” I see them at their worst. Some go on to see dramatic changes in their lives and some get clean for a bit before falling back into their old habits.”

I first meet the men at Walk when they come into Liberty Farm. To be honest, I see them at their worst. Some go on to see dramatic changes in their lives and some get clean for a bit before falling back into their old habits. What’s the difference between the guys that make something of their time at Walk and those that don’t? The short answer is simply how much they want it.
I can fill in 90% of anyone’s referral form before I even meet them. There will be something about upbringing, difficulty, life, jail, crime and drugs. I know all that. What I look for is that last 10%, that’s what I am interested in and that’s where I look for all the clues about a person. That’s where I find out about that person’s power, what sustains them when it gets tough and what they’ve got that will motivate them to stay on the path when the hard times come.
I hear a lot of stories from the guys. But if you are sat in Liberty Farm and it’s your fifth or sixth time in a rehab then you’re in a mess, and that’s it. That’s as far as the conversation goes with me. If someone can look me in the eyes and own that then it’s a good start.
And in my experience, the start is actually the easiest bit, because getting clean isn’t the hard part. Staying clean is. Building a life that flows out from that is the struggle.
I didn’t start off in this line of work and I’ve had a few jobs over my career. I used to work on the market with my sons, but both were drug addicts who were taking money out of my business. I didn’t realise it at the time, and unfortunately things got difficult as they ran up debt but I managed to get through that without losing my house. It wasn’t an easy time to say the least.
I ended up running a Sunday market at 50 years old and applying for other jobs that I could do in the week. I got nowhere. At a job fair one day, as I was walking out I saw a volunteers table. A conversation at that table led me down a path of getting qualifications in counselling and drug and alcohol courses. A number of years later Simon takes me to visit a property and tells me we should open a detox home here. You should have heard what my first reaction to the idea was.
We had a lad walk up the road to the farm recently, he had a sleeping bag and nothing else. He’s been with us for six months now. He’s not used, he’s not had a drink and he’s not been in trouble for six months now. He’s got a roof above his head, he has three meals a day, and he came to know the Lord. I’m hopeful for his 10%.

Stories of hope and of lives changed

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