Lynne’s Story

Aberlour Family Outreach Dundee helps parents and children who are struggling to cope as a result of drug and alcohol use in the family. We worked with a young mum who became a secret heroin addict, aged 30.

Lynne* began taking drugs to cope when her two children’s disruptive behaviour started causing problems at school. It took several years for her son and his young sister to be diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and, in the meantime, she had plunged into addiction.

Lynne said: “It seems crazy looking back, a woman of my age starting to take heroin. At the time, though, it felt like an escape from everything that was going on. I knew my son wasn’t just behaving badly. I knew there was something else going on from when he was wee but I just couldn’t get him help. I was going up the wall. Then my sister died and my grandparents died and I just reached the end of my rope.

“Where I lived there were dealers everywhere and I just started taking it. I felt like I was banging my head off the wall trying to get help for my kids. I felt like I was drowning. I was struggling to manage my kids but I never neglected them. They were always washed and dressed and off to school but, in the space of a few months, without anyone knowing, I became a heroin addict. I started going downhill, getting faster all the time.”

“I got put in touch with the outreach service at Aberlour. They helped my children in school, providing me with support with what ADHD is and how to live with it, and they supported me at home as I fought to get clean of drugs. Finally, finally, I got myself on the straight and narrow but my kids had still not been diagnosed.

“I was terrified they were going to be forced to leave school and would never get back into mainstream education. But when they were diagnosed with ADHD, it seemed everything started fitting into place. They’re doing great now.

“Since my daughter’s been on her medication, it’s like night and day. She’s a different wee person. Aberlour have been great with her. She has a befriender, a student who sees her every week for one to one support. It helps her but helps me too. Because of the stress and the drugs, I had isolated myself, cut myself off from everyone. Just knowing Aberlour was there for me, to call on, like a friend, made a huge difference.

“I could talk to them and ask for advice on things that I would find difficult to talk to anyone else about. They encourage me to lead a normal life again and help me take small steps. They’re only small steps but every one is taking me and my kids back to a normal life.”