My name is Andy and I come from Largs. I ran about with people much older than myself and started drinking and smoking hash when I was about 10 years old. By the time I was 12, I was staying out at the weekends taking acid and speed and by 14 I was taking valium. One night I was involved in a car crash in which my friend who was driving was killed. I was trapped inside the car until the emergency services arrived. This all had an impact on me.
By 16, I was in the club scene and taking ecstasy which led to me taking more and more downers to come off the ecstasy. When I eventually started taking cocaine and heroin I knew I had to do something about my life. I moved to Dublin and then Amsterdam but I was never able to escape from myself so I started using drugs again. I moved back to Scotland at 22 and got involved in selling drugs as well as taking them. Now I was addicted to heroin and tried everything to kick the habit. I realised that something was missing in my life; there was a hole I couldn’t fill. By the age of 33, I was living in a homeless unit in Greenock. I had lost everything to heroin and was a wreck at 8 stone in weight.
One night as I looked out of my window, I saw the Teen Challenge bus outside. I was starving as I hadn’t eaten for days so went on the bus for some food. Speaking to the workers on the bus, I realised that my life could be different and there was hope for me. The bus team worked with me to get me away to rehab in Dunns. While there I connected with God and got baptised. I looked as if I was doing well but deep down I knew there were areas of my life I hadn’t surrendered to God. After 6 months, I left the programme and moved back to my ex-partner in Greenock. Things didn’t work out for us and I ended up back in the homeless unit. I knew I had made a mistake and turned my back on God and hardened my heart. Eventually I went back to the Teen Challenge bus and everyone made me welcome and no one judged me. This time I was referred to The Haven in April 2014 where I have been for 8 months. Now I have surrendered fully to God and have looked at things more seriously. I now realise that God has a plan for my life and I have a hope for the future.
Andy graduated from our programme in September 2015 and is now employed full time at The Haven as a Support Worker and Schools’ Co-ordinator.