X Addicts

7 more in collection Editor's Picks 22 May 2013


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The Ley Community is a drug rehabilitation centre in Yarnton, Oxfordshire.
They help men and women build new lives after addiction to drugs and alcohol.

I grew up in and around the south London area. At the age of 16 I started smoking crack cocaine and getting more into crime. I was hanging around with people a lot older than me, in big groups fighting a lot and committing a lot of crime, getting into a lot of trouble. Back then it was all about who was the maddest and who was the baddest.

I grew up around a lot of drugs and violence and back then I thought that was what it was all about, being the big hard man. This led me to spend a lot of my life in prison from the age of 16. When I was out there involved in all the madness I didn't care about anyone or anything, I was a mess. Through all this my partner, who I met when I was 16, stuck by me. I was being very violent, drinking too much all the time.

When I was 20 my son was born and I was in prison at the time and that hurt me but it was down to my own stupidity. I came out and tried to stay off drugs but I couldn't do it and in the end my partner left me and took my son and I went off and ended up in prison on a robbery charge looking at a few years locked up again. I'd just had enough of the lifestyle, the drugs and spending all my life locked up. I spoke to a drugs worker in the prison and they said what about a rehab. I thought I would give it a go. I went to court and the judge sent me here.

Coming to the Ley was strange after spending so much time in prison and putting on the hard man act all that time. Everyone here was so nice to me, kind, caring and helpful. I've been here a while and I'm getting used to things and learning a lot about myself, the real me. When you look at the people at the end of the programme you see the benefits and if you put in the work you will get there. I'm rebuilding my relationship with my partner of seven years who has never used drugs and my son who is three years old now.

Now I'm looking forward to the future and being a good father and having a good life, a clean life. I know here I will learn what I need to live that life, I'm done with my old life, I now see it was nothing but crap but I now know my future will be good. My family and people that know me and even I can see a change in me and it's a good change. I would say to anyone that really wants to sort their life out that this is the place.

At times it is not easy but it’s what we need. My future is now about getting a job and a nice little place to live, once I have done this programme, and being a proper family with my partner and my son and living a drug and crime free life. Just being happy and grateful for the things I've got and being a good father and to make sure my son doesn't go down the road I did. I grew up without my father but I'm now getting my life back and my son will grow up with his father there for him and I'm really happy I've got this chance to get my life together.

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