Angie’s Story

When dad left us I had to step up. I left school and took his place, providing the financial and practical support at home for my mum and younger brother and sister. Mum was in bits so I was the emotional support too. I was the only one in the family that had a job so I worked extra nightshifts for double pay. I drank to unwind and then drank more to be able to sleep. At first I hid the alcohol in case mum drank it and later I hid it because I was ashamed about how much I needed it. I smuggled the empties out on my way to work.

Then, six months ago I had a bad panic attack on the bus on my way to work. Instead of a journey to work it became the start of a long, long journey to recovery, from hospital to Blenheim. Looking back I can see now that I became an adult in my teens and somehow I became really good at fooling those around me so that they trusted that I was in control and was able to cope and look after them. I am now in my 30’s and I am still living at home looking after them but I have changed, at least I am more honest to myself now. I know that I am resilient and I also now know that I need support too and I have it.

 

Angie's story

Megan’s Story

I have built up a name for myself that I am not very proud of but luckily for me Blenheim have given me a chance to change. Already I have managed to get arrested for possession, criminal damage, carrying an offensive weapon and theft. I have also managed to cause my family too much grief and stress. I understand the meaning of denial now; I used to justify my drug use as “ I smoke less skunk than my mates”. My last court order brought me to Blenheim Insight. I did an exercise where I had to write down the good and bad things about using cannabis. I wrote more good things.

It was when my key worker talked about the effects on my brain and possible mental health problems, I felt a massive jolt. My dad is ‘nuts’ and the thought of turning out like him was terrifying.

After that I went to all my appointments at Blenheim and even started to go early and look forward to my sessions. Everyone is pleased with my turnaround – I have even got a part-time job in a little restaurant. I like everything about my life right now…I even like me.

Megan's story

Carlo’s Story

Ciao. My name is Carlo and I am from near Napoli, Italia. I have been in London for nearly 30 years now. People still ask me why I am here when I could be in the sunshine, drinking good wine and eating beautiful fresh pasta with all of my family. I will tell you why. I was not the son, brother, grandson or nephew that my family wanted. I was injecting heroin, HIV positive and gay. It was not possible for me to get help in my own country because there were not many drug projects but also the fear of being found out by my friends or family was too strong. The only way was to leave.

It was through my doctor in Notting Hill that I first heard about Blenheim. There was a Blenheim worker who came to the clinic every week. It was him who encouraged me to go to the project for the needle exchange and before long I had regular counselling and reflexology too.  

It has taken some time but I got there and I am now completely drug free and with the support of Blenheim and my counsellor I am in regular contact with my sister on Facebook. She is getting married next year and this will be the first time that I will be back in my country AND as a healthy and happy man who is not ashamed anymore.

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Patrick’s Story

I was 19 when I started using crack. For the next 30 years I used crack pretty much everyday and smoked cannabis too.

To be honest I have been arrested so many times I’ve lost count how many, it’ll be over a hundred and all to do with my addiction.

I was first referred to Blenheim’s LATCH day programme a couple of years ago but I just couldn’t handle all the groups and key works. I guess, I just wasn’t ready.

I got referred again last year. It was the opportunity of getting accommodation that motivated me and I guess the staff knew that. The group work really challenged me but this time in a good way. I started to see that my denial about my addiction was because I had felt so ashamed and guilty. I completed the programme at LATCH with 100% attendance and am now in residential rehab.

You know what really did motivate me to get clean in the end? It was realising that I hadn’t spent a birthday or Christmas with anyone apart from my drugs for 20 years.

Patrick's story

Poppy’s Story

My name is Poppy and I am 15 years old. I started cutting myself when I was 12. I wish I wasn’t but I have always been quiet and shy. I was bullied most days at school and when my older sister left my school, I was bullied on the way home too.

I started drinking alcohol when dad left us. I had been his ‘little treasure’ and then I was no one’s anything. It was easy to get the alcohol, mum had cupboards full of it and after dad left she was out most nights. It helped me to get to sleep.

I was skipping school whenever I could. I either pretended to be sick and stay in bed or pretend to go to school and hang out in the park. My confidence was zero and I never thought I would find a way out. I don’t think that I wanted to die but I do think that I didn’t want to live.

It was about 6 months ago when someone from Blenheim’s Insight came to give a talk at school. They just seemed so understanding and some of the stories they told of the young people they helped just made me think they were talking about me. It was that that gave me the courage to take a leaflet and a week later I went to their after-school drop in.

I wouldn’t say that I am cured or exactly happy but I don’t feel completely alone anymore, I don’t cut myself and I am not drinking. I talk to mum and my sister now when I get really low and Blenheim sorted out a mentor who meets me from school and we go to cafés and the sports centre together. So things are better and I am better. I think that it’s just step-by-step, like my mentor says.

Poppys story