Mentally I can cope because I use the people that are around me that want to help me to succeed – and I will.

As a young man my life took a path that caused great pain. This led to me being incarcerated in Barlinnie, then Carstairs and finally Rowanbank medium secure unit.

My actions that lead to this were due to me being unwell at the time, but nobody listened.

16 years of my life was lost to a system that I didn’t want to be a part of. I had a lot of time to think about things including what road I wanted to take when and if I got my liberty back.

In 2009, the The Richmond Fellowship Scotland came into my life and things started to change.

My social worker introduced me to the organisation as part of the strategy for me to live in the community with social care support.  Initially I would visit the service and get to know the staff but would always return to Rowanbank in the evening. I eventually spent more time at the service leading up to my discharge.

In this time I realised that I now had all these things going in my favour. For instance, staff were being nice to me, I was getting a house to live in that was mine and I didn’t need to share it with anybody. I found it hard to accept that this was true.

There were also tricky times when I would see people out who looked like they had taken drugs. Part of me wished that I could still do this, but I never ever did because I didn’t want to lose what I had, my freedom and my sanity.

I now run my own home by meeting my financial commitments, respecting my neighbours and being a good tenant. I use the safety net of The Richmond Fellowship Scotland service to ensure I engage with the restrictions placed upon me. I go on holiday with my family and spend quality time with them. I work a structured week that involves going to the gym, attending jewellery-making classes, IT classes and outings. I have been told by the service that I am an inspirational figure for others and I help out when I can at participations meetings and other events.

I no longer want to be the people I have seen that are using drugs. I no longer want to escape from anything as I am too busy enjoying my life. Mentally I can cope because I use the people that are around me that want to help me to succeed – and I will.

I am now in a position to get my own flat outwith a care home setting due to my progress and I am currently on a waiting list with several housing associations.

Click here to find out more about The Richmond Fellowship Scotland's Forensic support