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25 October 2023

Alice’s story – Addiction

Racing Welfare helped Alice* turn her life around following a heroin addiction that had seen her lose everything.

Alice had grown up surrounded by racing and enjoyed working in a local yard.

Following a period of prolonged trauma where one of her close family members was affected by recurring cancer diagnoses, Alice found herself gradually disconnecting from those closest to her.  She began going out a lot, drinking to excess, and this continued for several years with the consecutive late-night alcohol and recreational drug binges gradually spiralling out of control. She admits: “Going out every weekend, but then working and riding out as well, it takes quite a toll on you without realising it.”

Alice, who was also a mother by this point, explains how her life snowballed out of control: “I got into a relationship with someone who was smoking crack. I started doing that, and then I left home. And then I ended up taking heroin and got hooked on that – it just got worse, and worse and worse.

“I had no relationship with my family through that time. I left my children. I didn’t work. I had no proper home. We were sofa surfing, squatting, going between emergency accommodation, stealing, shoplifting. I lost my driving license. There were multiple arrests – it was just madness, anything to feed the addiction.”

Throughout her addiction, Alice remained in occasional contact with her mum, however, she struggled to be able to access the help she needed for herself. She said: “I wanted help but I was so fixated into a habitual pattern in life. I knew I didn’t want to be doing it, but it became so much harder not to do [the drugs] than it was to do it.”

Alice’s mum got in touch with Racing Welfare through Racing’s Support Line and was put in touch with her local welfare officer who arranged a meeting.

She recalls: “It was my mum that got in contact [with Racing Welfare]. She picked me up and took me to meet [my local welfare officer]. Mum was basically pleading for help for me.”

Within four weeks Racing Welfare arranged for Alice to go into a residential drug rehabilitation facility. It wasn’t smooth sailing and the next few years saw relapses and multiple returns to rehab for Alice. She recalls feeling guilt and shame each time she got sober and was unable to sustain her sobriety: “As soon as I got sober, all the guilt and shame of what I’d done would return. Being back in reality, I’d rush to get back to my children but I’d not be able to sustain it. It was a hard pattern to break.”

Alice’s fourth stint in rehab, during which she found out that her partner had sadly died from an overdose, was to be her last. It became her pivotal turning point. She left the residential facility sober and ready to get on with her life after being estranged from her family and her young children for several years.

She reflects on the ongoing support she’s had over the years: “If it wasn’t for Racing Welfare and [my welfare officer] I really don’t think I’d be alive. Honestly, the support that [the charity] has shown me, and the ongoing support, has been massive. They’ve always had faith, even though I’ve lied and disengaged multiple times throughout my addiction.

Knowing you’re not alone is just indescribable, it’s such a big thing.

Racing Welfare remains in touch with Alice and has helped her get her life back under control following her discharge from rehab, helping her find housing and to access her statutory entitlements. Alice has also since been diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), a condition that affects behaviour and can cause people to act on impulse.  She is now able to access appropriate medication to help her manage the disorder which has unknowingly affected her since childhood.

She said: “After coming out of rehab even just the sight of something like paperwork or the thought of having to get stuff sorted out myself would have been too overwhelming. I would have just gone under a rock.

“It’s been complete support the whole way through, not just arranging my rehab.  They have helped with everything, from filling in forms to every angle of life to help me get to a manageable place.  If I’m panicking over something I always feel like I can call Racing Welfare and it’s never a problem.

“My life now is better than it was before all the bad stuff happened. I’m running my own business now, I’ve got my children back, my family relationships are great. I’m finally doing everything for myself. This whole experience has definitely made me a lot more appreciative of life.”

*name changed for anonymity


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