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At a very early age Paul was sexually abused by a family friend and as a result used to behave badly although at the time he was unaware why exactly. He used to steal and get drunk as early as 8 years old and was beaten on a daily basis by his parents.

One day he discovered that if he sniffed gas he felt safe and it was an overwhelming experience. He spent the next 39 years going through different drugs and ended up doing heroin. After many years of doing heroin it ceased to be effective in terms of hiding the emotional pain he had suppressed for so long caused by what he had done and what people had done to him.

Then one day he had a stroke through the stress of these feelings. After the stroke, he was left with all these feelings and decided to completely surrender and get any help he could and committed to a Rehab place. After so many years of not being able to ask for help it was the only thing left to do.

During rehab Paul had regular sessions with a psychotherapist who helped him face his past and learn to let go. After being clean for 14 months and making some progress, Paul eventually relapsed and this pattern continued, each time learning more and more about himself and his behavioural issues.

Paul ended a relationship that he was having on and off over a long duration and committed himself to his recovery by being Part of Changes where he met two support workers who believed in him. They saw how honest he was and they formed mutual respect for one and another. This was the first time Paul had a trusting relationship for a very long time. They helped him believe that he was a good person and his self-esteem started to soar.

Paul then had the strength to continue his personal development with Crisis and completed a variety of courses and started feel much better in himself. Paul’s confidence was at a point where he could get involved in voluntary work and had placements at Changes UK, City Hospital, Scala House and Every Step of The Way.

Since Paul has been involved with Every Step of The Way he has grown considerably facing new challenges including representing the programme at national meetings as well as core meeting with high officials, being involved in the interview process of support/lead workers and speaking to over 40 offender managers. Paul continues to work on himself and is a well valued volunteer on the programme!

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