Paul is one of our residents at our substance free house and this is his recovery journey told in his own words.
I had a very unsettled child hood as there were frequent housing moves and I was being brought up around substances and behaviour not suitable for children to be exposed to.
I found that I had trouble fitting in at school. I was excluded from school in my first year of high school and had to be home schooled, due to wanting to be the class fool.
I ended up going to live with my Nan, which was a positive move for me as she was a lovely lady but was not strong enough to control me.
I was 12 years old when I first got into substances: lighter fuel, glue and gas.
I stopped this when my cousin died doing the same thing but unfortunately I then started to drink and take amphetamines.
I thought that this was helping with my confidence but the negative side was that I started to commit crime under the influence.
This was usually taking cars without the owner’s consent, too many times to count.
I first served a sentence at the age of 13 and then went on to serve many, many more. I often offended knowing that I would be sent to prison as this was better than living on the street.
I am now 40 and have only ever spent 2 birthdays and Christmases out of prison.
I think that the best move I ever made was moving into Open Doors substance free house and engaging with the support on offer and working with Voices.
I have now been out of prison for 6 months this is the longest I have ever been out of prison and believe that it is a result of the input from these two organisations.
I now volunteer at Open Door doing Friday and Monday drop ins as well as sorting things in the food/furniture and clothes bank and doing collections.
This keeps my mind occupied, it also helps me to give something back as all that I have ever done in the past is take.
Everything is good and I am now looking forward to a positive future.