Sharon’s Story

I used to have an image about what the mother of a drug addict was like…..

I thought it was all about bad parenting: scumbags take drugs and bad parents make scumbags. When I discovered my son was taking drugs, that image haunted me for ages.

I turned a blind eye until I couldn’t ignore it any longer

My son was only 14 when I first guessed he was abusing substances. Aerosols regularly went missing, then cigarettes . I didn’t know anything about drugs and, to a certain degree, I turned a blind eye to it. He didn’t look like a druggie. But after a few years he was experimenting with heroin and had a criminal record for stealing to feed his habit. On one occasion he attacked me. I couldn’t ignore it any longer. Then I blamed myself.

At first I blamed myself and thought I was a ‘bad mother’. I had no social life and started to take anti-depressants . I wasn’t me anymore, I’d just become the mother of a drug addict, someone on a psychiatrist’s list – everything except Sharon.

It took a long time to sort things out – I felt really isolated

I went for counselling but that didn’t work out. Then my other son started suffering from behavioural problems, which made it even more difficult to get help. When the neighbours found out about my sons, they sort of formed cliques to isolate me. Even now, close friends are in short supply. But I established a community scheme in my area to help tackle drug problems and now my social life tends to revolve around that.

Ten years on, I know it’s not over, but at least I can look forward now

I’ve been coping with drugs for over 10 years and I know my journey isn’t over. But before, I could never bear to look more than one day ahead. Now I’ve got my community work, and I’ve got plans to study and become qualified in it. I used to be a battered mum and the mother of an addict. Now I’m making a real difference in my community.