Posted on 01 April 2020
Born with drugs in her system, TikiTribe member Emma Bond found herself addicted to heroin and crack cocaine at a young age, which led to a life of crime, prison, and prostitution. Emma’s life changed 18 years ago when she got clean with the help of rehabilitation and treatment. She is now known locally as the ‘wacky leggings lady’ for her colourful Tikiboo collection. Read her story below:
“18 years ago I was a raving heroin and crack cocaine addict. I was born with drugs in my system which meant that I was dependent on drugs and experienced painful withdrawal symptoms as a baby. When I was 13 my dad passed away due to heroin, and despite my best efforts, I ended up being an addict as a young adult, which lead me to a life of crime, prison, and prostitution.
After my last visit to Holloway Prison, I applied for a residential rehab programme in Oxford where my older brother was also receiving treatment. This meant that straight after court, I left my mum, gran and everything I’d ever known, to start my new life and to get clean…
And I did it! I got clean!
During the residential rehab programme, I was lucky to meet my (now) husband who was also restarting his life. We have now been together for 17 years and married for 11 years. During our time together, we have stayed clean.
My husband and I now have 3 boys:
Darryl, 23, (from a previous relationship, who’s witnessed more than I care to say), Jack, 13, and Kobe, 9. It hasn't been easy. Jack was born with a congenital eye condition (cataracts) and after surgery, he lost over 90% of his sight in the past 4 years. This beautiful boy was also diagnosed with autism at the age of 3. My son Kobe is partially sighted and has seizures occasionally. Darryl was diagnosed with epilepsy 4 years ago but is managing it well with medication.
All of this has been really hard, and a few years ago, depression hit me like a sledgehammer to the chest. I didn’t know what to do, but I knew that using wasn’t an option anymore as I’d lost too many people to drugs.
I tried to blot the depression out with alcohol (I would drink a litre of Baileys a night).
I knew I had to be responsible, so I stopped the drink and I found food…and I was an absolute savage! I ate at every opportunity; if I was sad, happy, or tired, food was the answer. I crept up to nearly 18 stone, a size 22/24! (compared to when I was using heroin, only 6 stone and barely able to stand for my first prison sentence).
One day, I had a moment of realisation – I could no longer go out with my kids without the help of friends because I physically couldn’t cope. I was exhausted and knew that something needed to change.
I decided to cut out the crap and eat healthily. I lost 3 stone just through these changes to my diet! Then I found exercise. At first, I was anxious, and as I was a heavy smoker (my only “vice” which was sometimes difficult to control), I found it really hard to keep going during exercise.
Fast forward to today, I am a qualified Les Mills BODYCOMBAT instructor! I didn’t think I was good enough to be an instructor, but I gave it a go and I passed in September 2019!
I now have my little Les Mills crew and my Tikiboos are always an icebreaker in class with new people. I absolutely love my Tikis, and I know it sounds cheesy, but I find that I can pick a pair to match my mood depending on how I feel. If I choose Tikiboo Rainbows & Unicorns, then my class know that I am chilled… if I’m wearing Tikiboo Fiery Tiger, they know it’s about to go down! I’m known locally as the wacky leggings lady and I love it!
Exercise has meant that I have been able to come off my antidepressants, as I now run on feel-good endorphins! The best part about all of this is that through weight loss and exercise, I have found Tikiboo and through the TikiTribe community found some of the best support and made some of the best friends.”
If Emma's story has inspired you please feel free to share it with your friends and family. And if you have a Tikiboo story to share, please email firstname.lastname@example.org to feature on the blog.