“I have been violent since primary school where I was always fighting, always angry. By 13 I started selling drugs and a year later I was arrested for robbery but was not charged. For ten years from the age of 20 I was in trouble constantly, arrested for fighting a police officer etc and after my mum died I took many drugs and drink. Did so much crime I did not care if I lived or died. I became more violent and hurt a lot of people. I got darker and darker and just wanted ‘war.’
When I was 30 I got arrested for aggravated burglary (burglary with a weapon). Sentenced to 12 years (with a third off for pleading guilty). Two years later I did the first Beyond Recovery in HMP Onley. Had a realisation that I thought I was a product of my environment which justified my behaviour, but realised it was me putting a chip on my own shoulder. I realised that I always blame others for the way I feel.
Five years later I was released on licence because my behaviour had changed. Instead of walking around the wing thinking everyone was taking me for an idiot I began to think of others and wonder what was wrong with them and wonder what they were going through. Encouraged as many people as I could to go on Beyond Recovery to find peace and contentment in themselves like I had.
Now I am in permanent employment as a carpenter. I have a lovely girlfriend and can express myself with her in a way I haven’t been able to before. I’ve told her how grateful I am that she’s come into my life. People cannot believe how I’ve changed. I am not angry anymore. I like laughing. I have peace and contentment in myself. If someone angers me or goads me, I leave those relationships. I now hang out with business owners which is a totally different crowd to before.”