Richard was released from prison in December 2017 after 23 years struggling with multiple addictions and turning to crime to fund his habit. His lowest point came when his children were put into foster care by social services. It was then when a “switch turned on” inside him and set him on his journey to rehabilitation and his decision to become a peer mentor with HLNY CRC. Richard tells his full story here:
“I’m a 42-year-old single parent of two amazing boys. I’ve spent 23 years fighting multiple addictions, crack heroine and prescription medications.
“I spent 15 years living in a co-dependant relationship trying to hold down work and parenting my children. Losing my job through addiction I turned to crime to fund my ever-increasing habits.
“As things spiralled out of control my offending worsened, the probation service gave me plenty of opportunities to engage with their services, but I failed and spent the best part of 2016 and 2017 in prisons around Leeds and Doncaster areas.
“Social services became more and more aware of the issues going on in my ex-partners household regarding our children. I was released from prison on the December 5, 2017 and my children were removed from their mother’s guardianship and placed in foster care with their maternal aunt.
“This was my rock bottom. A switch turned on inside me. The idea I was losing my children didn’t sit right within my heart. So, I made a conscious effort to clean up my act. With help and support from East Riding Partnership, FDAC in Leeds (a problem-solving court approach to improving outcomes for children involved in care proceedings) and Humberside Lincolnshire & North Yorkshire Community Rehabilitation Company I began a journey that to this present day is an amazing process.
“My therapy was intensive and somewhat emotional having to empty my bin of issues and memories; sifting through them one at a time separately till my bin was no longer overflowing. My life is an achievement now, every day I grow wiser and stronger, learning new skills and thoroughly enjoying my journey from what I was to what I’ve become.
“There has been tears, laughter and a light bulb moment throughout and I’m glad I started my journey here with East Riding Partnership because on Friday, May 18 I received the official decision I could become a parent again full time and move to Goole with my children.
“I am proud of myself, I’ve achieved something special, the right to love and cherish my children again and the journey ahead of me is just as important as the path I’ve already travelled.”