More than just a statistic
With a drug addict mum and dad, experts say Kirkholt Community Church member Adelle Howells should have life issues. But her faith has proved them wrong.
In the UK, 3.6 million children have parents with drug or alcohol problems. Statistically, these children are seven times more likely to develop similar problems themselves. Statistics also say children from broken families are nearly five times more likely to suffer damaging mental troubles. And adults who moved frequently as kids have fewer high-quality relationships.
At five years old I walked into the kitchen to find my mum going cold turkey on the floor and all I could think about was finding her medicine (that’s what I called it back then). If I could find that then I could make my mum better. You see my mums an addict.
I was born in Manchester and went to my first primary school in Old Trafford, the first of 13 different schools I’d end up going to. I didn’t think my life was any different to anyone else’s until I was about ten and we were living in Radcliffe. That’s when I realised my mum was an addict. My dad was an addict too but he didn’t live with us. He and my mum split before I was born, so he used to come an see me every now and then until eventually, he stopped.
Drugs, alcohol and violence were always on the scene when I was growing up. In my first year of high school, social services came to speak to me. Mum had got herself into another violent relationship it was then that we moved into Gypsy Lane Hostel in Rochdale. It wasn’t the first time we’d been in a hostel. That’s when I started smoking and by the time I was 14 I ended up pregnant.
I wasn’t naive about sex because at the age of 12 I had been sexually abused for over 12 months. By the time I was 17 I was back in Gypsy Lane hostel but this time with my own child and for the same reason my mum was there (running from a violent relationship). I was following in my mum’s footsteps and had even started taking other drugs like speed and ecstasy and I dabbled in a bit of coke.
I left that hostel and after 9 years of not seeing my dad I got back in touch with him and he came to stay with me. It was while he was staying at mine that he asked me to go and score some drugs for him. I didn’t want to go but he kept on at me, so eventually I went. Later that night he took those drugs and they triggered off a brain haemorrhage. I came downstairs the next morning to find my dad dead on the floor!
The drugs I had scored for him had killed him. Death by misadventure they called it. That was the worst experience of my life and I was so consumed with guilt. Nine years later I was still consumed with guilt and by now had 2 children and was living on my own. During this time I met a girl called Jo and she took me to a conference called 'Fixed' run by a guy called Barry Woodward who heads up an organisation called Proclaim Trust.
On 23 March 2013, I arrived at 'Fixed' and it blew me away. So many times during that day I felt God was speaking to me but I just didn’t move, not until the final time in the evening. I walked to the front and I prayed a prayer asking God to come into my life.
I became a Christian. I felt the guilt and shame I had lived with for years just lift! I started going to church and within six months I was baptised. Ten months after becoming a Christian I started working voluntarily for Barry at Proclaim Trust. Now I even get a wage - in fact, I’m actually Barry’s PA.
Statistics say I should have problems with addiction, suffer damaging mental troubles and have a slim chance of a high-quality relationship! Well, I have NO addiction, NO mental troubles and I’ve just celebrated my second wedding anniversary with my wonderful husband.
Who would have thought that when I walked into that kitchen at five years of age to find my mum going cold turkey on the floor that I would now be writing this article. That I would be telling you about the ultimate medicine I found in Jesus - and how he freed me from guilt and showed me that with God we are more than just a statistic?