This New Year brings New Hopes that freedom is coming our way. The stuff that dreams are made of – meeting friends for a cuppa, going to the cinema, not hearing endless pandemic doom and gloom – bring it on. I’m feeling quietly confident that this summer will be more sociable and loads more fun than the last one. Let’s hope I’m right! What about our addicts in 2021? What can they look forward to? Some will decide to get the help they need but for many it’ll be same old same old. I’d love to think my son Ryan will be in the first category but I won’t be holding my breath.

Ryan’s in prison again, having been sent down at the beginning of December. He got 24 weeks, of which he’ll serve half so he’ll be out and about in a few weeks’ time. I’ll be honest, I’ve felt a lot of relief since he was jailed because I know he’s warm and fed. As a mum, one of the most painful things, worrying he hasn’t got the basics of life – food, water and shelter – has kept me awake at night for years. 3am, it’s freezing outside, it’s lashing it down with rain, wondering if he’s warm and safe – I’ve been there too many times. I know prisons are full of drugs and violence but these days I block that out in favour of the positives. Every time he’s come out (I think it’s his fifth time but I’ve lost count), he has put weight on thanks to three square meals a day.

How things change. 2008, the first time he was in court facing a jail sentence (which ended up being suspended), I was terrified that he would be locked up. Thinking about a million things that could happen to him inside literally brought me to my knees. Here I am 13 years later feeling his short holiday, courtesy of Her Majesty, is a sort of respite that we can both enjoy. That shows how the trauma and heartache of someone else’s addiction alters the fundamental person – permanently. I’m not sure this New Year will bring New Hopes where my son is concerned but you never know. Watch this space………….