My Life: Old & Present
Growing up as a little boy in East London - Essex I was a normal kid who lived & breathed football. Joining a local club making 1st team every Sunday and I wanted to play for West Ham. I'm not sure if I was good enough but that was my dream.
I Left year 6 and went to a very big secondary school in Essex. Sadly come year 8, I got involved with a group of boys that were smoking cannabis. By year 9 I was smoking cannabis everyday. I lost complete interest in football and school, eventually getting expelled and ending up in a pupil referral unit. Their I met a group of boys just like myself, all completely anti social. We became a gang by the age of 15 i had 15 conviction and had served 3 sentences in a young offenders. We all carried knives, knuckle dusters and committed lots of crime. Everyday we all started to take other drugs; ecstasy, LSD and lots of alcohol.
At the young age of just 20 years old I became one of the gang leaders. There was around ten of us in total. A mixed bunch of black and white boys. I'd been stabbed 7 times, one being nearly fatal as I had a half of a scissor thrust into my neck which nearly severed the artery, which laid me up in a hospital bed plugged into a machine. Over the following 2-3 years the gang had broken up due to long term prison sentences and mental health issues.
At the age of around 22 years old I got introduced to heroin and crack cocaine and within 12 months I had lost over 6 stone in weight. I stopped washing, eating and my teeth were rotten. Smoking heroine & crack cocaine become rather boring, so I started to inject my self with both substances up to 50 times a day. Sharing needles with total strangers in crack dens became the norm and I would use the same needle all through the day-night. The needle got so blunt I had to force it into my groin, causing blood to spurt everywhere, ripping into the artery as it was the only place left for me to inject as all my other veins had been destroyed. I even had 2 needles snap off in my arms. I did have surgery to get them removed but unfortunately it failed and they are still in my body today. I sadly even injected crack into my penis many times.
A few years later my health got so bad my legs got infected, broken down with big open wounds and blood clots. I found it hard to even walk and commit crime as I would get my money every day by running out of department stores with big racks of clothing as I needed at least £400 a day for my habit. At this point, I got myself a hand gun and started robbing all the drug dealers. I knew it was only a matter of weeks before I would be dead. I was also aware the police were after me. So I decided to walk into a police station, gave myself up, which I now know saved my life!
Eventually I got sentenced to prison. However, the prison sent me to an outside hospital as my legs were so bad the prison doctor said I may lose one of them as it was down to the bone and badly infected. so, whilst handcuffed to the hospital bed for a few months the doctors put 100s of maggots in my legs to eat away all the dead dying tissue. Fortunately this worked. I ended up having 15 skin graft operations and they saved my legs. All-though they have never healed properly, they still bleed nearly every day and cause me pain to this day.
I am now proud to say I am 10 years clean and sober. The rest of my gang weren't so lucky. Most are dead or serving long term prison sentences or are suffering with severe mental health issues which is all drug and alcohol related. Not one of us ever had a workshop when we was young. In my opinion, I believe we was all miserably failed.
I have now dedicated my life sharing my story with young people about the dangers of drugs, alcohol, gangs, knife & Gun crime in the following fields; public schools, private boarding schools, football-youth clubs and prisons.
Since 2010 I've spoken to well Over 300,000 children starting at the young age of just 6 years old hoping they grow up not wasting their life's away like we all did.