"I was 10 years when my friend gave me some weed to try. It felt a bit weird, I didn’t really like it but I still did it with my friends. It was just the ‘in thing’.
I am not really sure when it all changed. I started thinking of ways of getting money or asking someone.
I tried quite a few things. On Fridays and weekends I would have a few rounds of drink like vodka and even mix it with stuff. I smoked and had couple of joints worth about 5-10 quid every day.
My family did not really bother... at least not until now. Dad was too busy, working shifts. Mum was tired looking after three of us on her own. I was always the black sheep. Jack and Lucy were the best kids in town, never in trouble, good grades ... too perfect.
So they never noticed until Jack saw me bunking off school and later having bruises after I had a fight after drinking. He told my parents.
I was angry at first, told them it was all a lie and then it was their fault. For months we had rows, I stayed with my nan.
My drug counsellor was very patient with me. He explained to me about the effects drugs could have on me. I wish I had known about it before.
He believed in me, did not give up … I could not let him down. I can talk more easily to my dad now ... after years I feel he is really there. It is still difficult, but I am trying to study.
I really enjoy the bricklaying experience. I have made new friends … friends who don’t do drugs, it keeps me safe and happy."