Carl

I moved around a lot growing up because my dad was in the army. It was just me and him from a young age. My mum died when I was 11 and my siblings were much older than me. I was first introduced to drugs by my sister’s boyfriend. He was a tidy taker of heroin which I didn’t realise until later. It was him who got me into computers at the age of 19. Eventually he introduced me to heroin too.

I found a good job after school. I met a girl and ended up moving in with her. Work was good. Money was good. By 21, I had a daughter. I was able to provide her with private schooling. I visited my sister and her partner often and scored every now and then. I had lots of money so that wasn’t a problem. I went from job to job; content and disillusioned. I didn’t realise that I wasn’t happy.

At 27 I got caught up in the criminal side of heroin. I started moving gear. Everything got big and scary very fast. My relationship fell apart. I had nowhere to stay and the police were after me. I ended up living on the streets. All the lies were catching up with me and affecting those who were in my life. They were getting hurt.

I thought I could change but it was then that I met my life partner. She was a drunk. I loved her and she pulled me back into my previous life. I started to move gear again. I also began to drink heavily and I took a huge amount of heroin. I ended up with a ten and a half year sentence. I was waiting to die.

Towards the end of my sentence I decided to come off methadone. I was weaned off slowly; an ounce a week for six months. I got clean. I started doing courses in prison to keep up to date with my IT skills. I also did a business programme which involved learning employment skills. My day of release was coming up. Then, I found Nehemiah. I came here straight from prison. When I first arrived, I felt lost. I wanted to know what these people wanted from me. Why were they trying to help me? I wanted to run but it would mean that I would be recalled straight back to prison.

I realise now how much this place has helped me. You do not realise what you have learnt until you begin to use it on a daily basis. If I couldn’t care about myself, I couldn’t care about anyone. This is simply the clutter of my past. I am conscious to use what I have learnt and recognise the positive outcomes. I slip up sometimes but then when I walk away, I realise my mistakes. Nehemiah is here to guide and support me. When I go home to my partner to visit, I am calm. I am much more stable.

I can’t afford to lose what I have achieved these last few months. I hate heroin. I wasn’t taking it in the end because I wanted it but because I needed it. I am being helped in life. I am taking courses at the moment and working part time for a local IT business. I get to go home and visit my family regularly. I want to do everything properly. It is exciting and scary at the same time especially as I will soon be ready to move on.