Recovery stories

We welcome anyone who wishes to share their recovery story, poetry or artwork - email us at


Karen’s story – Our son got his life back

My husband and I attended our son Paul’s completion day at Phoenix Futures Sheffield Residential Service, something we never thought would happen after 15 years of watching our son go through misery and torment with drink and drugs. He didn’t have one ounce of confidence and hated the way he was. It was a continual nightmare waiting for the day someone would tell us he had died.

In November 2008, Alan went into Phoenix Futures and has never looked back. We cannot thank you enough for turning my son into the confident happy and content person that he is today. Alan is looking forward to his future and is working for an organisation that helps kids with similar problems to those he has been though himself and loves this work.

Thank you very, very much Phoenix Futures for helping our son get his life back.


Tina's story


A poem by Calum, 8 years old

I am sad because I have lost my Dad
But I am glad because I have got my Mum
She is getting better every day
And she even makes time to play
Instead of telling me to go away.
I don’t want my Mum to die like my Dad
That would be very, Very bad
So Phoenix Futures is the best place to be
For both my Mum and me.

*name changed to protect identity


Michelle’s story – “I am worth having a good life”

I was sent to HMP Drake Hall after committing a number of crimes to help fund my dependency on heroin, crack, amphetamines and alcohol. I had lost contact with my family and my daughter, but when a close family member died I hit rock bottom and knew I had to find a way to kick my habit.

“Instead of going back home and back to my previous ways”

Phoenix Futures runs a Therapeutic Community at HMP Drake Hall and all the women on the programme supported each other in learning how to live without drugs. When I got my release date I asked to be referred on and, instead of going back home and back to my previous ways which would have meant a return to prison or even death, I went straight to Portland House, Phoenix Futures’ women only service.

“More to life than using drugs”

Treatment has made me realise there is more to life than using drugs or drinking and that I am worth having a good life. I am happy than I’ve ever been and will carry on living my life without being reliant on substances.

I’m doing a course at college now and I plan to go into beauty therapy or hairdressing when I finish my treatment. Most of all I want to be and be a good Mum and daughter; that’s my biggest plan for the future.


Kerry’s story – “I’m worth more than the life I used to have”

Sixteen years ago, aged 13, I started using heroin. I was introduced to it by a couple I was babysitting for. They were supposed to be out for the whole evening but came back just half an hour later and went straight into the kitchen without checking on the baby or me. I followed them into the kitchen and found them preparing to shoot up. They were frightened that I would tell someone but when I promised not to tell they offered me some and I took it.

I had smoked cannabis before and used solvents, but nothing felt as good as that first hit of heroin. Finally I had found something that would block out the years of physical abuse I has suffered at the hands of my father and brother, the pain of my childhood.

“Before I knew it I had a habit.”

I felt then that my life was getting better, but it wasn’t, it was getting worse. I had to steal for money to get more drugs, but I kept doing it because it took away the pain. Before I knew it I had a habit. I woke up ill so I had to go out and get more money for more drugs; it wasn’t fun anymore. When you have a habit you have to make the money to support yourself and then you have to find the drugs, which is hard when you are ill from withdrawal. I used every day for sixteen years until I came to Phoenix.

“I had to get help and that’s why I came to Phoenix House.”

When I was sixteen I had a baby. She is thirteen now and she’s had to grow up a lot faster than she should. Everyone knows that her parents use drugs and she gets bullied for it; she’s had to put up with a lot. When I found out I was pregnant again, about a year ago, I knew that I had to change for my daughter, for my new baby and for me. I knew that in order to give my children a better life I had to get help and that’s why I came to Phoenix House.

Rehab is hard work but I’m learning a lot of new things like how to be without drugs, how to wake up without drugs and how to accept myself for who I am. I’m also bonding more with my children. It’s a whole new life experience and I’m getting to know myself as a person, to value myself and to believe I’m worth more than the life I used to have.

“She says that she is proud of me”

It’s great that I can have my five month old baby here with me in the Brighton family service and my daughter comes to visit me for weekends. Last time I saw her she said that I looked brilliant and sounded better than I have ever done. She says that she is proud of me, which is wonderful. I can’t wait to be with her again when I leave rehab, to rebuild my family.

Finally I think I’m doing something right, I’m achieving something. And I know that, with the right support, I can stay off drugs for life.


Gareth’s story – “…getting stable and setting up my own business”

I joined the army at 18 and really enjoyed my chance to learn the bagpipes, but things started to go wrong when, after four years, I was discharged because I had begun to use heroin. I became seriously depressed and used all types of drugs to try and escape what was happening to me.

About a year later I met a man called Bruce Robertson from Progress2Work, Lothian and Borders. He had great faith in me and offered me support. With his help I applied for, and received, a grant from The Princes Trust for my pipes and set up my own business as a professional bagpipe player. Now I have a contract at Dalhousie Castle to play at weddings and more work is coming in all the time. With the help of Phoenix Futures I’ve got myself from being a big time mess and serious drug misuser to getting off drugs, getting stable and setting up my own business. I feel really proud of that.

Phoenix Futures is a registered charity in England and Wales (No 284880) and in Scotland (No SCO39008); Company Limited by Guarantee Number 1626869; Registered Provider of Social Housing with Homes England (H3795).