Sharnia, 27

This is Sharnia’s story, told in her own words:

(You may find the contents of this story upsetting.)

“Before all this, I was a mother. I gave my daughter to my mum. Then I was on the road, I was homeless. I see my daughter if I want. But I don’t want her to see me this way.

[Before detox] I have been using drugs for two-and-a-half years. This person came into my life, into my house – he started to beat me up, bring in drugs, even when I didn’t want it. He locked me in my house all the time. Stabbed me in the leg with a SCART lead. I had to try and protect myself with my daughter’s buggy, otherwise I’d be dead.


When I got the strength to get rid of him, he’d really ruined my life. I lost my house, my daughter, my family. Everything. I just thought, ‘What’s the point?’. I was lost and I didn’t know what to do. All I could do was keep smoking drugs.

I am about to go to a detox for two weeks. To get my life back. Because there was nothing good coming out of smoking joints. I don’t want to do it no more. I feel scared, emotional, excited, curious. It’s not gonna be easy. [With] no drugs in my system, all my emotions, all the things that’ve happened to me are going to be coming out. But you know that if you do carry it through it will be amazing. You will be the bestest person ever, and you will get back all the things that you was like before. My family. And being sociable the right way, getting people to respect you, being independent, going to work in the community and just sleep better. A peaceful feeling.

[After detox] At first it was quite upsetting. I was off the methadone for three days before so I was craving and everything. They wouldn’t give me the methadone straight away. They said we have to be really wanting it. So I had to be in pain, cramped, shaking, sweating to get it. You got no drugs and no substitute to keep you settled. You get agitated, restless, wanting something that you ain’t got. Your body needs it. It’s calling for it.

The pressure was all getting to me. It was Christmas so I was a bit emotional not being with family. There was bickering, there was quarrelling, there was tension with other residents, having a go at me because I was all over the place. They didn’t understand that they’d passed that stage because they’d been there longer. And I just got all down, so I packed my things.

I was on a downer for about a week. I just couldn’t believe that I’d left. Because what did I come back to? I’m glad I went through it, because I know that when I go again I can’t let people upset me and walk out. I’m not giving up just because I left detox. I am making sure I am ready and strong and 100% in it for me and only me. And then I will be on my way to rehab to get my life back.

I have wasted enough years doing this. I want to get my life back now. Just being who I was. My life. Me. An intelligent young lady. Independent. Potential. Whatever I want I can achieve. And I did achieve. Always going to school, challenging myself. Everything I interviewed for, I got. And I’m good at a lot of things. Acting, dancing, drawing, just having my own style and imagination and creating things. My dream is to be a singer or an actress. I’ve been a singer all my life. I’ve been in a choir and sang in the Millennium Dome. Gospel, and things like that. I want to go on X-Factor.

I want to have my own business. Go to college and open up a hairdresser with a massage parlour. Save money and go to another country and have a restaurant. And in the evening have a wine bar so it goes into a club. And have more kids.

Home to me is somewhere that has a family and everybody in it. A home is where you are liked and you know you always have a room there. Here at St Mungo’s, they are supporting me with things that I want to achieve. Giving me a roof over my head. I have had my ups and downs but they have been there for me. Always having someone here when you are upset. Always someone to listen to you. Knowing you are not alone. This place is my life, my rock and, if I didn’t have it, boy, I don’t know where I’d be.

Each year I put it off my daughter grows up another year and thinks, ‘Where’s my mum? She don’t love me no more’. She’s seven now. She knows I’m still her mum because I still call her and speak to her and I still love her. But I don’t want another year to go.”

(All material on this page is copyright of Georgina Cranston. Text editing by Sarah Carrington.)

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