THAT old religious saying “there but for the grace of God go I” is not usually used about drug addicts.
Falling into the trap of drugs is something many see as a choice someone makes, rather than an accident which could happen to anyone.
Marie Maloney of Raunds admits she was naïve when at the age of 14 someone she trusted gave her two lines of drugs.
She had taken cannabis before and had no idea as she took this strange new drug that it was in fact heroin.
She explains the taking of heroin was rife in Raunds and teenagers would stand around in the street waiting for their drugs.
She recalled: “No-one told me I would be addicted. I was totally hooked by the time I was 16.”
Pocket money from odd jobs that others may have spent on magazines or music was used to buy heroin.
At her lowest point, Marie’s weight plummeted to six stone as she went on the starvation diet which can so often partner a heroin addiction.
Marie is now 29 and has just published an autobiographical work entitled Each Time My Eyes Open, which tracks her 15-year battle with the class A substance.
She said: “I have had detoxes, been in and out of clinics and basically I decided to write my story about how you can come through this and out the other end. I don’t think a lot of people understand it and I thought this was the best way of describing how it is.
“It is like an illness; while you are on it you need the drug to make yourself feel better.”
Marie’s mother, who caught her taking drugs, realised her daughter had a problem and resolved to help her.
The rehabilitation efforts Marie attempted in the following years ranged from the old-fashioned ‘cold turkey’ method to expensive private treatment to install implants in her body to prevent the heroin from taking effect.
In 2006 Marie hit a low when, in order to fund her habit, she decided to sell some drugs. She was caught and given a year-long prison sentence for intent to supply.
Although Marie did go back on to heroin after coming out of prison, she is now on methadone and feeling confident that her recovery is permanent.
She is planning to return to college to do her GCSEs, has written a book on wedding planning on a budget and is currently writing a third, fictional book.
She said: “I have made my mistakes and learned from them and although I have had a terrible past, all I can do is look to the future.”
To meet Marie Maloney – pretty, smiley, happily married in a cosy home and looking forward to carving a future for herself – it is difficult to imagine she was ever in trouble with drugs.
But, as Marie herself points out, there are too many stereotypes linked to drug taking.
One thing she hopes to achieve with her new book is to help inspire other young people into recovery and to discuss what she sees as a lack of suitable help for drug addicts.
She said: “I would like to see more drug rehabilitation centres opening and I have written in my book about the prison side of things too.
“They are putting people into prison who really don’t know what they are doing; I found there are lots of mentally ill people walking around in there who need to be in a mental institution.
“I would like there to be more rehab centres. Implants are so expensive and people on drugs need more help, although I know funding is an issue with the centres.
“My husband and his family have been my rock over the past few years. I think I’m just hoping to open people’s eyes and if I can change anything it will be worth it.”
Each Time My Eyes Open is available on Amazon.