Natalie’s father was an alcoholic, which made her childhood very chaotic. Her mum did her best to hold the family together, but the family was dysfunctional, having to play second fiddle to the father’s addiction. This created an unnatural experience of how family life should be.

Natalie had her first experience with alcohol aged just 9 while babysitting with friends. She liked how it changed her mood and made her feel good. With her cousin, she quickly progressed onto solvent abuse and cigarettes, and used recreational drugs and alcohol through her teenage years before progressing onto cocaine in her early twenties.

She got into an on-and-off abusive relationship with her drug dealing boyfriend and had two children with him. The youngest child died soon after being born, and the trauma, along with her relationship, caused her addiction to spiral out of control. Natalie hit rock bottom and lost everything – her house, her car, her business, her health, and her daughter.

After numerous attempts at getting help, Natalie was found homeless and suffering from psychosis brought on by alcohol addiction. She came to ACORN Recovery Projects for treatment and, through the programme, learnt how to live life without the use of substances and able to cope with everyday life.

Natalie is now 14 months clean and sober. She has a home and sees her daughter on a daily basis, having overnight stays three times a week. She volunteers as a Co-Facilitator on one of ACORN’s Reduction and Motivation (RAMP) groups, and is training to become a counsellor.