Since joining Nehemiah I have been able to make a fresh start. I have made new friends and I have discovered a love of cycling!
Life was not easy for me when I was growing up. I was a very angry child. I did not know my father and my mother had health issues that made looking after me and my sister difficult for her. I spent a period of time in foster care. I struggled at school with dyslexia, which made me difficult and disruptive, and by the age of seven I was sent to attend anger management classes.
I remember feeling angry and frustrated as I was growing up, never feeling good enough. At 16 I moved out as my mother found me too difficult and I spent nearly ten years sofa surfing at friend’s houses.
All of my life I have worried about what people think of me. Do they think I am annoying? When I was drunk I was worried people would be scared of me. I realise now how my insecurity led me into a world of alcohol, drugs and crime as a teenager. I thought I was having fun with my friends but I was actually using alcohol and cannabis to block out my feelings of anger, guilt and shame. I started stealing in order to afford my habit. I spent my late teens getting into trouble with the police and going in and out of prison.
My feelings of shame and guilt grew worse as I spent more time drinking and stealing. To feel better, I drank more. I wanted to feel numb. It wasn’t long before drinking was the only way that I knew how to function.
In my early twenties I tried to give up drinking on my own. I went cold turkey and would quickly relapse. After some professional support to stop drinking, I found out about Nehemiah and had an interview, was accepted and joined the programme. I very quickly felt like I was part of a big family. Since I was 16 I have never had a home. Now I have one. I have support from staff and others who are further along in their recovery.
At Nehemiah, we are treated like adults. I have a fixed address, a home. I have found a hope. Other hostels are like horror houses; there are fights, drink, they are dirty. Here it is different. We get on. We are friends.
I have gone through the programme and I am now living at one of the second-stage houses. I have been here a year and a half. During my time here I have managed to write out a business plan and receive a young person’s grant to set up my own business. My business is now going well and I am managing my own finances. I am close to my sister and mother, and I see them regularly. I have a future now.