'Whether you come from a park bench or from Park Lane, if you have an addiction, it wants you dead.'
We caught up with past client, Frankie Morris, who will be celebrating 10 years of recovery on 27th September. This means that he has been clean for ten years.
Frankie was born in London and grew up in the rough part of Lambeth. He describes himself as a bit of an Oliver Twist character. His family struggled from day to day, and yet he was surrounded by big city affluence. Working alongside his older brother, Frankie began to steal from the age of 11. It started with bikes and quickly progressed to breaking into houses. His addiction to cannabis and alcohol began at 12 and he ended up in a detention centre, swiftly followed by borstal. His education was destroyed. As a successful thief, Frankie had disposable income and by the age of 17, he had found heroin. For the next 24 years, Frankie was in and out of prison. Not one person tried to help until finally, a judge asked him if he had ever had help for his addiction. He said no and so started a day programme and then detox. He was finally offered residential rehab at Nelson House on 13th October 2005, the day his daughter died: ‘I was suicidal, but the counsellors were very supportive and for the first time in my life, people listened’ Frankie explained. We asked him what it was about the residential treatment that helped him:
‘It was mainly the one-to-one counselling – I finally felt someone was listening to me. Once I started to feel better, it was the Education, Training and Employment programme at the STAR Centre that made the difference. I had been kicked out of school at 12, so the opportunity to learn, especially the computer skills, played a vital part in getting my life back on track. As my reading and writing improved, I grew in confidence. The gardening brought a huge amount of satisfaction and the outward bound taught me how to work in a team. The staff just let me talk. We sorted my CV and I got my first job at the age of 44! I am so proud of my first pay slip – it’s now framed and on the wall next to my bed. I have travelled the UK giving talks in prisons with UK hospitals and institutions. I tell my story and let everyone know that there is another way and that they can turn their lives around. I have plans to go back to college and learn the sax. I get huge satisfaction from helping others in the same boat as myself.
I have found a new way of life and I want to help others struggling with addiction do the same. All these experiences have made me the person I am today. I am extremely grateful to The Nelson Trust and the recovery community for all their support through the years.
I would never have believed that I could achieve so much. The sense of satisfaction I get from helping others is something else.’