Darcy faces the frightening prospect of having her leg amputated, because of medical complications induced by her long-term addiction to alcohol. However, now six months sober, Darcy is full of hope and positivity. She said, ‘I like life, I finally feel safe’. Life has been hard for Darcy; she experienced abuse, loss, addiction and exploitation, yet has reached a point where she can reflect on what happened, move on and is ready to tell her story.
Darcy’s hardships began when she was just nine months old when her mother placed her and her two-year-old brother into temporary foster care. The siblings eventually returned to their mother, but the situation took a dark turn when Darcy’s mother met her stepfather, who subjected Darcy to abuse. Her brother Mike witnessed it all, the siblings returned to foster care when Darcy was 5 and Mike was 7. The last thing Darcy remembers her mum saying is “Mike, you are to take care of your little sister.” The two went to a few children’s homes over the years. When Darcy turned 16, she was no longer eligible to stay in the care system and had no choice but to move into a hostel. She found it challenging to adapt to life as an adult and struggled to cope without support.
Determined to start a new life, Darcy bought a one-way coach ticket from Norwich to London, where she found work at a shop and sofa surfed for a while. Whilst in London she had two children, however, raising them proved too much for her. Darcy struggled a lot with her mental health. Her daughter went to live with her paternal grandmother and Darcy put her son up for adoption. Returning to Norwich, Darcy reconnected with Mike, who by this time was struggling with a heroin addiction and was selling drugs. Darcy was completely against drugs, until one evening she got home after a heavy night of drinking with her friends and said to her brother. “I want to know what all the fuss it about with this stuff so let me try it.” Her brother refused but Darcy tried it anyway. In time, Darcy also became addicted to heroin. She said, “I was vulnerable, and I was drawn to it.” As their situation became increasingly desperate, Darcy turned to prostitution to make ends meet. They eventually lost their home and ended up on the streets together, sleeping rough and enduring the bitter cold throughout the winter months.
At 32 years old, Darcy discovered St Martins. Over the years, she stayed at almost all of St Martins’ hostels. With support, she eventually overcame her addiction to heroin but still battled with a drinking habit. At 50, Darcy secured a place at Webster Court, St Martins’ accommodation for people over 50 with a history of homelessness. Darcy has some medical issues, so the team at Webster Court provide personal care and arrange a nurse to visit her every day. Darcy said, “At some stage my foot will have to be amputated and I think that time is nearly up”. The team provide her with the daily care and support she needs, and after six months of sobriety, Darcy feels happier than ever.
Though she sometimes struggles with the memories of her past, Darcy has learned to live in the moment and appreciate the support she receives. Guided meditation and affirmations help her focus on the present and positive aspects of her life. She is grateful for the team at Webster Court, who have given her a new lease of life and inspire her to see her own potential.
“I have now been completely sober for six months. I have so much care and support from the team here. They are absolutely amazing. The best thing they do it promote my independence. They tell me I am capable of more than I think and it’s true. I am capable. I don’t know where I would be now if it wasn’t for Webster Court and the team. I like life now, I finally feel safe, and I love it here.”