Philip’s story

I’m 52 years old and at the age of 17 I was introduced to heroin for the first time.

When I left school I went straight into work so I was getting enough money to buy smack, and because there weren’t many people using then it was always there and it got harder to get hold of.

That’s when I realised it was a big problem and no longer a big laugh.

So I had to give up work, because I was always off sick, and crime was the way to go and for a while it paid off. Even after giving up work for crime I still thought I was in control but after 2 years of being ‘at it’ and seeing friends die, I knew I’d lost all control.

"I still thought I was in control but after 2 years of being ‘at it’ and seeing friends die, I knew I’d lost all control."

So I listened to my family and went to work abroad. After 9 months out there I came home feeling great, got back to work, stayed clean and met the mother of my son.

I had great job prospects. But a year after our son was born I was made redundant. I couldn’t get any work that paid well, so I went back to crime. Then came the arguments, so I went to where I felt safest: heroin.

The relationship was over, but we couldn’t accept it was, so she shouted, and I took smack.

Then for the next 13 years, I was constantly getting nicked. The courts usually fined me which only made things worse, because I had to steal more to pay fines.

A couple of times I was given probation with a detox attached but it was like they had no interest in you as a person, because they thought you could give up 20 plus years of addiction in 2 weeks. And if you didn’t then you were thrown off the programme.

"A couple of times I was given probation with a detox attached but it was like they had no interest in you as a person, because they thought you could give up 20 plus years of addiction in 2 weeks."

I was then given an Addressing Sub Relate Offend order. That put me on the right track because they weren’t so judgemental and I was given a counsellor. It was my drug counsellor who told me about the New Hanbury Project. It sounded great but to be honest I wasn’t sure it was for me.

But it has been the best thing that’s happened to me, it’s given me the direction and the structure, and a real incentive.

"It was my drug counsellor who told me about the New Hanbury Project. It sounded great but to be honest I wasn’t sure it was for me. But it has been the best thing that’s happened to me, it’s given me the direction and the structure, and a real incentive."

The teachers are so patient and encouraging, but I think for me it’s the time, the patience they have shown me that’s given me the confidence.

(Names have been changed to respect anonymity.)


Donate online

Read more stories of personal transformation in The Accidental Hipster, SCT's 50th anniversay magazine (PDF, 5Mb)

"The teachers are so patient and encouraging...the patience they have shown me has given me the confidence. "
- Philip

Share Article: