Sandra’s Story

“Life at home was difficult when I was a child. By the time I was 13 I was really off the rails, I’d started taking drugs when I was 10 and loved it – they made me forget who I was.  I already had low self-esteem and my behaviour was erratic. Now I’ve realised I was looking for attention, looking for love.

I became homeless and started using heroin. I’d graduated from university but I still wasn’t completely happy. I’d been obsessing over trying to make people proud of me, trying to make friends love me.  But I remember thinking ‘happiness isn’t for me so I’ll stop trying’. I found out I was pregnant with my little boy, Billy, when I was in prison. When I got out I gave up every other drug but I just couldn’t give up the heroin. Thankfully the police took Billy off me, but I still had all his little things – it was like a ghost house and I was screaming in pain and guilt.

“When One25 found me I had given up on trying to do life”

I remember looking at people passing by, chatting and pushing prams, and thinking ‘I really want to be like that’, but I didn’t know how. I didn’t want to be noticed, I was so frightened of engaging with the world. When One25 found me I had given up on ‘trying to do life’. I’d been raped and beaten up, and I was spending endless dark nights out there with really rancid blokes, but to have that van there, just to punctuate my world with light, it was an absolute lifesaver.

At One25 there was never a hint of judgement or expectation; it was just love all the way. I was raped again and it was like torture. Quite simply after that it was: jump off Bristol suspension bridge or get into drug treatment; and I couldn’t live with the idea of my boy growing up with a mum who’d died by suicide.

“Now my life has changed beyond all recognition”

Everything’s been turned on its head, my outlook’s changed and I’m loving life. I’m spending time with my little boy and my friends, and I’m being paid to write plays. I’ve won a national playwright award; it feels like I was born to write! I would never have thought two and a half years ago that this could happen to me.”


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