My Dad died when I was 11. My grandfather raped me when I was 12. I drank on the streets when I was 13. At 14 I became a heroin addict and lived with my boyfriend who lent me to his friends.
You could say I did not stand much of a chance.
At 16 social services took me into care after the police raided our flat. Darren went to prison and I went to a home. I was detoxed at A&E and then sent to a psych ward as I tried to burn my room.
Being a drug addict prostitute at 16 is not what anyone wants for themselves, there is very little help for kids in London with severe mental health problems.
At 18 I was asked to leave and was given a flat in North End road. I did not know how to clothe or feed myself so I stole. This led to an endless cycle of drinking, using, stealing being arrested, prison and then back to the flat. I graduated to crack and meth.
It was a rollercoaster that was not fun. I was mugged and beaten, stabbed and run over. The life of a junkie is not a holiday. I didn’t go back to the crack house for more partying when I had been stabbed there before.
I tried living on benefits and just spending that money on drugs. It lasted a bit but it was hard as I would come down and be out of money, hyper-aggressive. I was also down to 7 stone.
What happened I now know was a God moment.
I was begging on the streets near a church. A woman came out of the church and asked if I wanted to join them. No one normal had spoken to me for so long I thought they must be with the council.
They just wanted to give me some soup!
After a few weeks, they started chatting to me more. I told them they could take their religion and ***** get lost.
They didn’t seem to mind my swearing and the fact I stank.
One day one of them mentioned a meeting in the cellar on Wednesday. A woman in the church called Maria said she would take me. It was an NA meeting and it saved my life. It took three months to stop using. The group were always there for me from one relapse to another. I manage to get a two-week detox and treatment at a local hospital that saved my life.
I no longer beg on the streets. I now have a son and a safe place to live. I work my programme and help other women stay clean and sober.