From an abusive childhood and a history of psychosis to motivating others to make the change. This is Joel’s story.
Raised in a violent household, Joel often sat at the top of the stairs crying while he listened to his alcoholic father beating his mother. He was soon responsible for looking after his two younger siblings. The pressure was intense on the young boy and it wasn’t long before he was sniffing glue and drinking to excess. He rebelled, leaving home at 16. Decades addicted to drugs and alcohol followed, living on the streets and in hostels, experiencing extreme panic attacks, time in custody and periods as an inpatient in psychiatric units.
A conversation with his sister was the turning point. Whilst on a detox programme in a psychiatric unit she said: ‘I don’t want to lose my big bro’. That was 18 years ago and he has been free of drugs and alcohol ever since. Formerly, an Expert by Experience, Joel is today an Involvement Champion working on Birmingham Changing Futures Together’s, Every Step of the Way Programme.