06 March 2024

How we helped Louise to find her smile again

A middle-aged woman, wearing a blue hoodie, stands near a hallway wall, smiling gently towards the camera.
Before, I couldn't see life, it was all dark. Now it's amazing. I can see how bright the world is.

Louise, 40, Scunthorpe

Louise's story

Where did it all start?

“I started using alcohol when I was about 15, and using drugs around 16. I was alcohol-dependent by the time I was 17, using every day. I stopped using alcohol when I fell pregnant at 18 - I had to. But I didn't realise back then that there may have been help available. 

“I decided to leave school as I had quite a traumatic childhood. I didn't want to go home, so I ended up on the street, surrounded by friends who did drugs. I met a guy, and we became very serious. It was an emotionally and physically abusive relationship. He re-introduced me to weed and alcohol, and he introduced me to crack cocaine. I didn’t know what it was - he referred to it as ‘bones’ and was literally pushing it on me. If you love someone, they don’t do that. If they say they love you and say “Try this” - don’t even think about it, walk away. 

“It was constant drugs, drinking, and my mental health was deteriorating. I stopped seeing family members. My children got taken off me. I ended up overdosing a number of times - I just didn’t want to be here. After splitting from him, I found a flat. Everything was great, I had carers coming in helping to support me. But I was still finding things difficult and became very depressed, I didn't want to get out of bed."



What is life like now?

“Without WithYou, I wouldn’t be here now. They’re an amazing team. I had a support worker for over a year and he’s almost like a friend of mine now. I'm looking towards working for them supporting others going through traumatic experiences and going through recovery. My life has turned around so much and I know I'll never go back to that place. I have a really supportive partner now. 

“I’d never had proper friends before. You don’t know you've got friends until you've been through this and come out the other side and meet people who are in recovery. They understand what you’re going through. We have a laugh too - it boosts your self-esteem for the day. I haven't smiled properly for a long time and a few months ago I laughed out loud. I'm smiling all the time now, every single day. Everybody's got it in them to change. I didn't think my life was worth anything until I found WithYou.”

“I look forward to my future in general. Before, I couldn't see life, it was all dark. Now it's amazing. I can see how bright the world is. So much has happened for the good. Moving to North Lincolnshire from Reading is the best choice I’ve made. The people up North are amazing. Life is bright and there is a future out there - a good one. Even if you feel like there's no hope. Seek some help."

Louise, what’s your message to others who may be experiencing challenges?

“Keep trying. In 2021 I first started WithYou but wasn't quite ready. My key worker Ric persevered with me, checked up on me and did things at my pace. If you feel like you're in a dark place, know there is light out there and I've found that light. I’m proud of myself.

“If you ever do fall into that chaotic drug and alcohol-induced life - seek help. It will be the best choice you ever make.” 

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