Calderdale woman’s tale of hope inspires over battling addiction and mental health issues

Kelly Firth
Kelly Firth

A courageous woman who turned her life around after decades of drink and drug abuse has become a recovery champion for others.

Kelly Firth, from Illingworth in Halifax, wants to help people who are battling addiction and mental health issues by sharing her inspiring story.

Many who have seen her posts about her journey on social media have got in touch to ask for her advice.

“Now I’m doing great, people message me on Facebook and ask for advice and ask how I got clean,” she said.

Having lost a staggering 30 friends to suicide or drink and drug addiction, Kelly is desperate to prove there is hope.

“I believe that you have to have gone through it to understand what the feeling is,” she said.

“You think you’re going to feel that way forever - that it’s permanent but it’s not and I’ve lived to see that.

“I’m living proof that there is life beyond that feeling.”

A troubled childhood led to Kelly starting drinking at 15 and, soon after, taking drugs.

Her life spiralled out of control and she spent the next two decades in a world of violence, alcohol abuse, and drug and prescription medicines addiction.

It was following a suicide attempt when she was 38 that she found the courage she needed to change her situation.

She said she was determined to see her children - aged 23 and 13 - and four grandchildren grow older.

“Everything was getting out of hand,” she said. “I knew that if I carried on then I wouldn’t be here long enough to see my children grow up.

”I couldn’t leave my family. I love them too much.”

She went cold turkey and now, at 41, is three years sober.

“If I can help just one person then that will make me happy,” she said.

Kelly is hoping to soon be working with a group of teenagers to help educate them about the dangers of addiction and wants to start a mental health support group for women in Halifax.

To see Kelly’s posts or get in touch, visit www.facebook.com/kelly.firth.334.

The Samaritans offers support to people who are struggling to cope via its helpline 116 123 or you can email jo@samartians.org.