Fatou’s Story

My mum died the day I was born. Complications and loss of blood. So it was just me and my dad. I owed him, he used to say.

He has been dead for 8 years now and I am slowly starting to believe that he won’t be able to touch me again and that perhaps I will have a chance to love and be loved instead of feeling dirty, ashamed and helpless.

Last year I met Bill at my doctors surgery. Bill worked for Blenheim. He was there every week when I would go to get my script. Every week I talked to him a little bit more and after 6 months I gave in to Bill and went to Blenheim. It was in the Wednesday Women’s group that I spoke about my father for the very first time. It was like the words took a hold of me, like I was in a silent movie and an actress was saying my lines. Then my tears took over and I didn’t want to stop until I had wept him out of me.

Last week I did something I thought I would never do. I went out on a date. We are going out again next week.

Fatou's story

Yasmin’s Story

I came to England from Iran over 30 years ago. My husband died ten years later and I felt completely alone. I didn’t know anybody else. Even though he used to beat me, it was not everyday and I loved him and missed him too much. I had never tried alcohol or drugs in my life before because I thought they were evil and I was too frightened. When my husband died I didn’t care about my life anymore so I started to smoke some cannabis and it helped to ease my feelings of emptiness. Drugs were easy to buy where I lived so I tried crack cocaine and that helped too.

I became ill and it was my doctor who contacted Blenheim. I didn’t want to be helped but after a while I preferred to go to the groups than be on my own with my cannabis and crack. Blenheim’s Women’s group helped me to accept that I deserved more from my life and that my husband was really the one who had needed help. After a while I was going to Blenheim everyday and to the weekend activities. It makes me laugh to think that my first friends in this country were all drug addicts.

Blenheim helped me through detox and rehab and my Blenheim volunteer helped me to move into my new supported housing. I am now drug-free for over 10 months and I still cannot believe that this has happened to me but I do believe that I am more happy and content than I have ever been before.

Yasmin's story

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

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