“The gun they wanted to shoot me with jammed and if it had not I wouldn’t be here today, it is as simple as that”

I grew up on a council estate in Dublin and I can clearly remember how hard my mother worked, holding down three or four jobs just to put clothes on our backs. I was the youngest child by 11 years as my mother had divorced then years later met my dad and had me, but growing up I never felt like I was separate from the others, we were together as siblings.
I don’t remember much more of my childhood and I couldn’t tell you loads of stories about what it was like growing up, because in 2009 two people tried to murder me and that attack left me with a head injury that put me in a coma for six weeks. After that happened I needed reconstructive surgery on my face – which put me physically back together – but the memories never got put back together and I can’t get many clear and detailed memories of what life was like before.
I was involved in drugs and criminality when the attack happened. I had skills as a painter and decorator but I had chosen a lifestyle that made me more money for less effort, however that life did come with some substantial risks.
The attack in 2009 was linked to my drug dealing, I had stepped on people’s toes. When I came out of the coma I was prescribed medication for the nerve damage in my head. Unfortunately, I started getting the feel for them and it was not long before they took over. I went back to selling drugs, but I also started taking tablets and painkillers, before too long I ended up on heroin.
In the next few years I dealt drugs at home and abroad, I was sectioned, I was handed a prison sentence, I went to my first rehab, got clean, met a girl, got engaged, ended the relationship and went back to selling and doing drugs.
Life was a rollercoaster, but the ride came to an abrupt halt in 2018.
I was being taken into the woods to get shot, I had fallen out with people and they were going to kill me. I thought it was the end for me. The gun they wanted to shoot me with jammed, and if it had not I wouldn’t be here today, it’s as simple as that.
I cried out for help that night, the next day I was on a plane over to Scotland, and that’s where the change started for me. By April 2019 I was in Walk, getting clean and getting serious about my future.
I have been clean for two years now. I have a beautiful young family. We are buying a house, putting down roots and creating a future for ourselves. I had bouts of sobriety before but it’s different this time. I found my purpose at Walk. Before I always relied on my skills, what I could do. Here I learned to be confident in who I am. The difference has changed my life.
I have been employed for over a year now and my role is to help men who are leaving prison. I love my job, I was once at the other end of that kind of service and it’s amazing to be able to share my story with these guys and encourage them. I get to show these men that change has been possible in my life and help them make that change themselves.
There is one guy I work with who got his first sentence in 1986, the year I was born. He’s never had a full year out of prison until recently. As I talk to you today he’s been out of prison for over a year for the first time in 34 years.

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