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

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Madhuri’s Story

My name is Madhuri which in Gujurati means sweet girl. I am 29 years old and have a son who is just two and a half named Saadi which means happy. My life was sweet and happy and Blenheim are helping me to make it sweet and happy again.

I arrived in England four years ago to marry Sabai. We had never met before, our families chose us and it is our duty to respect that and I did. There was something about Sabai that they didn’t know though. He was injecting heroin. It was on Saadi’s second birthday that me and my son spent our first night away from Sabai, in the refuge. Those first few months were very frightening for me. I was told that Saadi would be taken into care unless I agreed to leave Sabai while he was still using heroin. Nobody seemed to understand our culture and that I needed to stay with Sabai and make our marriage work.

Blenheim understood and also helped me to understand what I was risking. Blenheim helped all of us. Me to get English classes and voluntary work, Saadi into nursery and Sabai with drug treatment.

I am now doing a course to convert my Indian Accountancy qualification into a European one. Children’s Social Care have stopped the proceedings to take Saadi into care and Blenheim are helping with supervised contact between my son and my husband. Sabai hasn’t used drugs for three months now. Sabai means ‘with strength’. This is a good name for him and for me.

Madhuri's story

Sabrina’s Story

I met Ross three years ago and my life literally turned upside down. He was the best man at my cousin’s wedding and I was blown away. It wasn’t long before I discovered that he was using crack and not that much later before I was too. I think that I thought I was happy and then I was pregnant and suddenly my life was no longer my own.

I was referred to Blenheim by social services when I tested positive for crack in the early stages of my pregnancy. It wasn’t hard for social services to detect the domestic violence either and I was moved into B&B accommodation. To be honest it was a relief to be rescued and I attended every single appointment I could get.

The groups and key work sessions properly kept me focused and stopped me from doing something stupid. My Blenheim key worker even came to the hospital when Rio was born and kept me calm through 16 weeks of foster care where I had to show my parenting skills. I did ok, actually I did good. Me and Rio will be housed soon and although I’ve been abstinent for 10 months, I still go to Blenheim – they are family now.

Sabrina's story

Gina’s Story

Dean had just proposed to me, the following week my doctor confirmed that I was having twins and then a month later the same doctor confirmed that I was HIV positive. I cannot describe the feeling. I was numb. One minute I was pinching myself to believe that my dreams were really happening to me and the next I just wished that I could disappear.

But I didn’t disappear….Dean did. I was a mess. Already I knew that there was a chance that my babies could contract the virus, already I knew that their father would never be around, already I had accepted that my family didn’t want to be involved. I needed help and what did I do? I abused my babies and myself even more with alcohol and drugs.

Somehow in all the chaos I kept my appointments and of course it wasn’t long before I was referred for specialist help. Blenheim was one of those organisations. That was two years ago. I am now the very happy mum of two beautiful girls. Two beautiful, healthy girls. I don’t believe in miracles but I do believe in Blenheim.

Gina's story

Tracey’s Story

I guess you’d call me a survivor although there have been many times when I didn’t want to. The best years of my life so far have been the ones that I can hardly remember, from a baby until I was 9 years old. My mum’s new boyfriend sexually abused me for two years and then when I was 12 I was in a bad car accident and in hospital for 7 months. I didn’t know it then but I had become addicted to morphine and to top it all developed severe epilepsy. I think I gave up then. I couldn’t handle school. It was easier to be in the ‘wrong crowd’. I smoked cannabis and heroin with them and got into shoplifting.

I was 20 when I was arrested for robbery with a firearm. So then I was in prison. Funny, because when I was in prison I felt safe and started to get a life back. I stayed clean and volunteered as a peer mentor.

The fear came back when I was released and I was housed on a dodgy estate, known as a drug ‘hot spot’.

It was at Job Centre Plus that I found out about Blenheim. I knew that I needed routine and the structure that I had in prison. I went to Life Skills and Harm Min groups and all was going OK until I met Monica. We started a relationship and started using crack together. Monica ended up in prison and I ended up using more crack, falling out of treatment and becoming a sex worker. I went back to Blenheim a couple of times in crisis but I was too chaotic to keep my appointments. When I thought that I was pregnant I went back to Blenheim again to ask for their support, not to get clean but to come clean with my mum, about my drug use and career as a sex worker. My key worker was amazing and sat in the meeting with me and mum.

Opening up to mum must have given me some inspiration. I couldn’t get enough of recovery than and took up everything on offer. My key worker helped me through detox and I got a ‘glowing’ report. My first ever good report.

I am now in residential treatment in Dorset. I like it here and I am doing well.

Tracy's story