Pauline’s Story

“I was angry that he’d had drugs in the house – and that this might have put my daughter’s safety in jeopardy. I want people to feel comfortable in my home, and I like to make people feel happy. That’s why it’s been hard not to feel responsible for what happened to my daughter.”

I thought it was my fault that my daughter had started using drugs

When I first found out that my daughter was using cannabis , then heroin, I blamed myself for being a weak parent. My marriage had broken down and I wanted my children to stay with me, so I had let them do what they liked. When I told my own brothers and sisters about my daughter, they showed very little sympathy and I felt sort of let down. But my friends were great. One of them even trailed round squats with me when my daughter was at a really low point and had left home.

We’ve had real ups and downs, and lots of false dawns

My daughter has been on a number of programmes, and I’ve always tried to stay in touch. She has alternated between telling me how much she needs me, and pushing me away. It’s been difficult emotionally and financially. Once, I paid for her to attend a training programme, but she was soon back using drugs. Another time I helped her through her first long rehabilitation programme, and she stayed clean for eight months. Just before she went into her third treatment programme, I realised I was close to losing her. She was only five stone, she was shoplifting, and she was desperate to go to prison so she could get help with her problem.

I demanded action from the rehabilitation programme

I needed to know where my daughter was so I could help to look after her. As a result, our lives became more and more inter-twined. Once, I drove her to the place she did her shoplifting and then to her dealer. Finally, I went to the rehabilitation project and told them they had to help her straight away. They said there was an eight-week wait, so I said, “Eight weeks – you will have blood on your hands if you make her wait that long”. They put her down for the following week.

My daughter has now been clean for a year

I’m really proud of my daughter – she’s been clean for a year now. She sent me a letter recently telling me what a great mum I am and how I shouldn’t feel guilty about the way she’s been brought up. But the most important thing I’ve learnt is that no parent can ever persuade their child to go into treatment. At the end of the day it was her decision.