September 2006

Addiction for me was much more than taking drugs, it was how I felt, how I dealt with things. It started off as drugs. It involved committing crime, hurting people, hurting myself; the lifestyle that I led and the false image and ultimately it involved jail.
This carried on from age thirteen until my last sentence in HMP Lancaster in 2005. For twenty years whilst in jails I got physically fit, but mentally and emotionally I was a mess. I always tried to change things on the outside but I had no answer or solution to the inside. This is was what my life revolved around from the age of thirteen – jail, crime drugs. I didn’t achieve anything in life. I always ended up in jail.

I think I was introduced to the 12 Steps rehab.whilst I was in Lancaster. In the past I always knew there was something not right,my make-up was not right and I resigned myself to the fact that all my life was good for was jail, crime and drugs. The 12 Step programme at Lancaster blew me away at first, it opened my eyes, it opened my heart to feelings and emotions that I did not know were there. It opened me up to me. I found good points in me and bad ones which I am okay with. They talk of a spiritual awakening with the 12 Steps and I did find that at Lancaster. If I could put it in to one sentence – I found a solution. Something that I had searched for, something that I didn’t know or even realized existed.

Whilst I was in jail I did a lot of work on myself. I talked about a lot of issues from the past, issues that I deal with on a day- to- day basis. I took a lot of responsibility,which was a massive thing for me. I was due to get out and I realized that I needed to be reintegrated into society. In the past I was let out of jail and the first thing I did was to take drugs.My past experience of getting out of jail in the past was that I never had the support. I had nowhere to go. I always ended up going back to my old haunts and ultimately I did what I’d always done, so I got what I’d always got, I got back into the gutter. I realized that when I got out of Lancaster I’d need the aftercare even though I’d done a lot of work on myself I knew that I needed that 2nd stage. I needed support and the support network. I was told about T.H.O.M.A.S. and introduced to it by a CARAT worker – Kevin. I arranged to come to T.H.O.M.A.S. on a day visit and as soon as I stepped through the door it felt like a family atmosphere. There were people there who similar to myself were going nowhere in life, who needed a new start. That appealed to me. I knew I had done a lot of work but I needed that reintegration .

That is what T.H.O.M.A.S. is showing me now, how to to go shopping, how to pay bills, how to manage everyday things. I’m given responsibility, freedom which is something that I’ve never had and for me personally the support that is around T.H.O.M.A.S., around Blackburn is massive.My past has shown me that I cannot do it by myself. I need the support network.

T.H.O.M.A.S. is like a big family; if I’ve got problems I talk about them; if I need direction or guidance there’s always people around. There is still an aftercare Stage 2 programme,where slowly but surely I will get more responsibility. It’s a slow process and I am scared of going back out there and doing what I’ve done before and that’s why I’m at T.H.O.M.A.S


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