My life at the moment is the same as anyone elses, it has it’s up’s and downs, sometimes more of one and less of the other but if I keep chipping away, the up’s and down even out in the end. I sometimes feel that I haven’t really made as much progress as I possibly could have or should have but then I remind myself of where I’ve come from. I have gratitude today, something that I never really had before and my life has substance and meaning.
I’ve been back to school and knuckled down to get myself educated and have quite an impressive list of qualifications under my belt that support what I do for a living, which will come as no surprise really….I work in the drug field. I work for a harm reduction organisation who campaign and advocate for people with substance issues and all the trimmings that come with that lifestyle. I’m passionate about what I do and my past is my best asset when trying to reach out to those hard to reach individuals and disadvantaged groups on our streets. I try and advocate for change at all levels of recovery in the community and break down the barriers that stand in the way of people living productive and fulfilling lives. I’m not saying that people who use substances can’t live full lives, I’m actually saying the opposite, but the odds are stacked against them being given the same chances and options as someone who doesn’t use. Addiction is not an isolated problem, it’s reach runs deep and affects individuals and communities in many ways, housing, health, social networking, employment, criminal activity, families and any other significant others, and, can create marginalised and isolated groups of human beings within those communities of those who need support to address the stigma attached to them and forge a path through the ignorance and stereotypical belief system that society seems to project onto those less fortunate among us. We must explore, expose, educate and eliminate the belief that substance users hold the monopoly on all that is wrong within our communities.
I have a beautiful partner who has given me a beautiful daughter, who has just turned three. She is my little angel and I learn so much from her already. She has such a big personality, plenty of character, a wicked sense of humour and brings the sunshine to my day. I love them both to bits. My partner is curently going through the stessful process of achieving a law degree and so far has passed all her exams with flying colours. Sometimes I am in awe of her and the potential she has. I am proud of her and the direction in which she has taken her life. Who would have thought it eh, I’ve been a criminal all my life, not a very good one I’ll admit, and here I am in a relationship with a prospective top barrister on the law circuit. Her interests are representing the human and civil rights of vilified groups and she has a very strong commitment to social justice.
I have also made contact with my other children and have quite a good relationship with them albeit limited due to the distance between us but it is still contact. I have a daughter who is 22 and about to make me a grandad in four weeks time, a son who moved in with me last year and has now got his own place, is self employed and doing well, and another son who I have still to meet which I am looking forward to. I am proud of them all and am so happy to have them back in my life.
I have regular contact with my parents now, not just when I need something or need bailing out of some craziness. And they let me back in their house and talk about me with pride rather than shame.
So, all in all, I have become a lover, father, son, friend and soon to be grandfather all in the space of the last 6 years. It’s been quite a journey. And it is not over yet.