Friday, 22 August 2008

Hi I’m Precious! I am the eldest of 6 children and because I was poorly when I was born my mother decided to name me Precious. Trust me this was a hard name to grow into. Not only because of the kids at school but also the high expectations my parents placed on me to succeed. I was the first born, the one to lead by example and support my younger brothers and sisters.

I came from a caring, loving family. We went to church and visited all the aunts and uncles and as kids we were all tight between us, brothers, sisters and cousins. Our home had an open door policy, everyone welcome with a pot of food on the stove for one and all.

I grew tall and strong. Very handsome and caring. Good education, loved my sports, good singer and even dabbled with a bit of modeling in my early twenties. Yes I was the bomb! The ‘G’. Hackney boy done good.

Went out a lot hanging with all the hip crowd in Notting Hill and Portobello, mixing with the IT crowd you could say…. What went wrong? When did it all change? It has taken me 20 years to be able to answer the questions and come to terms with all the bad I have done. Not precious at all….. Shame.!

Dropped out of college, disrespected my family, stole money and stuff from everyone around me to keep me in the lifestyle I believed society owed me. 15 years in and out of jail, heroin, crack and alcohol dependent, violent, hurting people, lost my family and friends. But the worst of all was having 3 children to 2 women that I have no contact with because of everything I have done.

Now fast track things, I was released to a bail hostel in October 06, but went on the run as the hostel was full of idiots on drugs and stuff. So one day after meeting with my Probation Officer, I decided to pick up my stuff leave it with a mate and go underground.

Bad choice!!! Hung out at Finsbury Park and hooked up with a girl called Bev who has just left Holloway. She had a gaff, and invited me to stay. In the beginning it was cool, chilling out with her and her mates, smoking spliff and drinking a few cans no bother. Got my benefits,….. threw her a few quid and,... life was sweet. Or so I thought!!

Quickly I started building up debts to her and she wanted more. No sex, don’t get me wrong she is a fit girl but she is a lesbian. Anyhow, from spiffs I found myself smoking some heroin and then onto the crack. The debt grew and she had some bad ass mates that hurt people. So I was given odd jobs to do to pay for my keep and what quickly became my habit.

Thieving, collecting, delivering and a little strong arming people who owed her money and I was out of control. One night while out at Finsbury Park station doing business, I saw her talking to 2 guys (Outreach Workers), she called me over and said that these guys could help me and that I should listen because I was out of control.

‘It is my gift to you’ .. I remember her saying.

I thought about how bad things had gone and how out of control I was so I decided with some persuasion from Bev to talk my stuff with these guys.

One guy called Aston and the other younger called Karris.

They assessed me and arranged to meet with me the next night. I had to think if going to detox might be the right way forward as I was using over £ 200 per day in crack and heroin plus the rest. I had been detoxed 3 times earlier in my life while in prison, but always using again once released.

They came back 2 nights later as we arranged. They bought me some dinner and started to discuss possible plans. I really wanted to go away. Detox and then to rehab for a long time. We looked at options and discussed ways forward and then decided on a care plan that suited me and we all agreed. (sort of, you see I never told them that I skipped the bail hostel and that there is a warrant out for my arrest).

These guys do work quick. Within a week I was attending a local drug service, receiving counselling and being referred to housing. They never let me down. But I was guilty of not being honest. This ate away at me until one night I decided to come clean.

They spoke to their Manager Savvas, who managed to get the police to have a Doctor waiting with medication and for me to be able to give myself up. Well it took 4 attempts and being stabbed in the arm before I saw what lay ahead and one night they came with me to the police.

I was sent back to Pentonville and 4 weeks later moved to Lincoln Prison. I was to spend the rest of my sentence 5 years in this prison. I got so frightened and angry that I nearly closed down. Aston and Savvas kept their promise they took it in turns coming to the prison for visits and writing to me. All the time speaking to Hackney Care Managers and Probation as well as the prison about my treatment.

I was assessed and it was agreed for me to go to a rehab in Cornwall. I did my programme, attended groups and worked while in prison and 6 months later, I was released to Cornwall. Savvas came up and met me and brought me back to London. On our way to Cornwall he arranged for me to see my parents. I didn't want this but it worked out great and I am glad he brought them to the station.

I have completed all my treatment and I have also trained as a Physical Education Teacher. I am now living the dream. I have a flat on the beach, teach part-time at a local school and support others going through the pain that I went through.

I still come to London but only to visit the family, otherwise, the pace in London is too much for me to cope. I have written to the women I wronged in the past and have started building bridges back to seeing my children.

I am now 40 years old and have hope for my future and that of my children. Not only did Pilion help me but they helped my family too. I am so blessed to have met the guys and as always when I am in London I will go back to support the Pilion. I don’t know how else to say thank you.

I am Precious now ! Not only to myself, but to my parents, children and the community I live in. This has been the best buzz that I can remember. I love life now and don’t want to waste or miss a moment!

Do you think its addictive?

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