Rachel's Story

"My truth is this, that it is the undying and ever-growing love of being a mother to both my beautiful babies that gave me the sheer strength to overcome my addiction."

Rachel’s story truly encapsulates how a mother’s love can prevail, even in the depths of addiction. Born into a family dynamic without nurturing and present parents, Rachel overcame generational trauma to be a rock for her children. A spell in residential treatment and her conviction to get better have transformed her life.

“My Life began in a very dysfunctional household that lacked love, belonging and stability. My family were of a hardened, Glaswegian alcoholic entrenched nature. This caused me to develop unhealthy coping mechanisms, a street-wise survival strategy and a toxic victimization mentality.”

Rachel, from north Wales, discovered that alcohol and cannabis soothed her achingly low self-esteem from the tender age of eleven.

“These chemicals offered me an escape, some relief from my somewhat shattered young mind. Due to this way of being, the constant wish to self-destruct, I was expelled from secondary school. My nature was one of rebellion and non-conformity.

Unsurprisingly to me, thanks to my not having any healthy coping living skills, boundaries or tools to manage, I ended up in The Local Authorities Care System. Luckily I went on to have some enriching life experiences, I went to live in Madrid when I was 18 and became an Au-pair to four different families. I learnt to Spanish speak fluently.”

When Rachel returned home to Wales she soon became I mother for the first time

“I’m lucky I had those experiences before having my children. When I returned home I met the father of both my children and became pregnant early into the relationship with our beautiful daughter Hollie Anna. Unknown to us, she was born with a very rare con-genital condition named Septo-Optic-Dysplasia. This meant our baby-girl was blind, immobile and without speech. It was our heartbreak at our daughter’s condition that fuelled our addiction.”

Despite the struggles of coping with their daughter’s difficulties, Rachel said  “a love that knows no bounds was born” within her, and that her total love for Hollie “never failed despite the gravity of adversities I had faced, and was still to face.” Domestic violence crept into the couple’s relationship and their dependence on substances to cope escalated.

“Co-dependency was a constant throughout our two failed marriages. I then became pregnant with our second child Zakarriah, 12 years apart from Hollie. Our son was born free from any disabilities and we marveled at both these blessings in our two very unique children. My son instilled a new-found strength in me, and I was ready to change my ways.  I was an entrenched heroin user, but committed to becoming a mother free from the clutches of my addiction.”

Rachel spent a year and a half raising Zak by herself, but sadly her drug and alcohol use returned with a vengeance.

“By the time Zak was seven I could no longer bear the self-deterioration, the weight of the mental, physical, emotional and spiritual pain I was bearing. I attempted suicide and my son went to live with his paternal grandmother. My drug and alcohol worker had witnessed my rapid decline into despair, and sought funding for me to enter into rehabilitation treatment which I had begged for. That was almost eight years ago now.”

Rachel was given a detox followed by rehab as part of the Affinity project, now known as Dechrau Newydd.

“Unfortunately, I lost my Hollie in 2016 when I was just two years abstinent from drugs and alcohol. I made my little earth angel a solemn promise to remain sober and free, no matter what comes my way in my life, I’m moving forwards. This promise is rooted in my solid and unshakeable love for her.

My relationship with my son is one of hope, trust, care and a fun-loving connection found through pure love. I am presented with challenges at times from family issues and the like, and rightly so too, as I must remember my son lost his father due to drug and alcohol addiction in September last year.

Today I’m always available for my son, I’m present and a good role model, consistently holding a safe space for him with genuine motherly love. I am living proof that you can recover from the horrors of active addiction, an idea that was once truly alien to me and so far beyond my reach.

Today Rachel is living a full and rewarding life. She has received 5 awards to mark her recovery journey, has a flat she loves and enjoys the freedom of driving her own car after passing her test in recovery. Professionally, Rachel has almost completed 4 years of studying Counselling and Psychotherapy (Diploma Level 4-5) and is a trainee counsellor and a volunteer support worker for a leading bereavement charity.

“I keep humble and help others. That is how I live my life today. My truth is this – it is the undying and ever-growing love of being a mother to both my beautiful babies that gave me the sheer strength to overcome my addiction. Through God’s grace and eternal love I am truly free and embrace this beautiful mother I can be.”