My mum left me when I was 14. From then on, I had to bring myself up.
When I starting taking drugs, it was just weed at first. But then something happened that messed me up mentally – I was kidnapped for three days, tortured and abused. I started taking harder drugs to cope with the trauma, but they led to prison.
I first heard of Forward when I went to HMP Stoke Heath. It’s the first time I’ve ever engaged properly with a substance misuse service. I wanted to change, to try and get to the root of my drug use and break the cycle I’d got into.
I was given loads of support and encouragement: from just a simple chat, through to courses and even becoming a Health and Wellbeing Champion (HAWC).
The Forward team have helped me learn lots of coping strategies for when I’m struggling, such as grounding and breathing exercises. One of the best things I’ve learnt is just to talk and not bottle things up. I’ve realised I’m not alone and that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. I now do yoga and read a lot. I also find writing poems very therapeutic.
I would urge anyone who thinks Forward can help to give them a try. They’ve changed my life and for that, I’m eternally grateful.
Since becoming a HAWC I’ve been able to help many of the other lads here who are struggling. They feel they can relate to me as they know I’ve been there too.
It was very hard being locked down to begin with, but I’ve used the tools I’ve been given to help me. For example, I only started doing yoga and writing poems after lockdown happened, and they’ve been a massive help.
Things are so different for me now. I don’t think I ever would have changed without Forward’s help. I would urge anyone who thinks Forward can help to give them a try. They’ve changed my life and for that, I’m eternally grateful.
Forward gave me the foundation to do all the things I wanted to do outside prison.Nick L, Former Forward client Read Nick’s story