on I was in a vicious cycle: using – shoplifting – prison. This cycle went on for 20 years. I went to prison 21 times, which were all theft related. Prison became familiar. My first night in prison I cried the whole night but I realised I knew half the wing. You can get drugs in there and I’d use it if I could. They’ve since introduced methadone but I don’t think it’s the solution.

I had a child when I was 22 whilst I was using and he was removed from me because I couldn’t meet his needs. I felt like I had nothing to live for and at that point I had nothing else to lose. I started sharing dirty needles and by 35 I had contracted Hepatitis C. I then contracted sepsis which affected my heart, and I had a faulty valve which needed operating on. I was told I’d die in 12 months if I kept using. I wanted to stop but had no tools to stop because I didn’t know any different. I left hospital and picked up that day and I continued using for 6 months. I was so desperate and willing to do anything for money, put it that way. I didn’t know anyone who had got clean in my area so thought it wasn’t possible.

I was then chosen by local PC Stuart Toogood to be sponsored to get help and get on a pilot programme, Offender to Rehab. I thought I had nothing to lose. I was so excited to go into recovery and was packed and ready weeks before! I was assessed and I knew a girl on the programme who had got clean and it gave me hope. I put the drugs down and realised if I pick them up again, that would be my choice. After wanting freedom for so long, I finally got it. It was like I walked in and surrendered and handed myself over.

Coming to Lindale was the next step to living a normal life. I already knew a lot of staff from being at meetings and felt at ease. I trusted my support worker who gave me good advice. I also had bereavement there and I felt really held here. I was even planning to have a drink but they got me into a group session and I didn’t put it into action.

You wouldn’t have recognized me when I arrived here but I now volunteer with the police. Next week I’m going to interview police officers to work on the Offender to Rehab programme. I’ve also done public speaking in London in front of 200 people and I visit people in prisons. It’s so surreal because the same officers were there from when I was in prison. They tell me how proud they are of me. Not many people stuck in the prison system get out.

I continue to suffer with mental health and have been on anti-depressants. I stopped taking them when I was 2 years clean but my mental health suffered. In January I wanted to end my life; I felt like I didn’t want to be here and feel like this anymore. But I made the decision to go back on anti-depressants. I thought I’d be judged and seen as taking a step back. I’m so glad I am back on them as I feel more balanced.

I find it hard to share that I struggle with mental health. I’ve become an inspiration story and it’s hard to show that I still struggle. I need to get on with my life now and take time for myself. I have started private therapy which I do weekly. Two months in I’m working on my child trauma, guilt and shame. I’m learning so much about myself and I am healing. It does feel exposing and I feel stripped down.

My own self worth isn’t where I want it to be. I went through a lot of bad relationships when I was using and was willing to accept anything. But it’s not like that now. I’m in a new relationship now and have maintained it for two years, which is something I never thought I would do. He is in recovery too. My mum passed away when I was using but really close to my dad. Have three sisters who I see every week. They showed me they loved me even when I was using but they had to protect themselves. They were there when I needed them. I always had motives, I wanted money.

I haven’t seen my son since he was 2 and a half but I’ve kept a memory box for him and filled it every birthday and Christmas. He is adopted and 16 now and when he is 18 I will be able to write to him. I look at pictures of him as a beautiful baby and think how I couldn’t even stop using when I had this beautiful boy. But it shows the power of addiction.

I started my recovery on 13th August 2018 and I haven’t used since. I trusted the process. I have a new life now and I can’t even put it into words. I haven’t got everything I’d like. I don’t drive and I don’t have my own flat, but I have the things that matter – friends, family and eternal peace.

How we have helped

  • One to One support session
  • Support with accessing benefits
  • Support with obtaining employment
  • Support with health assessments
  • Management of prescribed medication

"I now have the things that matter – friends, family and eternal peace"


Our Success Stories

Lindale Recovery have helped lots of people getting back on track.

Click on the links below to find out about some of our success stories and how the support we offer, combined with residential housing and paid work.

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