Please don't use my real name.
I was a crack addict and went to prison in 2010 for crimes relating to drugs including prostitution.
Being away from my kids was enough to sort myself out and prison is not a place I will be going back to. I want to be honest about the effects of using hard drugs. I have HEP C and was tested for HIV. I self neglected myself because crack was the love of my life. I did not care about myself, my kids or my family. I sold my body to drug dealers, strangers and did some shocking things. But as long as I got my fix I did not care less.
One night I was assaulted by a punter but I was back working on the streets the night after because I needed my drugs.
Prison was a big wake up call for me. My Mum in her late 60's looked after my 2 kids whilst I served my time and she was stressed out to the max worrying about me and how she was going to cope. It was a real messy situation.
Being in prison wasn't easy but it was easier than being on the out if that makes any sense. For me the real hard work was being released from prison because the temptation on the out is far greater. Yes people can get their hands on drugs in prison but it isn't the same as on the out.
My family supported me and without them I would not be here today. I'd be buried in a graveyard along with the rest of my crack addicted associates.
Maintaining family ties was important for me. It was heartbreaking seeing my kids but I needed that stress to focus on getting better. I wanted to be a Mum, not a crack addict!
Maintaining family ties worked for me but I understand the tough love approach and I understand why some families walk away. Living or even being around an addict is stressful and addicts hurt the ones they love. For those who are serious about recovery, I wish you all the best and please don't give up.