Rob's story

St Albans Rob Hockington 230813

As a kid I desperately wanted to be liked. I used to hang about on the estate where I lived, sometimes kicking a football, but more often than not, trying to pull some sort of scam. Our favourite was ringing up the local off licences and while one of us kept the shopkeeper on the phone, the others would sneak in and steal cans of beer from the shelves. The stronger beer you drank, the cooler you were.

At nine I was already a bit of a ringleader, and although my parents tried to rein me in, I had already set patterns that I would follow for some time. For a long time after I left home I did agency work, or gardening here and there. I also worked as a bin man, and a sound technician setting up the speakers and equipment for raves. They were huge in the 90s. I was into punk and rock and didn’t get what all the fuss was about, but eventually I got sucked into the drugs that went with the scene.

I spent the next decade under the spell of heroin and alcohol. I lost friends and money and time, and eventually I ended up a dry house in Watford. There was nothing to do but watch tv or play games, and one day I picked up pen and started writing.

Since then I’ve had poetry published, and I’ve written short stories. I enjoy the release that writing offers me. I came to Emmaus a while ago now, I like the routine of getting up every day, knowing there’s something to do. I usually work as van crew, collecting or dropping off furniture. I’ve also started an animal husbandry course. I’ve always loved animals, and the course is teaching me how to handle all kinds of creatures from guinea pigs to snakes.

Emmaus has helped me gain self-confidence and I’ve also learned how to help others. Instead of trying to be the centre of everything, now I like to think about what I can do for other people instead.