Drunk at 13, pregnant at 15, on valium at 16 then heroin at 18. I never thought I would ever have a life like I have now
Mum hails charity for saving her
As she beams from ear to ear surrounded by her beautiful family, you would never believe that just eight years ago Julie McAddock was a drug addict living only for her next fix.
Drinking heavily by the age of 13, pregnant at 15, homeless and addicted to valium at 16 and injecting heroin at 18, the mother of four’s life reads like a scene from Trainspotting.
For many, there would have been no way back from such a hellish existence.
But one morning, after her kids had been taken into care and she had spent yet another night shooting up, Julie decided enough was enough.
Through addiction charity Teen Challenge, she was given a place in a Welsh rehab where she spent two-and-a-half years getting clean and discovering her own self-worth.
Grateful for the help and support she received, Julie returned to Scotland in 2012, determined to make a difference to the lives of other addicts.
The 34-year- old and her husband Ricky, 38, now run Street Connect, a charity who help get drug addicts into rehab.
Julie, who is mum to Zoe 18, Marc, 17, Ross, two, and Gemma, one, says her story is proof that with faith and the right support, a hopeless life can be transformed into a life of hope.
She said: “I grew up in a loving home in Erskine, near Glasgow, with a mum and dad who loved me and worked hard to give me, my brother and sisters everything.
“At 12, I started going off the rails. I was drinking, smoking and getting suspended from school. I hated myself, had no selfconfidence and felt out of place.
“At 13 and 14, I could not go a day without alcohol and I started smoking hash. I did awful things and if I woke up and remembered what I had done, I would drink again in a bid to forget.
“At 15, I found out I was pregnant with Zoe. I managed to stay clean for a while but it wasn’t long before I was back on the valium so it’s no surprise that at 17 I was pregnant with my son Marc.”
Julie, who now lives with her family in Govan, Glasgow, added: “At 18, I started smoking heroin and it wasn’t long before I was injecting it.
“For the next eight years, my life was a cycle of getting clean then relapsing; of having my kids with me, then taken from me by social services. My life was hopeless andnd I was so lost. .
“Then one ne morning, afterf IhIhaddbbeen up theh wholeh le night, I prayed to God for his help and decided to take action.”
Julie contacted June Ross, from Teen Challenge, who she had met two years before when her mum had been trying to get her help.
The former Park Mains High School pupil said: “On June 30, 2009, I went into Hope House, the charity’s rehab centre in south Wales. I spent two-and-a-half years there and grew up. In January 2012, I felt it was the right time to come back to Scotland. In February 2013, I got married to Ricky, who I met in rehab.
“Marc and Zoe, who had been staying with my parents, came to live with us. I never thought I’d ever have a life like I have now.” Julie and Ricky registered their Street Connect project as a charity in 2014 and spend their time helping disadvantaged people in Glasgow.
As well as drop-in cafes in Possilpark, Glasgow city centre and Govan, the couple fund a move- on flat for people coming out of rehab, do outreach work on the streets and offer a wide range of counselling services.
On September 30, Julie and Marc will do the Bank of Scotland Great Scottish Run 10K to raise funds for Teen Challenge.
She said: “I owe my life and happiness to June Ross and Teen Challenge.
“The 10K is a great way for us to give something back.”
My life was hopeless and I was so lost. Then one morning I decided to take action
GRATEFUL Julie with her family Pictures Victoria Stewart DEVOTED Ricky and Julie last week and, far right, on their wedding day. Right, Julie on heroin