I ended up going to Aberlour Youthpoint – Moray, when I was 13. I was having problems at school. I was being bullied and I had a really big drinking problem. I had behavioural problems you could say. I was like a firecracker. I physically could not speak to anyone unless I had a drink in me. I had a lot of dependency on drink at that time, when I was 13.
I was a very angry individual towards the majority of my family. I have a very complicated family and we had a lot of problems. I developed a dependency on drink because it was the only way I could cope. I started drinking when I was 8. I would steal it. I would say I did not have a childhood.
I was so unhappy. I was getting negative input at school and negative input at home, and so I would escape and drink. For me there was no other escape. It was hectic and horrible at school. It was horrible at home.
Eventually I was referred to Aberlour Youthpoint by the school. When I got here for the first time, I had a tantrum. I didn’t want to walk round the building and look round, I just wanted to sit in the kitchen alone. I’d had a really bad day. I was very stubborn.
Since coming here, I’ve met Anne and she has helped me a lot. Anne got me to stop drinking, because I could never come here if I’d had a drink. It’s one of the rules. I tried it once and she said it was unacceptable. It really upset me because I wanted to come here. It was my only escape and it was the only nice place I had. I couldn’t have coped with what was going on in my life if I didn’t have Youthpoint.
I am a different person now, from who I was when I was 13. Back then, I didn’t have anyone. I was totally alone. I thought everyone was out to get me. But now I think ‘OK I didn’t have it easy, but there’s probably other people who’ve had it worse than me.’
If it wasn’t for Aberlour Youthpoint, I wouldn’t have an education. If I had carried on the way I was going, I would have done so much damage to my body. I’ve had my stomach pumped 4 times. I’ve hurt myself in so many different ways, and I’ve hurt the ones around me. If it wasn’t for this place I would be dead. Or I’d be in prison. I was not a very nice person before.
Aberlour Youthpoint is a great environment. There’s no judgement here and that’s so important. I was so paranoid before about people judging me and thinking I was horrible. I don’t feel like that now, I don’t care about it. People can think what they want but here at Youthpoint, they just accept you for who you are and they help you to deal with the issues you have.
Now when I look to the future, I know what I want to do. I want to get into an apprenticeship in some kind of manual trade job, and if that fails I will join the army. I have also trained as a volunteer with Youthpoint, so I can be a peer mentor for other young people. I want to do that because if it wasn’t for this place, I’d be dead. I just hope they like me. For me, Anne was like magic, and I’d like to help someone the way she helped me.
I have changed so much. I still feel like the world isn’t a great place but thanks to Youthpoint, I realise it’s not as bad as it could be.