When Susan was a young, she lived in Worksop with both her parents. Growing up, both her parents were out of work, and it was a difficult time. At school, she was bullied and called hurtful names. “This really affected me from a very young age,” she said.

In Secondary School, Susan tried to “fit in” with others her age; she started to smoke and drink. “I knew this wasn’t right, not for me, but I wanted to be part of the “gang”, so I wouldn’t be picked on.”

Throughout her teenage years, Susan gradually developed a reliance on drugs. The memories of being bullied were always with her and led to lack of confidence and low self-esteem.

“To block out these memories, I turned to heroin to cover-up the hurt.  It did help, for a while, and allowed me to forget how ashamed I felt and how scared I was about what I was doing to myself.  But, it wasn’t me, not the real Sue.”

Over 27 years of addiction, Susan went through prison and had 3 children, which were taken off her by social services. This led to a descent into total despair and she entered a vicious cycle- “no matter how much I wanted to come off drugs, my low confidence and lack of self-esteem always led me back to it propping up my life.” She was eventually evicted from her home and made homeless. 

Susan served another prison sentence. When she was released, she had no relationship, no access to her children, and nowhere to live. “I was at rock bottom, nothing could be worse.” She came to Hope Community Services for support in getting her life back. 

Susan worked with Lawson Main, Hope’s Chaplain, to enter into a structured Detox Programme. When visiting the Lighthouse Centre in Rotheram, Susan said: “It took my breath away, I saw love, peace and a different picture entirely.  

“It made me decide that I definitely wanted to come off drugs, and I knew the only way to do this was rehabilitation.  I realised that it would be hard work but, I was as low as you could get.  I wanted and needed to change, to get out of this self-destructive lifestyle and feeding the habit”.

From this moment onwards, Susan was on a mission.  She attended the recovery programme and successfully managed to stay clean of drugs.  This then inspired her to then apply to “Teen Challenge UK”.  She explained; “Teen Challenge was great!  The faith-based programme allowed me to realise that God made me and that I am somebody who is worthy.  I began to appreciate that I needed to be me, to love myself and not pretend to be something or somebody I’m not.  God gave me back my confidence”.

Susan graduated from ‘Teen Challenge’, an accomplishment of which she is extremely proud. It was her path out of addiction after years of feeling lost and alone.  She now Volunteers for ‘Teen Challenge’, helping others who are in the position that she was once in herself.