‘Gary Davies Please’, here I was again, back in court, back to jail I thought. This was going to be my fourth stay at Prison. Prison had almost become second nature so I resided myself to the inevitable. However this time was different. The judge told me that he was going to give me a suspended sentence, with the condition that I spend enough time with various support agencies. Something just ‘clicked’ when the judge told me there was going to be more help available to me this time than at any other time in my life.
I was a serving soldier for nine years in the Royal Welsh Fusiliers. Since my discharge in 1995 I had suffered from post traumatic stress disorder; this lead me to self medicate. Firstly I was a heavy drinker, but due to the PTSD the drinking made me really aggressive. This was when I was first introduced to the illegal substance amphetamine. I slowly began to reduce my alcohol intake only to replace it with a worse habit which ended up with me going through the court system so many times.
Looking back I now see that this was a turning point in my life. With the Judge’s sentence I needed to provide urine samples twice a week which put a stop to my drug taking. This also put me in contact with CAIS.
When I meet with CAIS I was touched by the Peer Mentors kindness, understanding and support. This support awoke something from within myself to such an extent that I began gaining qualifications in an attempt to become a mentor myself.
Having completed an access course at Coleg Menai I’m currently preparing to start a course at Bangor University! The CAIS Peer Mentoring team have given me support, guidance, motivation and Empowerment that has been monumental in my recovery.
I have turned everything around – gaining a degree, a car, a new network of friends, self respect and a drive for succeeding that I always used to have, but it was suppressed for so many years due to the substances that I had taken.
I currently work for the Change Step programme. The programme is very important to me as I wish to prevent other ex-soldiers leading the life I lead for so many years.