May 31, 2024
December 2023
Tū Ora Story

Eric’s Story.

After becoming involved in drug dealing, Eric bounced between prison and the community for 15 years.

After becoming involved in drug dealing, Eric bounced between prison and the community for 15 years. When he’d had enough and made a commitment to change, he found the Navigate Initiative. After being released earlier this year, his fresh start is just beginning.

"I had a good childhood in Blenheim, although drugs were always a thing in the background. My dad was a heavy drug user. But, we still had what I'd deem a pretty normal childhood. We went camping, did all the things normal people do, it's just my dad had a raging drug habit.

I grew up growing dope, so there was an outlaw sort of a background outside society. There were two sides to my family really. Like, for me, I enjoyed school and stayed until seventh form. I played rugby, all that stuff.

I got into using weed and heavier drugs in my early 20s. It's a small town so I grew up knowing all the bad buggers under the sun. In my early 20s I went logging and a large chunk of the people I worked with were smoking weed and using other drugs. It was definitely a negative impact.

I got into trouble in my mid 20s with dealing and I kicked my drug habit, but carried on dealing. I still worked, but the habit sent me down the dealing side of things.

I got into P and I had quite a mean coke habit for a couple of years. I went to jail, got out and carried on dealing. I'd use and kick the habit, then come back to jail again. The last time I got out I wasn't using, but I was selling meth to fund a lifestyle.

I heard about the NI during my second lag of about four years. I had a little bit of an idea about Pathway, but it wasn't until this last time in jail I realised I needed to make some changes. I had to break this cycle. I needed to get released away from home and focus on me.

To start with I didn't understand the workshops and stuff, why there was that focus on such a variety of different stuff.

Later on, I could see it's about that connection with people from different walks of life. Once I clicked onto what it was about, it was great.

There's a whole theory behind it and I jumped on board with it. I really enjoyed the writers' group and the men's group with Geoff. Narcotics Anonymous was helpful too.

In the past, I would never have bothered to try and do hard things. Now it's a lot simpler, knowing you've got that support there and can talk to someone. The support is amazing and gone up another level since I've been released. I actually sent a letter to one of my mates in prison telling him about Pathway and the support being on another level. Having three or four Pathway guys catch up with you in the space of a week, it's a lot of time and manpower for one person, but I really appreciate it.

Since I've been out I've broken everything down into smaller goals – to get regular employment, get back on my feet properly and keep doing what I need to do.

There were things I couldn't do in prison, so as soon as I got out I really wanted to get my licensing sorted, so I've got my heavy tracks and rollers, dangerous goods, my learners for Class 3 trucks and I've just got my restricted license for my motorbike.

But, my main goal is to focus on today. I'm still going forward. There's always those little challenges, but it's working."

Names have been changed.

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