"It felt so good to not be in trouble, to actually do something the right way. I just kept saying no to all the stuff that led me back to my old life, now I’m not in jail anymore, I’m not in trouble."
My dad used to be an alcoholic. He was angry a lot and his way of discipline was to beat us up and stuff, so if I messed up at school or something I would be too scared to go home because I didn’t want to face him, so I’d run away from home and then I’d get hungry and then I’d go home and he’s waiting for me and I’d get a hiding.
As I got older my running away from home would get more regular and I’d run away from home and hang out with the kids that were in the same boat as me, that were too scared to go home because the same thing was happening in their household. So we just became like a little crew and hung out together and started getting into trouble at a very young age.
One thing just led to another, we got hungry, we didn’t want to go home and needed food so we shoplifted and then it went from shoplifting to breaking into cars, then from breaking into the cars to stealing the cars, then stealing the cars to go rob the places, and it just got worse and worse.
Then I met a girl, then I kind of like pulled away from the boys and I started staying with her and her family. Then she got pregnant, then not long after she got pregnant I got into trouble again, the boys came back and obviously the baby’s coming, I nee
d to go get some money. I didn’t know how to work or anything, the only thing I knew was to go steal. So I got into some more trouble and not long after my baby was born I was back in jail.
I was sitting in a cell and there’s like five grown men in one cell all smoking one cigarette, looking out, knowing if anything happened, it would be me that was in trouble because it was my cell, then I was thinking f*** this, I want a better way. I was tired of jail, I spent so much years in jail that I didn’t want anymore of it.
It felt so good to not be in trouble, to actually do something the right way. I just kept saying no to all the stuff that led me back to my old life, now I’m not in jail anymore, I’m not in trouble.
There was a guy in jail and he was talking about Pathway and how Pathway can help. Pathway reinforced my idea of wanting to change. It was the conversations I had with them, sitting down and just being ourselves, I found that helped me more than the workshops, more than anything else. Sitting down and talking to them and actually having them sitting there, paying attention and listening.
Pathway became like my family. It wasn’t so much what they done for me, it was that they were always there. Me and my partner had an argument and she kicked me out of the house. I was maybe 5/6 months out of jail at that time and Carla picked me up and got me somewhere safe. It was a big deal for me, usually over something like that I would have ended up back in jail because I would have had an argument with her and then got angry and smashed something and it would have escalated into something worse than it was. It was good to have that support but I’m learning how to handle it myself, like I know I’ve got to handle it myself.
I’m making all these steps to make sure I don’t f*** up and end up back in jail and make sure I’m here for my son. I’m here till he’s grown up and not going back inside. That’s my future, to be there for him, to be a father and not go back to jail.
*Name has been changed