I live on the Other Island, on the Isle of Man.
I’m a 54-year old divorcee, a single mother of two gorgeous daughters – twins, aged 13. My parents have passed on and I’ve no siblings, so by nature I’m an introvert and isolator – but thank God, I’ve been blessed with some terrific friends, and I hope I’m learning to be a good one myself.
My girls and I see very little of each other, as they were removed into foster care when I was battling with alcohol addiction – a period in which I slipped and slid numerous times, and something I’ll always regret for their sakes. I’m well over two years sober now, but we’re able to see each other only six times a year. I keep reminding myself that we’re all three of us alive and well, know that we love each other, and have hope.
I’ve experienced physical, emotional and sexual abuse, though sometimes I didn’t recognise it as such; I’ve also battled with abuse at the hands of public authorities and others entrusted with our family’s care. I’m learning a lot about forgiveness and compassion.
I have been fortunate to have access to lots of help, when struggling with depression, alcohol addiction, and being unable to make ends meet – though I am lucky in that I have a warm home to call my own. I’ve been very well off and very broke – so I know well how easy it is to be oblivious to the struggles of the poor when you’re comfortable yourself: back when I was earning six figures I didn’t know what I didn’t know, and it was only when we were reduced to being fed by the Salvation Army’s foodbank and our friends, and struggled for bus fares to get the girls to school, that I understood the relentless tiredness and anxiety that grinding poverty brings. Each small setback or expense seemed insurmountable, and I was ashamed of being unable to do better for my girls: ashamed to ask for help.
I work now with vulnerable people who are going through difficult times, usually through homelessness, and also help facilitate recovery groups for people battling similar addictions to the ones I used to struggle with.
I’m a Christian and grateful to God for my sobriety, health, the love and support I get from friends, church and professionals. I hang on to two things:
– for purpose in my life, what some refer to as “Micah’s challenge”: do justice, love mercy and walk humbly with your God.
– for hope in my future, for me and my daughters, Old Testament prophet Jeremiah’s account of the Exile and its ending. I’ll explain a little of this in ‘my story’.