Shane's story

Shane Blankley   family

I owe a massive amount of thanks to Emmaus. They have helped me grow up and learn to deal with life, and life hasn’t always been easy.

When I was a young lad doing my GCSEs, I fell into what you'd call ‘the wrong crowd’. We smoked marijuana and drank at weekends. Unfortunately unlike most of my school friends, I started to crave more: I wanted a bigger better high so I started trying new things including Class A drugs. Drugs and alcohol soon became my biggest downfall.

I was still living at home at the time but my behaviour gradually became an increasing issue for my dad and step mum. Then one day, I crashed my brother’s car having driven it with no license; they asked me to leave.

I spent almost a year living at my mum’s, who tried her best to help. She encouraged me to train and find a job in a pub kitchen, but eventually my demons got the better of me and I didn’t stick at it. I left my mum’s and ended up living in a couple of local hostels before getting a flat through the council. 

When I moved into my flat it felt like a fresh start. My alcohol consumption wasn’t as bad and my drug habit had become a recreational thing at weekends on nights out. Things were looking up as I landed a few jobs in warehousing, which lead to me progressing into supervisor/lead roles in the business.

Unfortunately I was working long hours and had to walk four miles each morning to get there. I soon started using drugs in larger quantities just to keep me awake. I ended up drinking more than I ever had before, as I felt like I needed something to bring me down from the highs every evening. I was using money that should be for rent and bills, for drugs and for the pub after work. As the debts started piling up, I just buried my head in the sand, convincing myself everything would be okay and even starting to believe that there wasn’t any debt.

After several months of hitting the drink and drugs and not paying bills, the inevitable happened: I received an eviction notice. I spiralled into a state of depression. The anxiety soon became so bad that I refused to leave my flat, which meant I lost my job.

Luckily my housing association realised that I was in a bad way and referred me for specialist support. It was then that I found Emmaus and moved into the Hinckley community.

When I arrived, it was clear that the drink and drugs had to stop; with their support I was able to do this. Due to my anxiety and depression at the time, I often struggled to get out of bed and leave my room. The staff were empathetic and supported me in any way necessary. Sometimes what I needed was reassurance and other days it was a kick up the backside. They responded to my moods and emotions really well.

I owe so much to Emmaus Leicestershire & Rutland; the community helped me massively. I wasn’t judged by anyone and after hearing some of the guys’ stories, I realised my life wasn’t as bad as I had come to believe. I really looked up to the other companions.

Emmaus helped put me through training, and as my confidence grew, I visited local schools to chat with troublesome kids to try and steer them away from following the same path I took. 

I eventually left Emmaus to move in with my girlfriend at the time who had fallen pregnant, and we’re now engaged to be married in November 2017. We’ve got our own house and our son has just turned two. I’ve got a job in a large supermarket chain as a store supervisor.

I can honestly say that if wasn’t for the continued support of Emmaus and my fiancée, I would not be where I am today.