0.00.00 My name’s Matthew B. I’m 26 years of age. I live in Burton-on-Trent and at the moment I’m a student studying counselling and hypnotherapy. From an early age at school I was quite the rebel and a rogue but a rebel without a cause if you like. I sort of had no direction you know, just went with the flow, didn’t care, wasn’t bothered. I think I was 14 when I was expelled from the first school for disruptive behaviour.
0.00.30 I wasn’t really bothered at the time personally but when I realised the impact it had on my family, especially my mother, that’s when it sort of hit home cos she was very, very upset. When I was 16 I found a school that were willing to take me on. It was a specialist school that dealt in children that were disruptive and quite rude like myself. I got pretty much, I just carried on with my behaviour, just stayed the same really.
0.01.00 I remember the head of the school calling me in and saying, look Matthew, we’ve had enough, as a collective staff everybody wants you to go, so the choice is yours. You can stay or you can leave, so I said fine, I’ll go. I remember at 18 I went to Tamworth College just to do media. My mum works at Tamworth College so she got me the place on the course so that was I think her way of sort of try and find a direction for me by saying, look try this media course, you might like it, you’re creative, you might enjoy it. I did really well, really excelled at it and really enjoyed it most of all.
0.01.30 It just all seemed to come together and from day one it was fantastic. And from there I decided to go to university. Halfway through the first year I sort of got issues with substance problems and then it got to the point where I just sort of had enough and stopped and I quit the course, I think it was February the following year. With all that spare time on my hands I got into drugs big time. I was in the thick of it if you like the drugs world and the crime world, going out regularly to shoplift.
0.02.00 Eventually it led to prison. That was the moment when the penny dropped if you like and I sort of took a look at my surroundings, took a look at myself and thought this is not how I want to spend the rest of my life, in and out of prison, you know, I deserve more, I can be more, I want to be more. The time that I was using drugs my parents were there but sort of, they sort of kept my distance. When I got to prison, when I first went to prison,
0.02.30 I wrote them a letter and apologised, you know, said sorry for everything and then they came to visit me from, you know, all the years I spent destroying the relationship I had with my parents, I never thought I’d get the relationship that I have now. I never thought I’d get that back. After release the first thing I wanted to do was address my substance issues. Although I hadn’t used during the time that I was in jail, I still knew that at the back of my mind there was a problem there that hadn’t gone away but should have gone away and needed to be dealt with.
0.03.00 So I went to a rehabilitation centre. Somebody suggested that I get involved with the Princes Trust, that I go and speak to them and see if they can help my situation. But I signed up a 12 week programme which involved lots of things. I got quite a few qualifications out of it. It’s helped me find myself. It’s given me a direction. It’s given me the qualifications that I didn’t have before, to go back to college, to do the studying that I want to do.
0.03.30 I’m doing a counselling course which is intermediate level. Once I complete that in June I’ll be able to start the diploma in September which is a two year course and then from there I’m going to do a hypnotherapy course as well. Going through treatment rehabilitation centre, that’s what made me want to get into counselling. Because of my background, where I’ve came from I think, you know, it suits me. It puts me in a good position to be able to counsel somebody who’s got similar problems that they’re going through, so if I can do that and help them turn their lives around, then that’d be massive satisfaction for me.