I was 12 and it was just another day. I was doing my paper round in the rain and I was soaking wet when one of the doors opened. A man asked me if I’d like to come in and have a cup of tea. I was glad of a warm. I didn’t think anything about the bits in the cup at the end. It wasn’t until I was walking home and the lamp-posts started trying to bite me that I knew I’d had mushroom tea.
Then I tried the bong and it was like nothing I’d done before. By the time I was 15 my mum and dad couldn’t take any more of me and I lived on the streets for a while, taking all sorts. I moved back home and got work. I was earning more money than I was used to and I really hit the drugs and drink and was fighting all the time. I got cut up bad one day and when my mum called the doctor I lost it with him. I ended up in a mental hospital for 6 months.
I came out of there to a hostel and met my first partner. We lost a baby and I couldn’t stop feeling it was down to me because of all the drugs. I talked to my dad and we grew close like never before but then he died and my world fell apart. I hit the drugs again bad.
Then my partner had a little girl. She was my world. When we had a little boy my partner gave me an ultimatum: us or the drugs and fighting. I ignored her and kept doing what I was doing then I got home one day and she’d left me. My mum begged me to stop too but I loved the drugs and the fighting.
I was out of control and when one of my dealers asked me to do a job for him I didn’t think nothing of it. All I had to do was ram someone off the road. I did it. 500 pills. Lovely.
Next day my kids’ mum phoned me asking me about my car. Turned out it was her cousin I’d put in hospital. I lied. Told her it wasn’t me. I told her I’d sold my car. I had to sell it quickly but when the police traced the car to the boy I’d sold it to I had to shut him up. I beat him up. That got me 6 months in jail. That’s when I started to smoke the brown (heroin).
When I got out I moved into a flat with a new partner. We had a baby and for a while I gave up most of the drugs but we needed money so I went back to work on the doors. I was soon as bad as I’d been before. I thought I had it hidden but my partner found out and made me choose between her and the baby and my work. I loved my job and the drugs too much so I moved out.
Then one night my head went like never before. I was out for blood. I went to see my mate and he started laughing at me. Bang, bang, I had to knock him out. Bang, bang. I broke his nose and jaw. He started coming back for more. I wasn’t taking any risks. Bang, bang, I couldn’t stop.
I put him in a coma.
I got 5 years IPP.
I was in prison and in a mess.
Then I met Lionel and started going to church. A man called Steve came in to speak and he told us what his life had been like and how he’d let the Lord into it. One of the church group prayed for me and it was like the best high I ever had. I asked Jesus into my life and my life turned round for the better.
My mum died last year before she had seen me beat the drugs but I know my mum and dad are looking down on me. I never told my dad I loved him. Last week I phoned my sister and told her I loved her. She was suspicious, ‘What you up to, Joe?’ but I understand now how much they mean to me. I know what’s important. It was all about money before.
It’s been a hard journey. The hardest thing I’ve ever done. Soul-searching. I didn’t do emotions but I love myself now. Out of a really bad situation some good has come. I get laughed at on the wings but I don’t care. I’d rather talk to someone now than fight them.
I’m hoping I’ll get into Teen Challenge when I get out. I’ve got so many plans. I want to help others meet Jesus. He’s my best mate, the one who’s always there for me and who really does answer prayers.