The people at Emmaus trusted me when no one else did. To be honest, I don't really blame people for not trusting me in the past - for a really long time I was hooked on heroin, and it was the only thing I cared about. Now though, I can't believe how my life has turned around - I'm working as a community assistant, and I have a baby girl, who I adore.
When I left school I had a full-time job driving a fork lift, but my mates had got quite seriously into party drugs - it was just what we did to relax. I was still living at home, but when I was 19, everything changed. I tried heroin, just for the sake of it really. I was pretty naïve, I had no idea that I could get hooked so easily. Half of my gang went down that route, so I still wasn’t alone - if I had have been maybe things would have been different - I just followed the crowd.
I lost my job pretty quickly. My mum was devastated when she found out and my family really tried to help me, I stayed with various family members to try and keep out of trouble but by that point I had started shoplifting and committing other petty thefts and I soon ended up in prison.
I've lost count of the number of times I’ve been inside. It sounds terrible but I really can’t remember. I just used to come out and start it all over again, it was like Groundhog Day. Sometimes I stayed in hostels, another time I lived under a bridge, I didn’t really care.
The last time I went to prison I got four years, and that time I managed to get clean. I had a really great case worker when I went to the probation hostel for prolific offenders after getting out of prison. I had lapses, but they helped me through it and told me about Emmaus. I volunteered for a couple of days and then was allowed to join on a month’s trial.
Since I've been at Emmaus I’ve got back in regular contact with my mum and my sister which is great. I’m playing five-a-side football as the goalie for the Emmaus team and I’m really enjoying that, as well as watching my team, the Doncaster Rovers. At work, I’m making money for Emmaus by keeping the eBay site up and running and I really enjoy it when my sales total comes in at the end of the week. In 2013, I made nearly £19,000 for the community.
I've also completed a year-long course in Health & Social Care as I’d like to become a key worker for people using drugs. I'm moving on to the next level soon. I think my best support worker was able to help me because they had been where I was and had managed to get out of it, and I hope that my experiences will really help other people do the same.