Oscar’s Story

I grew up believing that I was an ‘accident’. Mum already had two kids who had left home before I arrived. Mum treated me like I was the best thing that had ever happened to her. I should have felt lucky being so loved but I just felt trapped and overwhelmed and the more caring she was the more I fought against her. I was angry that I had a granny for a mum and didn’t have a dad. I started using drugs when I was about 14. It wasn’t because I wanted to take drugs it was because I wanted to ‘fit in’.

It was when mum was in the hospice that I finally found out about my dad. He had died of a drug overdose when mum was in labour with me.

I guess I’m lucky that I had the time to make it up to mum and be the son she deserved before she died. I owe Blenheim for that.

I’m now a mentor at one of Blenheim’s young people projects. I meet lots of young people who also just want to ‘fit in’ to something or someone, like I did. I believe that I’m helping them to ‘fit in’ to something good.

Oscar's story

Amanda’s Story

I have always loved my job and the people I work with are like family to me. When I used to hear customers say that they wanted a better work/life balance I didn’t understand what they meant because my work was my life and I didn’t have a life without it. I have worked at The Golden Lion pub for 15 years now, ever since my daughter went to live with her father and his new family up north. At the end of a shift I would go to the other side of the bar for my social life. I didn’t want to go home as there was nothing there. Home had become a place to just sleep.

I hadn’t noticed that I was drinking more, but my boss, the landlord had. I had no choice but to take up his advice and get some professional help, after all, as I said, my work was my life.

Not only have Blenheim helped me to control my drinking and improve my health, Blenheim have also given me the confidence to add new interests and people into my life.

I still love my job and they are still like family to me but I don’t go to the other side of the bar at the end of my shift, I go to college or I go and meet new friends for coffee or I go home and I enjoy being home now.

Amanda's story

Pat’s Story

I was born into a large Irish family and an even bigger drinking culture. I don’t have many happy memories from my childhood because the violence and alcohol made it feel unsafe and chaotic and even though the house was always full, I felt lonely, like I didn’t belong.

I left home as soon as I could. They didn’t know it but I knew that I would never go back. I didn’t have any dreams or ambitions, just a determination to live life differently and then I lost that too.

When I found Blenheim’s CASA project last year I was a mess. I was the drunken dad to 3 kids who were afraid to be around me. I was the angry husband of a woman who despised me. I had acute liver damage and I was scared.

I’ve talked and listened more in these past few months than I did in my entire life and I’m good at it. I’ve just got my Level 3 in Communication to prove it and I’m now starting a course in Counselling. I volunteer as a service user rep and even go to the gym. I have been sober for 5 months and my kids are getting to know a new dad. I now accept that my dad wasn’t a bad man, sadly it’s too late to tell him but luckily it hasn’t been too late for me.

Pat's story

Syd’s Story

I was 18 when I started using drugs. Mum went into rehab and I picked up from where she left off. That’s what it seemed like anyway. I know I was scared of what would happen to mum and scared of being like her too but the drugs took that fear away.

I met Kelly when I went to visit mum. Mum had relapsed and was back in prison and Kelly was visiting her older sister. Our baby girl, Sharna was born a year later and it was then that I made up my mind to get clean. It just wasn’t that easy. I had nightmares about losing Kelly and Sharna, nightmares about ending up in prison like mum but I suppose I just wasn’t strong enough to stop. When I was arrested for intent to supply I knew I was close to living those nightmares for real.

Blenheim was my lucky break. I have now been abstinent for 84 days, from the day that Charlie, my son was born. I’ve got my first ever job interview next week. You don’t have to wish me luck, I’ve always had that and Blenheim has given me the confidence to live a better life so I have that now too.

Syd's story