“I promised myself to never look up my daughter while I was still under the influence of drugs. I knew I couldn’t be the mother she deserved so I preferred to be absent from her life. I didn’t want to hurt her. Right after I got clean I met up with her. We sat down for a few hours and I told her my entire story. I wanted her to know everything so we had the opportunity to start all over. It was emotional but she opened herself up to me. She listened and showed a lot of empathy. She is a wonderful person and two years ago we both got this tattoo. It’s the date of that day when, after 16 years, we saw each other again..” (5/5)

“I had been to rehab several times through the years but I never managed to stay clean. I remember the first time I went to rehab there was a woman named Vera, who was a former addict herself who was now working at the facility. I was so inspired by her and the fact that she managed to get her life and was now even helping other addicts. She was an inspiration to me. During my entire addiction I had never forgotten about Vera. After I got raped I decided to get myself to a rehab. I stayed in there for one year. One of the first things I noticed in the rehab was a poster announcing they were looking for former addicts to talk and educate children at schools on the dangers of drugs. I remembered Vera and suddenly I knew I my purpose. After a year I got out of the facility and now I’m an educator myself. ” (4/5)

“I would do anything to get my heroin fixx. One time I had a bit of heroin left in a pipe. I couldn’t get it out of the pipe so I tried to cut the pipe open with a knife. I kept trying and trying and accidentally I cut through my tendon. My entire hand was bleeding but I didn’t care. I just wanted the drugs. When I went to the hospital the next day, they weren’t able to recover it anymore. The drugs were controlling my life. Just like in 2007 I was offered money and heroin by two men. I had a bad feeling about it but I was so addicted that I got into the car with them anyways. They drove me a bit outside of the city and took me to an apartment in where there were two other man. To be honest I still don’t know what exactly happened but they raped me. They beat me up and they threatened me with a knife telling me they would kill me. The kicked me off the stairs and later I was found by a bus driver and he brought me to the hospital. I was so scared I could no longer work on the streets. If I wanted to keep living, I knew something had to change..” (3/5)

“When I turned 18 I met an Englishman who had recently opened a bar. He asked me to work for him and for the first time in my life I felt that I belonged somewhere. I was working day and night but never before I had been so happy. Finally I had a purpose. After a few months a client offered me my first line of cocaine. In the next month they offered me more. I was using cocaine every night. I had no idea about the consequences of drugs. Until one night that I hadn’t been using which made me feel extremely tired. That is when I realized that I couldn’t function in the bar without drugs. One month later the bar went bankrupt and I had nowhere to go. Meanwhile I had fallen in love with a Colombian man. I was using cocaine and he was a dealer. When I lost my job he asked me if I was interested in making a trip to Colombia to smuggle drugs. I wasn’t aware of any danger, really I had no idea. I smuggled drugs for him a few times and everything went well until I got arrested in France while I was pregnant with his child. I was handcuffed to the bed while I gave birth to my daughter. The mother of my best friend picked up my daughter when she was 10 months old and adopted her. In this french prison I had no access to drugs. When I got out I was clean but I always say that when getting clean is not your own choice it doesn’t count because for you will use again. The moment I arrived in Amsterdam, drugs was the first thing on my mind. I had nowhere to go so I went straight to the “Red light district”. Slowly I started using heroin and became a prostitute.“ (2/5)

“My mother would tell me I had to be grateful she hadn’t aborted me. My relationship with my mother was difficult. She was addicted to medication and wanted to control my every move. Whenever I visited my best friend’s house I noticed that she got cuddled a lot. My mother barely showed any affection. My best friend’s mum noticed that my legs were covered with stains. That was because my mother would give me two tiny little towels per week to clean myself. I remember that my best friend’s mother would put me under the shower and made sure I was clean. I was twelve when I accidentally discovered that my father wasn’t my biological father. I always suspected something like that but still it was a shock for me to have been lied to for so many years.. My mother took me out of school when I was fourteen. She had managed to convince the Child Welfare Council that she would home school me but she never did. So during the day I would hang out on the street. I would steal things like make up, not for myself but for other kids. I thought that if I gave them presents, they would become my friends.” (1/5)