Nicola now has her boys back. “I am so grateful to God. I’m in the best place I’ve been for a long time. I’ve got my boys back 50% of the time, I have a couple of wee cleaning jobs, a Christian partner and a supportive church behind me. I’m telling my story because I want folk to know there is hope. Even after a life-time of abuse, control and addiction, there is a way to build a better future.”
I was an unwanted child. By 15/16 I was drinking heavily. I’d started training as a hairdresser but got sacked due to drink. By 17 I was a full-blown alcoholic. I left home, in and out of homeless units. A relative took me in but treated me badly. I was trapped there for 5 years. When I got free, I discovered speed. Soon I started on harder drugs. I knew I really needed help.
Desperate for help I went to the doctor, but he prescribed me Valium. I was in tears – more drugs was the last thing I needed. With my prescription in hand, I was going to the chemist and saw the social work building. I went in and they referred me to a Glasgow recovery service. I managed to stay clean after that, going to self-help groups. It was at Stauros self-help I prayed the prayer of salvation.
But then I met my ex-partner who was very controlling and abusive. I was trapped again. I had 2 children with him but tried to leave him. Finally, I managed and from there was in homeless accommodation.
I reached out to God, going first to a Christian outreach then to church where I was baptised, but 3 months later I relapsed again. I ended up out of my head, shoplifting. I got caught, lost it with the police and my kids were taken away and given to their father. I only saw them for 4h a week! I fought to get them back for 2 years, but I kept relapsing. That’s when, after trying residential rehab, I found Street Connect.
Jane, my support worker was wonderful. She had shared some of my experiences herself. It was so amazing having someone to talk to who understood exactly where I was coming from. She’d encourage me from the Bible and we would talk about my week. She’d give me helpful tips like how to keep busy so I wasn’t thinking about needing a drink or drugs and how to keep supportive people around me by keeping on going to church. I went to Street Connect’s recovery group and it was so good, really helpful. It blew me away that one of the Street Connect volunteers was the lady who had helped me ask Jesus into my heart at Stauros way back. God brought her back into my life just when I needed a spiritual mother to help me keep living in recovery.
You’ve no idea what it felt like just to be understood. With Street Connect’s support I’m in such a good place now. I just want to give back now and help someone else find the support that helps them not just break free but stay free.”