the face of addiction…

I don’t have any words for this anymore.  Just to say, 80k and over £1000 raised. You are all brilliant.

As I said, I was going to try and publish, with permission, some of the incredible stories that have been sent to me since Sunday.  This next one is something that hits very close to home, because I’ve faced some of the issues mentioned.  A comment was left on my blog that foodbanks were mostly attended by addicts.  Whilst this, to start with, is simply not true, the words and language used about people who are struggling made me feel really hurt.  Here’s the real face of addiction…

“Hi Lizzi,

I wanted to write about my own experience of foodbanks for your blog, but I’m worried your readers will hate me.  Ok – here goes…

I should introduce myself (well, not to you, but to your blog!) – ok, I’m Tasha, I’m 30.  I’m also a recovering – well, everything addict. Drugs and booze mostly. 

I wasn’t always like that.  The first ten years of my life were magic.  But then, my dad died.  My mum married an areshole.  Sorry, but it’s true.  And he used to come into my room every night to abuse me.  It went on for years.  I couldn’t do anything or say anything.  Too scared of hurting mum.

Finally, I got up the courage to tell her.  She went mental.  I couldn’t cope, so I ran away. Went to live with the boyfriend – utter disaster.  Drank too much, started on smack.  Got into long, horrible situations.  

Anyway, cut a long story short.  I found myself in a hostel.  No money, no food, no hope.  The hostel worker referred me to the food bank.  Gave me some food.  She gave me respect too.  Because I’d done so much and I felt so dirty, I couldn’t believe this lovely lady – anyone really – wanted to help me.  But she did.  And that made me think I might just, be worth helping”

That’s Tasha’s story.  I want to add at this point that she’s now clean, and volunteers for a food bank herself.  Where she’s been at rock bottom, she can relate.  And she’s making massive differences in peoples lives.  I relate to some of her formative experiences that took her down a bad path, and I am so, so aware that there but for the grace of God go I.

That’s why, even if it were remotely true that the only ones attending foodbanks were addicts, I would still donate.  Because it isn’t enough to decry the problem, or to point out all the ways people get things wrong.  We all get it wrong.  No, I’m not an alcoholic.  But I’m stubborn, incredibly defensive, and disorganised beyond belief.  We are all broken sinners.  And we can’t stop addiction just by whinging about it.  We have to get alongside people who feel worse than dog crap, and show them how incredibly valuable they are.  Show them love and support. Because you can’t sort it out until you know you’re worth sorting.

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