Expert by Experience Paul tells his story and the opportunities Every Step of the Way offers to change the system for people with multiple and complex needs.
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 eight years old. He
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 on heroin. After
many years of doing heroin it ceased to be effective. It no
longer hid the emotional pain he had suppressed for so long.
After so many years of not being able to ask for
help it was the only thing left to do.
Paul suddenly had a stroke through the stress of the emotional
pain. After the stroke, he was left with all these feelings. He
decided to get any help he could and committed to rehab.
Paul began 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 unfortunately
relapsed and this pattern continued, but with each time Paul
learnt more and more about himself and his behavioural
Paul ended a relationship that he was having on and off over
a long duration and committed himself to his recovery by
becoming part of Changes UK where he met two support
workers who believed in him. 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
Paul had the strength to continue his personal development
with Crisis by completing a variety of courses and started to
feel much better in himself. Paul’s recovery and confidence
was at a point where he could get involved in voluntary work.
Soon he had placements at Changes UK, City Hospital, Scala
House and started volunteering with Every Step of the Way in
Since Paul has been involved with Every Step of the Way he has grown considerably, facing new challenges including representing the Birmingham Changing Futures Together programme at national meetings and attending the Core Partnership Group meeting with senior management from organisations around Birmingham.
Paul currently volunteers for the Inreach Outreach work stream. Paul continues to work on himself and is a well-valued volunteer
on the programme.