“My childhood was pretty good, my dad, who had been in the Army, was a stay-at-home dad, whilst my mum worked, and my sister and I attended boarding school. My parents divorced when I was 14; by that point I was being a bit of a scallywag, I finished school, my mum had re-married, and I was living alone in the family home.

Over the next few years,  I fended for myself and life was ok, I was working as a labourer for the Crown Estate, helping to manage the facilities in Regents Park. I was dabbling a bit of weed by that point, but then I met and married my childhood sweetheart and our son was born. For nine years I was clean, working hard as a block paver and together we travelled the world.

Unfortunately, our marriage came to an end, and with that I started back on the drugs. I was very much a functioning addict though, I was working hard and then my dad fell ill and I became his carer. Life changed and I juggled travelling for work along with looking after my dad, and I continued to do that until he passed away. I had relied on cocaine to get me through that part of my life, and it continued once he had died.

I met a new partner and moved in with her and her children. Unbeknownst to her, I was still regularly using cocaine, and I reached the point where I was spending at least £1000 a week on it. I was fully functioning, working hard to build up my own business, and actually found that my behaviour was more normal when I was using than when I wasn’t.

Very unexpectedly my partner asked me for a break, and I went to stay on a mate’s sofa for a couple of nights, I then decided to go on holiday to Grand Canaria, where I had family connections. This turned out to be the worst decision ever. I arrived and hit the bars straight away and got so drunk that I fell asleep on the beach. Whilst I was asleep, my bag was stolen and I lost my passport and all my money. I had nowhere to stay and no money but had to stay put until the British Consulate could help me get back to the UK.

Once I arrived back, I went to my partner’s home and found all my belongings smashed up in bags in the front garden. I had nowhere to go, and I was at an all-time low. I went to see my ex-wife’s family, who I still had a good relationship with, and asked them for help, as I really felt that I had nothing left to live for. They took me to see the crisis team, and from there I found myself referred to Beacon House. I was then referred to Emmaus Colchester and I can honestly say this moment saved me.

The support and structure Emmaus Colchester has given me has changed my life. I have managed to kick a £1000 a week cocaine habit, and haven’t touched it from the minute I walked through the door. It has helped me find a new sense of direction and purpose, and whilst I still have work to do on myself, I know in the future that I want to move into support work and help those who have been on a similar journey as my own.

It hasn’t been easy, but I can’t thank the team at Emmaus Colchester enough for their patience, guidance and understanding.”

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