Sept 2002

About to a be a Dad
Matty has been visiting our Drop-in Centre for many years. He feels that it is better his rehabilitation takes place outside of Blackburn. As an agency we are able to fund his travel to Sheffield where he is waiting now to be admitted in to rehabilitation unit. He shares his thoughts with us.

  My name is Alan Paul Matthews but my friends call me Matty. I have been visiting T.H.O.M.A.S.’s Drop-in Centre for about eight years. For the first few years I came to the centre for some food, a cup of tea and a chat. There have been occasions when that has been what has kept me going. I have been depressed in the past, starved and thinking about doing silly things. Father Jim and a nice lady called Elaine have helped to pick me up. They helped me out with a wedding ceremony. They got us a cake and everything.

I’m going into a rehabilitation centre. My wife is already in rehab up in Sheffield. She’s six months pregnant and we are trying to get her into the family unit as soon as possible. I went for an assessment and they’ve said I can move in on the 12th of August if not before. Hopefully, my wife will be moving into the same rehab as me. It’s a place called Broomfield in Sheffield. You have a structured morning and afternoon but your evenings are free. There are educational groups, counselling groups, drama classes and computer courses etc. They also do a parent skills course, which I’ve asked for, because this is our first child. When I got shown around the rehab yesterday it was very tidy and clean. They’ve got a nursery in there with professional people to look after your children.

This is the first time I feel really positive about the future. I know that my wife is clean and when the baby is born that it’ll be clean as well. That is the main priority. A lot of people keep their girlfriends clean until they’ve had their baby and then go back to it, but that definitely isn’t going to be the case for my wife and me. When the course is over we aren’t coming back to Blackburn. The only thing I’m taking with me besides clothes is a portable TV.

Since I’ve met my wife I’ve learnt that I’m not the only person in the world. Before her I didn’t really recognise anyone else as being important, other than my mother and my niece. I didn’t have a conscience. I didn’t feel guilty about the people I stole off. Since being with my wife even the junkies I hang around with say they’ve noticed a big difference in me. Even down to seeing an injured cat in the road – I cry. Not so long ago a saw a cat that had been run over and I emptied the food out of our shopping bag, put the cat in and left the food by the side of the road. I then took it to the RSPCA. Before I met my wife there’s no way I would have done that.


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