James' Story

image of JamesI was born and raised in Glasgow. Both my parents were alcoholics and divorced when I was five years old. We then moved around from one place to another a lot over the next few years.

As I got older  I started to rebel against my parents and was finally put into care when I was 12 years old. I spent the next 10-15 years in and out of young-offenders’ institutions and prison.

When I was 23 I began a serious relationship. We had a baby girl and I decided it was time to settle down and support my family properly.  I went from being in and out of prison to working as a courier and things were looking up. Eight years later my son was born and I came to London to get a better paying job to support my family further.

The intention was that my wife and children would also move down once I got myself settled into a job and found somewhere for us to live, but then my daughter was tragically killed by a drunk driver. I just couldn’t handle it and totally lost control. My wife eventually divorced me and I subsequently lost all contact with my family.

I started to use heroin and crack around this time and have done so ever since. About 14 years ago I got into another relationship, she was also a user and I spent the next few years doing all I could to fund our habit. Towards the end of 2013, we’d had enough of each other and called time on the relationship. She kicked me out on to the streets as I didn’t have anywhere to go. Things were pretty rough for me at this time so one day I decided enough was enough and got in touch with Camden Safer Streets Team. They got me into Conway House and I started to use the services available to me, to help get my life back on track.

Thanks to help from the staff at Conway House and a lot of determined effort on my part I am now back in control of my life to some level. I am back in touch with my family, my ex-wife and son and I have been off drugs and stable on methadone for 3 ½ months. I have also started a part-time job in Halfords which I am very proud of. It has really changed my outlook on life and given me a goal to strive to.

I know I am at the start of a long journey and I’m under no illusion about how difficult it is going to be, but I am giving it my best effort and I have got good support behind me. I would suggest to anyone who wants to get their life back under control, to take full advantage of all the help of the various programs the hostel is offering. If you try and go it alone you are only making it harder for yourself and you’re more likely to fail in the end. The best thing I did was to engage with the staff and services and I would advise anyone in a similar position to me to do the same, as completely as you can.

Once again thanks to the various staff who have helped me and good luck to those who are on a similar journey to me.