Following a series of terrible events, Bryony fell into a 15-year amphetamine addiction. Today, she’s piecing her life back together. We’ve been fortunate enough to be able to help her. Here’s her story.

On 6 November 2000, the same year that had seen the birth of her first child, Bryony started college. Her very first lunch break was interrupted by a call that would change her life. 

‘They told me my partner had been involved in a serious motorbike accident,’ she explains.  ‘He died five times on the way to hospital, and had a 17 hour operation to save him.  He suffered brain damage and spent months in hospital.’

Bryony tried to continue with her course, alongside caring for her son on her own, and visiting her partner in his hospital bed.

 ‘It all became too much. I started using amphetamines to help keep my energy up and my mind off what was happening.’

During his time in hospital, Bryony’s partner developed MRSA. Once discharged and living at home, he needed constant treatment.

Bryony became her partner’s full time carer. Her amphetamine use continued.

‘I got pregnant and stopped using,’ she explains, ‘but when my daughter was born, I picked up where I left off.’

Coping with violence

In 2012, things worsened yet again.

‘My partner’s MRSA didn’t heal and I was struggling. We had a fight and it became physical.  I was charged with assault.’ Following the incident, Bryony had to leave the family home, but took her daughter with her. ‘Social Services got involved.  I managed to stop using for about 10 months until 2014 when I met someone else.

‘It was an abusive relationship, so I sent my daughter back to live with her dad. I started using again.

‘I called the police over 14 times because of the violence but I never pressed charges.’ 

Bryony remembers the 14th of December.  ‘I picked up a knife and caught my partner’s hand. He called the police and I was arrested. He was dealing at the time, but he was allowed to stay in the house during my arrest. He left the next day and I haven’t seen him since.’

Social Services involvement increased. ‘My ex-partner was struggling with my daughter and I had an incident with my son. I called 999, but because of child protection laws and him being under 16, I was charged with assault again.’ Bryony’s daughter went into foster care and her son was put on the child protection list.

‘I’d tried to change over the years. I had help from Social Services and the Integrated Family Support Team, but none of it helped.

I wanted to change once and for all.’

‘I’m moving on’

On 19th December 2014, after 14 years of drug use, Bryony stopped using.

‘I was introduced to the Footsteps to Recovery, a programme that provides access to services from Solas, Recovery Cymru and NewLink Wales. It offers a mix and match approach to achieving recovery, so I was able to build something that worked for me.

‘I completed the course in February 2016 and had to go to Court in April 2016. The course kept me out of jail. The judge told me that if I hadn’t have done it, I would definitely have been sent to prison.’

Since then, Bryony’s been on our Work It Out project, which helps people affected by substance misuse get past the barriers they face when trying to secure paid employment.  ‘These courses have literally changed my life.  My lifestyle has completely changed.  I have faced up to things, accepted them and I’m moving on.’

It hasn’t been an easy journey. ‘I had a relapse when my daughter was in foster care and my life was very chaotic. I even tested myself to prove to myself that I didn’t need it anymore,’ she told us.

But despite the challenges she’s faced, Bryony’s future is now looking bright.  She’s begun work as a peer mentor with Inroads, and is doing an NVQ in Advice and Advocacy.

‘I see my daughter every week and my relationship with my son is a lot better.  Starting a new job couldn’t have come at a better time.

My sister is getting married in Australia so I’ll be able to go, and my son has said he’ll come with me!’

Update: we're delighted to to add that since this story was published, Bryony has started full-time employment within a major charity. We all wish her the absolute best on her new career path.