I was doing ok until the first COVID lockdown hit. My medication for my mental health was stopped because they thought I had traits of bipolar. My counsellor just gradually didn’t ring me anymore. And because I didn’t have anything, I started self-medicating with cocaine and alcohol, and it just spiralled. I tried to deal with it all myself.
I self-referred myself to Via, because [my children were taken away] and I wanted to do everything I could to make sure they could come home. My keyworker was really friendly, she would tell me that I could do it. I trusted her and felt like I could talk to her. I was listening to other people’s stories in a group, and I thought ‘I want to be a keyworker’. So, I decided I wanted to do all the training and self-development to become a keyworker.
I started aftercare and after only 2 weeks, the opportunity to do the NOVA course came up. I felt like [NOVA] showed me how to love myself and how to have boundaries. Because I never ever had boundaries before and it helped me.
During the Next Steps course, we did a meditation and all I could see was all my children together in our house, as it is now. That group gave me a focus. I used to always think about the worst scenarios, like ‘my children are not going to come home’. That’s when I learnt my saying, ‘It’s not you can’t, it’s you can’.
[The groups] helped me realise what’s inside of me. It was like anything is possible, you just have to believe in yourself. And that’s it, I’m determined.
I asked my sister and brother, “Do you think I’m back to me?” and they said “No, you are reborn. You are a completely different person.” The way I speak, the way I act, everything – and it’s all because of Via.
I didn’t do it all by myself – I did it with all the people in the groups, my keyworker, everyone I’ve spoken to along the way have helped me to get to where I am now.
I’m now doing the peer mentoring course and it’s really good, we’re learning so much. When we were doing the [role play] and I was the peer mentor, I thought ‘this is what I want to do’. I thought I wanted to do it before but now I know. I want to show people it can be done. I want to be the proof that even though you are down, if you have a focus, if you have one thing you really want, you will do anything to achieve it.
I’m now eight months’ clean and I’ve never felt better in my whole entire life.