It all started 20 years ago when I was with my ex-boyfriend, he was very violent and involved in drugs. I started to take cocaine to stop the pain after he had beaten me. The violence got worse and after 10 years he walked out on me and two children for someone else. I had to sell the house and move with my children to the other side of town, where I started to meet new people and that's when I started to use crack. I was unable to cope with my children and they ended up living with their Dad. He refused to give them back and was not the sort of man to argue with even if I had been in a fit state.
I found myself getting into debt and then lost my house. I stayed with someone who I thought was a friend for a while. This person led me into using Heroin and I found myself dependant remaining on it for 10 years, with no kids, nowhere to live an in a right mess. I sofa surfed for most of that time and lived on the street for the rest. The worst part about living on the streets is the cold and dark, there isn't that much help for homeless women out there you would imagine that there is but in fact there is very little.
After 10 years misusing Drugs my body gave up and I found myself in Intensive Care in Addenbrookes Hospital for 5 weeks. I had a DVT and blood clots in my lungs and heart; I was in a bad way!
My Mum came to see me and the doctors said that I had a 21% chance of living. I was not aware of this at the time as I was unconscious and on life support. I spent a further four weeks in the Hospital recovering. When leaving hospital I found myself in the same position again: nowhere to live. My support worker came to visit me and told me about Emmaus, she gave the Community Leader a ring the next day. I had a telephone interview and a day later she rang back and invited me to come and live here at Emmaus Village Carlton.
I had never heard of Emmaus but I am so glad that I came here; otherwise I don't think I would be here to tell my story today. I have achieved a huge amount at Emmaus: at the moment I am doing a level 2 NVQ in catering, I have a Forklift Licence, First Aid at Work Certificate, Health and Safety at Work and several other qualifications. I also met my partner here and we are now engaged. I owe this all to Emmaus!