Former heroin addict Sarah Rhind reveals how football saved her life

Sarah Rhind

Hamilton Academical’s Sarah Rhind has opened up about how she battled drug addiction and how the death of her father motivated her to turn her life around.

Speaking to BBC Sport, the Scottish footballer revealed all in an inspiring video. She emphasised that she wouldn’t be here now, had it not been for the impact of playing football.

“Football is everything to me. It’s literally saved my life,” she stressed. “I wouldn’t be sitting here talking to you [BBC] if I didn’t have football to turn to.”

Growing up, Rhind never felt like she had a place in life, and turned to self-harm without telling anyone. Her depression only spiralled and by the age of 18, she confessed she was addicted to heroin.

It was during this time that football proved to be an escape from a life that seemed as though it were falling apart.



“It’s not always been a straight road for me. I struggled to feel like I fit in anywhere, to feel like I belonged and was part of anything… I always felt like I was an outsider looking in.

“I was like 13 or 14 when I started self-harming because I was just looking for a way to escape my mind and my thoughts and my feelings.

“And then that kind of just developed and then I turned to drink, drugs and at 18 I was a heroin addict.

But the one constant thing I had in my life, that I felt good about was football. It got me through some really dark times in really dark years.

Then in 2013, at a time when Rhind was already battling addiction, her life was turned upside down when her father died in a car accident.

It was after this, however, that Rhind committed to turning her life around. She wanted to be proud of herself and also wanted her family to be proud as well.

“It ripped my world apart and I was like, I can’t do this to my family anymore,” she admitted. “I can’t keep putting them through this… I have to start making my family proud of me again.”

This led her to discover Phoenix Futures rehab centre, where she was able to get clean. It was from there, that Rhind re-discovered her love for football and stumbled across Street Soccer Scotland –– an organisation bringing football to socially disadvantaged groups across the country.

“So I just went and got involved and just loved it,” Rhind recalls. “Structure, routine, a sense of belonging, a sense of purpose were the biggest things I probably got out of it… and I believed in myself for the first time really, in a way as if I am worth this and I can do this.”

Just two years after her father’s death, Rhind competed for Scotland at the Homeless World Cup. She now works for the organisation, alongside playing in goal for Hamilton in the SWPL 1.

“It’s incredible. They’re just so inspiring and I get it and there’s just that connection because I’ve been there and done that and now I can be an example to them.”

If you want to find out about the amazing work Phoenix Futures do and how you can donate, check out their website here:

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