I started with weed – then party drugs. My first proper boyfriend was a violent crack-dealer. When I was pregnant the drugs weren’t noticed, but the bruises were.
The relationship broke down and I turned to heroin. I had a baby, and felt so guilty. She was sent into care.
For years, day in day out, I used drugs. I had a serious problem.
Drug agencies helped, but I really needed support to deal with my childhood trauma and domestic violence. I stayed clean for three years but when I couldn’t get my daughter back I relapsed.
I got into selling drugs, shoplifting, and finally street work. I remember standing in Portland Square one night, crying. I was cold, hungry and rattling [withdrawing]. I wanted to end it all. Then I moved away from Bristol and got pregnant again. I thought the new baby would fix everything.
I was housed and on a script but I couldn’t cope. My second baby was put into care. At home, I couldn’t touch her clothes and toys. Contact with my children was too painful so I stopped – and my drug habit just spiralled. After a spell in prison, I was in a Bristol squat, with no food, shower or clean clothes.
A girl in the squat suggested One25’s drop-in.
I felt so lost and lonely, but at One25 no-one was judging me. People asked genuinely “Are you alright?”
It was there I found out I was pregnant again and I just howled on the doctor’s shoulder. I thought, “I’ve got two girls in care, I’m in a squat, I’m flat out on drugs.” But I felt the love from One25. One day I went in and just broke down. I felt like a child. I didn’t know where to begin. Jane became my caseworker and surrogate mum. My God, the ball started to roll!
One25 helped me get a methadone script and emergency housing. They got up early to attend court with me. Helped me process the child protection conferences. Encouraged me to take up crafts. Helped me contact my family. Yeah, it was amazing! One25’s belief in me made me feel human.
I went into labour early and my first visitors were caseworkers Jane and Sophie, bringing new clothes for the baby and me. Jane took pictures, and they shared my joy.
One25 supported me through rehab and now my child and I have our own home. I’m clean: I wake up and my baby’s smile reminds me what it’s all about. Today I can think – yeah, that happened – but every day I’m clean I’m doing something to rectify it.
Now I walk down the street with my head up.
I’m thinking about further education, even starting a small business, but for now I want to spend time with my baby, find out who I am and get into the rhythm of life.
I’m getting there.