I was brought up in a household where prescription medication and alcohol were a common sight, and the misuse of them an everyday occurrence.

Following an accident, I was in regular pain with my knees. I was put on painkillers, and before long I was taking more and more. I then discovered ibuprofen. I began taking these on the days when I had no medication left. I got married, and was taking them during my pregnancy.

Soon the addiction took control and I went to great lengths to get pills, tricking family members and friends into buying them. I was putting pills before my marriage and my daughter. Soon I had an ulcer and it burst in my bowel, causing a rupture and needing surgery. I developed a near fatal infection. It took me months to get out of danger.

Close up of smiling young mother and small preschooler daughter relax at home together watch funny cartoon on smartphone

I knew I needed help or I would lose everything. And so I went to Extern. They gave me an environment where I could talk freely, without judgement. They also told me some home truths that really stuck. That day, I decided to stop taking the ibuprofen.

It was hard, but Extern were always there for a chat or a meeting whenever I needed them. They even arranged for a meeting with a specialist to talk about the type of medication I was taking.

Extern supported me with trying to mend my bond with my daughter, helping us do activities together, like colouring.

Extern saved not just my life, but my family life. I owe my keyworker and Extern the world. They helped me to be a mother again, and that is the thing I wanted so much.

Heather (34), Reach Out