I’ve done various drug treatment programmes in my time, but the one that struck a chord for me was Pathways to Recovery at Belmarsh. Being there for others through their recovery is not only fulfilling, it supported me in my recovery as well. When I got good feedback from service users, I thought ‘okay, this is something I’m good at and I enjoy, maybe I can take it further.’
When I came to Belmarsh I felt so tired of going in and out of jail. The first time I got locked up was when I was 16, and it was a shock to the system being away from my family and loved ones. Over the years, I’ve seen some hard things, like people overdosing. One minute they’re there, and the next they’re gone. The thing is, even though you know this is really dangerous, and you know this could happen to you, you don’t worry about yourself. It’s only when you go to jail and all the drugs are finished and the dust has settled, that you really reflect on what you’ve done.
I’m out of Belmarsh now and I’ll be honest, it’s a struggle. I want to get back into voluntary work because I need structure in my life. If you’re an ex-addict and you’ve got time on your hands, you’re vulnerable to slipping back into bad habits. So far so good though, I’ve got a new flat and that’s helping. I’m also really keen to find paid work too, hopefully in the substance misuse sector because since Pathways, that’s something I’ve been really passionate about.
To be paid to do something I enjoy – that’s the dream. Pathways has gotten me halfway there, now it’s up to me to do the rest.
Terry is an ex-offender who completed the Pathways to Recovery Peer Mentor programme while in HMP Belmarsh.