JC

I left prison in January following an unstable lifestyle. I had been in care since the age of 7 and I was drinking a lot and getting into trouble. I wanted some meaning back in my life; to feel more positive about myself and to achieve something.

I’ve benefitted from the fact that I have progressed since coming to Mustard Tree. I’m approachable and people can talk to me, and now I’ve been successful in application as Volunteer Team Supervisor. Seeing a Mustard Tree counsellor has also helped me to talk about things that I hardly ever mention, which has put my mind much more at ease.

After five months on the Freedom Project I am looking more towards the future rather than just living day by day. I’m no longer a heavy drinker – I was using drink as a coping mechanism, but no longer feel that I need to do that. I have had positive feedback from people at Mustard Tree, from my probation officer and from my key worker at NACRO, where I live. My family members can also see a change. I’m closer to them now, and I’m a much more positive person.

Previously I felt that whatever I did would go wrong, so there was no point even trying. I no longer think like that; I’ve had to change how I think due to the consequences of my drinking and offending behaviour. I’m still unsure what my long-term aim is, but I’m very willing to try new things. I’m optimistic about getting a job, either short-term or permanent.

I’m also hoping to get a new place to live where I can start afresh and keep building stronger bonds with my relatives. I intend to keep speaking more openly to the people I’m close to about how I’m doing, rather than just putting on a brave face like I learned to do in care.

I’m thankful for the support I’m getting from Mustard Tree.