My name is Chad and I am 26 years old and I was born and raised in Burnley. My memories of my childhood are not the best. My parents were separated so I lived with my mum, who also had some problems, and her new partner. I saw my dad quite a bit and he did support me, but he was also an addict, he is clean now, 13 years clean, which is amazing.
From an early age I was physically abused by my mum’s partner. One good memory was being sent to my Grans, she was the one person who I had any understanding of love and affection. Sadly, my gran died when I was 16, it was a turning point for me, I was sectioned not long afterwards. I look back now and see the trauma and my upbringing led me into a destructive world of drugs, alcohol, crime, and violence.
“I was full of self pity, and took no responsibility for my own actions - it was always someone else’s fault and I could do no wrong.”
At the height of my addiction, or maybe I should say my darkest time, my days were spent mostly in the pub, usually from about 12 through to 2 in the morning. I was constantly drinking and taking drugs while using the proceeds of dealing drugs to fund my lifestyle. However, my drinking and drug abuse became out of control so I needed to deal more drugs to make more money to fund the increasing amount of alcohol and drugs that I was consuming. I was living a destructive lifestyle – destroying myself and the people around me – but I only see that now. I had an arrogance about me, thinking that drink and drugs do not make me a bad person, I was full of self pity, and took no responsibility for my own actions – it was always someone else’s fault and I could do no wrong.
Due to the years of drug and alcohol abuse and combined with being a schizophrenic I had needed to be sectioned on numerous occasions. Each time I would leave feeling a little better in myself but soon return to my old lifestyle and the cycle starts all over again, and again, and again. However, it was after leaving a sectioned ward about 2 years ago that I found myself living on the streets, probably for about 6 weeks, I had lost my home, family, friends, and any contact with my child and once again feeling suicidal. It was at this time I came to COTS, I remember very clearly chatting with Pastor Mick, he gave me some money so I could get some tobacco, I felt so unwell in every way.
It was around this time that I remember things started to change for me. It was a previous partner who sat me down and gave me a good talking to, she basically said that if I wanted a future with her then I must stop the drink and drugs, she had laid before me a choice. For some reason what she was saying meant something to me. Then, about 18 months ago she became pregnant. For me the thought of being a dad again kind of forced me into making positive decisions and I started a journey to get my life back.
“something is changing within me through my faith and this is changing how I behave on the outside”
Shortly after the conversation with my partner I started attending the church service on a Sunday at COTS, then about a year ago I was baptised, I began to pray which I had never done before, my faith is growing stronger each day, I still have lots of questions and I have my moments, but I know something is changing within me through my faith and this is changing how I behave on the outside. I believe that I am becoming a better person, a good man through my faith in God
I am Currently half way through The Exodus Project at COTS and already this is making a difference in my life. There is one thing that I have learnt that has made me see my life in a very different way and it is about taking responsibility for my own actions. I was always blaming someone else for everything, but now I am taking responsibility for losing my family, friends, and most importantly losing contact with my kids. I know I still need to prove myself and gain the trust of family and social workers but I am already seeing the fruit, I have been granted 1 day per week access and my partner and I are being assessed for full custody.
I now have hope for a brighter future, I am now volunteering and have been on a volunteers training course which was really helpful. I have also started to lead The Genesis Project which is a weekly recovery group for people in active addiction and early stages of recovery. What I also have, which I did not have before, are positive role models in my life, people like Pastor Mick, Kev, Anthony and my dad. Life is still really hard, physically, mentally and spiritually, but I read my Bible and search the scriptures for guidance and help and I will not give up, I will continue to press on.